Have you ETA all that chicken?

Thursday 18/11/2004

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Diary and Notes

Today's dinner is one of the easiest things to make, cheap and still delicious. If you follow a few simple guidelines you just can't go wrong. However, if you don't follow the guidelines, I will blow raspberries at you in the street, please read on...

Why do two chicken breasts cost more than a whole chicken? It's an odd quandary of life, that remains (to me at least) completely beyond explanation. Now I have no real great hatred for pre-cut chicken breasts, except that I think if you buy them, you are one dumpling short of leberknödel soup. Why? Why spend more on something that is far less? I know people get all squeamish about things that need to be cut and might have some blood or bone, but if you are unwilling to handle a dead animal, you should be a vegetarian. These insipid lumps of flesh are only good for chicken tikka or rustling up something quick if you are in a real hurry. Otherwise they should be reserved for professional bodybuilders (who eat them boiled, at about one hour intervals, all day long as far as I can tell) and the insane. It's not that they are really that bad, it's just that if you want two chicken breasts, buy a chicken and cut the breasts off. You then have two whole legs left and loads of bones and juicy tasty bits, to make soup or stock.

Ah well, I know you're not listening. You'll read this and think, "Ooh, that sounds simple and tasty, I'll make that for dinner next Tuesday." then you'll go to the supermarket, buy some pre-cut factory farmed chicken breasts and make a complete hash of one of the classics of European cuisine. At least if I come around your house you can't serve such slops to me, I've had it once this year and now I'm safe from your culinary barbarism.

So if you are making today's dinner, please make sure you have chicken on the bone, that way you get the flavour from the bones like you would in a stock. Buy a whole chicken, cut it into joints and use these. Buy some chicken legs, you could feed a family of four with this meal for about five pounds using chicken legs and they'll be a far sight tastier than the expensive "oh we went and bought lean breasts" brigade's version. Remember the simple mathematical equation from Tuesday:


In fact, if you are going to ignore my advice and use healthy, lean, chicken breast, sod cooking the sauce yourself. Buy a jar of Authentic Spanish Fiesta Chicken Tonight with Red Peppers and Onions (or some other vomit inducing slop) and just pour that over the top, stick the whole thing in the oven and then eat it while watching Eastenders. Just don't ever invite me around for dinner.

Cake Blog

A fantastic piece of chocolate sponge with pears and tangerines from cafe Hemer. Quite fantastic, light, moist, very chocolaty.


  • Basque Style Chicken,
  • Rice,
  • Crusty Bread.


    Chicken (on the bone), olive oil, onions, garlic, paprika, white wine, green peppers, tomatoes, tomato puree, salt, black pepper.


    If you've got one of those frying pans with a lid that you can also put into the oven that I keep mentioning, all well and good, otherwise you'll be making more washing up for yourself. Brown the chicken portions in some olive oil. Add to the pan chopped onion and minced garlic. Fry a little longer to let the onion soften. Add a good dollop of paprika and fry a bit more. Pour on the wine, (half on the chicken, half in the mouth, is my usual rule) and leave to bubble away for a few minutes. Mix in some tomato puree, then add the roughly chopped peppers and tomatoes. Season with a little salt and a lot of fresh black pepper. Put the lid on and put the pan in the oven. After about 1/2 an hour take the lid off. Leave to cook in the oven for another 1/2 an hour for the sauce to reduce properly. If you've got some fresh flat leaf parsley that would be a great addition. I, sadly, was caught short once again.


    I remade this on 10/8/2005 (after my challenge had finished) with some flat leaf parsley and also took a photo.