Give Me Five: Chicken and mushroom tagliatelle
Simmering a chicken in a pot makes for a tasty broth
“The only bird I’ll be roasting in future will be our Christmas turkey”
They say things happen in threes, and for me this is always the case. First the washing machine broke, then the tumble-dryer gave up and then the oven, all within two weeks of each another. The fantastic dry-cleaner here in Cobh did an amazing job of keeping at bay the ever-expanding mound of washing that comes with two toddlers and a baby.
It’s a fantastic luxury having someone else wash your clothes and it’s worth every penny when you get those bags of clean clothes back.
I couldn’t cope without the oven, though. Every day I went to make something, bake something, roast something only to remember at the last minute that the oven was no more. It hummed promisingly, but the usual blast of heat was replaced by a sigh of lukewarm defeat.
This happened when I was in the middle of filming The Great Irish Bake Off, so I had come home after a hectic few days of cake eating and wanted to bake. I was inspired and motivated, with so many ideas of things I wanted to create, especially after bread week. But it was not to be. So for two weeks I had to compromise and create hob-based dinners that didn’t require the oven.
One Friday I went to our local farmer’s market and bought a huge free-range chicken from Tom Clancy in Ballycotton. These plump birds have incredible flavour. I brought it home and decided to get out my largest pot to simmer it. Any big heavy-based pot will do. Simply add a stick of celery, a roughly chopped carrot, an onion cut in half and a few peppercorns. There’s no need for salt. Sit the chicken on top, then cover with water. Bring to the boil, then simmer low for two hours. The resulting broth tastes incredible. I just lift the chicken out and remove all the meat from the carcass. It shreds away easily and is incredibly moist.
This is far superior to dry roast chicken, and you get the added bonus of a huge pot of stock. Simply freeze the cooled stock in Ziploc bags for adding to soups or risottos.
The shredded chicken can then be used for sandwiches, curries and more. I used some of mine to make this delicious ragù-style pasta sauce.
I miss not having fresh herbs at hand this time of year. All that’s left is my sage and a little parsley. Herbs that would be fantastic here are oregano, parsley, a little thyme or tarragon. The Crawford Gallery Cafe in Cork makes a lovely pancake filled with mushroom sauce and smothered in hollandaise with a side of pickled cucumber.
This chicken and mushroom sauce would be ideal served inside a pancake, or topped with a disc of puff pastry for a quick and easy pie.
Even though we have a new oven now, I’m still cooking my chickens whole in a pot like this, and I think the only bird I’ll be roasting in future will be our Christmas turkey.
CHICKEN AND MUSHROOM TAGLIATELLE: SERVES 4
The five ingredients
- 4 portobello mushrooms
- 1 onion, diced
- 450g cooked, shredded chicken
- 250g fresh egg tagliatelle
- 1tsp Dijon mustard
From the pantry
- 30g butter
- 25g flour
- 300ml stock or water
Wipe the mushrooms with a damp piece of kitchen paper. Remove the stems and chop. Halve the mushrooms and slice finely.
Add a little olive oil to a medium-sized saucepan. Add the mushrooms and onion. Cook until the onion is soft and the mushrooms black. Set aside.
Place the butter in the pan, and once it has melted add the Dijon mustard and flour. Stir until it becomes a bubbling paste. Remove from the heat and slowly add the stock, whisking all the time to make sure that there are no lumps. Return the mushrooms and onion to the pan, along with the chicken.
Place the sauce back on the heat and leave to simmer. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Cook the pasta according to instructions (usually about three-four minutes). Drain, then divide among four bowls and top with the chicken and mushroom sauce.
- Every Thursday, we’ll tweet the five ingredients from @lillyhiggins and @irishtimeslife so you can have them ready for Friday. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your suggestions for recipes
- The Great Irish Bake Off is on TV3 at 9pm every Sunday. Read Lilly’s Bake Off diary on irishtimes.com/life-and-style after each episode