Feel like chicken tonight? Make your own easy sauce

Spices, vegetables, tomatoes, stock and chicken all go in to the one pot, writes JP McMahon

Make your own sauce simple, especially for chicken dishes.

Make your own sauce simple, especially for chicken dishes.

 

Do you feel like chicken tonight? Many of you may remember the television advertisement of this product that swept across Britain and Ireland in the 1990s. It seems, we could not get enough of this sauce.

It was sold in the millions in Ireland. “Simply brown the chicken and then add the sauce and bake,” the ebullient voice tells us. What a meal! A paean to 1990s apathy towards home cooking as something to be shrugged off. We were finally escaping the domestic space of the kitchen! Or so we thought.

Whether it’s a cream, tomato or stock-based stew, all can be prepared in the one pot

The Celtic Tiger brought a lot of great things to Ireland but convenience foods was not one of them: ready-made sauces from nowhere, depriving us of that vital connection to the land. Hopefully, it has thought us a lesson to keep our feet on the ground and our direct connection to the farm and the sea.

Make your own sauce simple, especially for chicken dishes. Whether it’s a cream, tomato or stock-based stew, all can be prepared in the one pot so there’s no need to have a load of pots to hand. At this time of year when there are still Irish tomatoes about I like to go with a tomato base for my chicken stew. If you can’t get fresh tomatoes, then just use good quality tinned tomatoes

There’s a Moorish one I make quite a bit. I debone the whole chicken and marinade the pieces in cumin, coriander, cinnamon and oil and leave them over night. Roast them off in the pan and then add in diced onions, peppers and courgettes.

For your chickens, make sure they’re free range and Irish

Cover with one part tomato and one part chicken stock and simmer the whole lot until the chicken is cooked. You can also add toasted pine nuts to the stew if you like. I often add a good dash of dry sherry, such as Oloroso, for a little body. Add this in with the tomatoes and the stock.

For your chickens, make sure they’re free range and Irish. Mine are always from The Friendly Farmer in Athenry who delivers nationwide through Larder 360.

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