Feeding the masses
Tasty, simple meals you can put together with store cupboard and freezer supplies, writes DOMINI KEMP
I absolutely love both of these easy-to-prepare dishes and would heartily recommend stocking up on some of these jarred or frozen staples so you can whip up a casual fork supper at a moment’s notice. This means you won’t have to resort to your favourite stew, which can take a little while to cook.
The chicken with red peppers and olives was just magic in flavour. I tried it with fresh peppers first time around, and they were fine. However, the second time I made it I used jarred ones, which were perfect and ticked the store-cupboard box.
I can’t stand the skin on red peppers, so I would recommend trying to peel it off, but that might just be too fiddly if you’re feeding large numbers without much notice.
I am especially fond of stoned black Kalamata olives as they make everything taste good. Yes, there is plenty of garlic in this recipe, but the cloves are left whole and unpeeled and seeing as I’ve been rather tame all month about garlic quantities – due to the allium furore last Christmas – I’ve decided to make up for it here.
You may worry that this dish will be too dry, but as long as you have a heavy duty casserole pot with a tight-fitting lid, you will find that everything cooks in its own wonderful juices, with the olives and peppers providing a rich blanket of flavour.
Using chicken legs or thighs and a bit of breast ensures the meat stays moist; removing the skin also works for me from a cholesterol point of view.
CHICKEN WITH RED PEPPERS AND OLIVES
1 jar of roasted red peppers
8 pieces of chicken, skin removed
10 cloves garlic, unpeeled
1 x 110g jar black stoned olives
100ml olive oil
1 glass white wine
Pre-heat an oven to 180 degrees/gas 4. Drain enough of the red pepper pieces to amount to two whole ones and chop them into thick strips. This is usually about four to six whole pieces of pepper from the jar.
Toss all the ingredients together in the saucepan that you will use to cook it in, or if easier, in a big bowl and then transfer to a casserole pot with a tight-fitting lid.
Bake for at least 30 minutes and then remove the lid and give it a little stir, trying to get at some of the juices at the bottom to drizzle onto the top parts. Bake for 15 minutes more. At the end of this, you should have fully cooked, moist chicken.
Serve with some nice bread, a platter of cheese and a big green salad and encourage everyone to squeeze some garlic on to each piece of chicken. That will ensure everyone reeks of garlic.
ORZO WITH PRAWNS, LEEKS AND LEMONS
Use raw or cooked prawns, adjusting cooking time as appropriate.
100ml olive oil
2 leeks, slice, using as much of the green parts as possible
5 cloves garlic
2 tsp fennel seeds
Salt and pepper
2 bags frozen prawns (200g per bag)
Juice of 1 lemon
Glass of white wine
Pinch chilli flakes
Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan, and sweat the leeks and garlic, but don’t colour them. Add the fennel seeds and butter, and season well.
Add the prawns, from frozen. I used raw ones – put the lid on and let the steam and heat from the leeks cook them until they are a cute shade of pink, and piping hot. Yes, they may be a bit rubbery, but this is all about flavour so don’t get heartbroken, as they certainly won’t be golden brown and sizzling. Chuck in the lemon juice and glass of wine and season with chilli flakes and sugar. Check the seasoning.
Meanwhile, have a big pot of boiling water on the go and cook the orzo (according to the packet, but it’s fast). Then drain the pasta, add a splash of olive oil and mix well with the leek sauce and serve.
This is super-tasty, quick and satisfying.
Food cooked and styled by Domini and Peaches Kemp