Thursday, November 08, 2007

Warm Roast Chicken salad with broad beans, butter beans, rocket and preserved lemon



1.75 kg free range chicken
1 red onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
1 celery stick , sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
Olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad:
300g fresh or frozen shelled broad beans
600g cooked or jarred butter beans, rinsed and drained
3x25g piece of preserved lemon, flesh discarded, rind chopped
2 small red onions, halved and thinly sliced
90g wild rocket
20g fresh coriander, chopped
20g fresh mint, leaves chopped
For the dressing:
8Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
A large pinch of cayenne pepper
3 small garlic cloves, finely chopped

Preheat to 200c
Rub the chicken all over with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper. Spread the onion, carrot, celery, and garlic over the base of a small roasting tin. Place the chicken on top and roast it for 1 hour 40 min, or until it is cooked through and the skin is nicely browned.
Remove the chicken from the oven and tip any juices from the cavity back into the roasting tin, and place it on a board. Cover it loosely with foil and leave it to rest for 15 min. Meanwhile, bring a pan of salted water to a boil.
For the dressing, pour the roasting juices from the tin into a sieve set over a small bowl, and press out as much flavor as you can from the vegetables. Skim off and discard the excess oil from the surface of the juices and whisk in the olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, paprika, cayenne and garlic. Season to taste with salt and adjust the balance of lemon juice if necessary.
As soon as the chicken is just cool enough to handle, remove the meat, break it into small chunky pieces and place in a large bowl. Discard the skin and bones. Drop the broad beans into the boiling water and cook for 1-2 min until just tender. Add the butterbeans and leave for a few seconds to warm through, then drain and add to the chicken with the preserved lemon, red onion, rocket, coriander, and mint. Mix together gently, using your hands and transfer to a shallow serving dish. Drizzle over the dressing and serve straight away while the salad is still warm.

This was from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes.

I have to admit, I thought it should have been better. A big part of the problem was that the raw red onions were sliced and not diced. Some really finely diced red onion adds such a beautiful flavor, but that amount of onion, in slices, no matter how thin you manage them, it’s going to be a bit much.

I may try it again some day, with more of the lemon, and with less red onion, and more finely chopped. I think it could be really wonderful.

One big tip on this one, DO NOT forget the salt. This recipe is a perfect example of the real use of salt. If you don’t add any at all, you will have a big jumble of tastes that don’t really seem to want to know each other at all, but just add a little salt and all of a sudden all of the flavors mix together and really compliment each other.

I would say this one is worth trying, as long as you adjust it a bit to your own liking.

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