easy food

Simplest one-pot chicken + potato supper

I have been making versions of this sort-of-stew for - I think - over 20 years now.

The first time I had it was in my early twenties when I started working on magazines and we had a team dinner at a colleague’s house.

When I say ‘dinner’, I mean obviously it pretty soon descended into drunken debauchery as was entirely normal at that point (at that time of life, in London, in our first media jobs, in the 90’s!).

Our colleague hosting was our fabulously fun and inspiring manager, Emily, just a little older than us but seemed so much more grown up.

She had just been promoted to Associate Publisher, which I thought the most glamorous job title ever and she lived in a flat in Clapham with her boyfriend. They even had a dining room!

I felt I was playing at being grown up. I think we all did, including Emily.

I helped her prepare the main course and it was something so simple and yet so delicious and elegant that I remembered it to cook again.

And over the years … again and again and again.

I still think this a lovely dish for a dinner party and stand by its easy elegance.

‘Stew’ can sound stodgy - although I am a huge fan of stew (see HERE) - but this is really light and good.

Served with a green salad and something gorgeous for pudding, this means any host gets to spend time with their guests rather than in the kitchen (especially perhaps if their guests have moved on from necking shots of tequila as a starter hehe).

I can’t remember the exact quantities but it doesn’t really matter - it’s just a really easy idea that you can play with and use as much or as little as you like.

You’ll need:

chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks

white potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

dry white wine (I’m sure we used a whole bottle that first time but I’ve since used a mixture of white wine and chicken stock, so up to you)

lots (and lots and lots - this is a key ingredient, not a seasoning) of freshly grated Parmesan cheese

I also added some mushrooms this time but again, up to you

1/2 chicken stock cube, crumbled

salt and pepper

fresh parsley, to garnish

This couldn’t be easier. I use my trusty remoska, but you can make it on the stove-top or put it all into a casserole in the oven.

Just put all the ingredients into your remoska/pan/casserole and cook with a medium heat for an hour or so until done.

Check and stir regularly and add a little water if needed.

You could add a handful of spinach right at the end which would be delicious too.

Rachel Redlaw simplest one-pot chicken + potato supper
Rachel Redlaw simplest one-pot chicken + potato supper
Rachel Redlaw simplest one-pot chicken + potato supper

Oh, and don’t forget to season with salt and pepper towards the end of cooking, so you can really taste what the ideal seasoning is.

It’s up to you really when it’s finished cooking and is perfectly done as it’s such a personal decision - I like my potatoes in this done until they are almost falling apart, for instance, and you might like yours less well cooked.

I really hope you love this as much as I do - and cook variants of it for as long.

I think me and this dish still have many delicious years together yet to come.



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7 fave comfort foods to beat this big chill

ONE

THIS quick version of a beef rendang curry.

Rachel Redlaw beat the cold comfort foods

It's the spice, it's the steak, it's the comforting warmth of coconut milk ... all on simple, easy-to-digest rice.


TWO

Sticking with that soothing coconut milk and light spices, it's THESE beautiful eggs in coconut masala.

Rachel Redlaw beat the cold comfort foods

Honestly, food that gives you a hug from the inside out. (Er, I don't actually know what that means or how it would work, but hey).

Read more HERE.


image24.jpgRachel Redlaw beat the cold comfort foods

Best made with day-old rice so it's really cold and dry, but you can always cook it fresh and run cold water over it, but this week it's going to be worth making extra rice for dinner so you can have this for breakfast (it was one of my go-to breakfasts when I lived in Thailand), brunch, lunch, well, any time really.


FOUR

Rachel Redlaw beat the cold comfort foods

OK, let's not sink into the comfort food with this one, but feel we're winning at winter, with a spicy, sour, YES LET'S GO GET 'EM Tom Yum soup with prawns.

THIS one's brings a fighting energy to things!


FIVE

Rachel Redlaw beat the cold comfort foods

Well, durrr .....  roast chicken ... there couldn't be a comfort food list without it, surely?

Make it Thai-style, gai yang, and have with a spicy sour salad.

Or try my immune-boosting version with everything you need to keep colds at bay (if not the cold itself). HERE's the recipe.

Rachel Redlaw beat the cold comfort foods
Rachel Redlaw beat the cold comfort foods

SIX

Rice soup ...

Rachel Redlaw beat the cold comfort foods

Amazing for a warming, easy breakfast - just make the rice the night before and you'll have a warming brekkie and alternative to porridge on the table in minutes.

Protein and rice and broth ... a little spice - this will keep you nicely full and nourished until lunch, no problem.

Read more HERE.


Rachel Redlaw beat the cold comfort foods

My fave flavours of chilli, peppery Thai holy basil (hard to find so just leave it out if you can't get it or use Thai sweet basil instead, but never Mediterranean basil), soft rice noodles, utter easy-midweek-dinner deliciousness. 

Reminds me of sunny days and the sound of the waves on the shore.

Get the recipe HERE.



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Noodle soup with seafood

Yummy! This was perfect yesterday for weekend brunch on a freezing, icy but sunny day.

So many good things in this one, and it IS simple, although it might look like a long list of ingredients.

Read it through to get a sense of the simplicity.

Quantities are kind of up to you and what you feel like, but for two I used this.

I made a paste with the pestle and mortar, gently pounding (CAN you 'gently' pound? Well, I can when I'm trying not to get the food on my white sweater ha!):

a piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

a clove of garlic, peeled and minced

a chopped red chilli

a couple of kaffir line leaves (stalks removed)

a stick of lemongrass (only the middle part, outer woody layers removed, minced)

1 scant tablespoon each of runny honey, light soy sauce, fish sauce, toasted sesame oil

Then 3/4 of this paste went into a pan of boiling water along with a Knorr chicken stock cube, and the other 1/4 into a bowl to marinade squid and prawns and mushrooms.

Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood
Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood
Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood

You could mix it up of course - try chicken instead, add scallops, have just all sorts of different mushrooms.

Cook the seafood on a hot griddle pan or in a non-stick frying pan - you could of course just add to the soup if you want to keep it really simple but I love this charred griddled seafood.

I added another squeeze of runny honey over the seafood in the last minute or so.

Add lots of diced vegetables to the broth along with a nest of rice noodles (thin ones or wider ones, both work!) for a couple of minutes.

Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood
Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood
Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood
Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood

Finish with a squeeze of lime and a dash more soy or fish sauce as needed - to taste.

Share the noodles into two bowls, ladle over the soup and vegetables, top with seafood, griddled mushrooms or meat.

Rachel Redlaw noodle soup with seafood

This is one that once you've made it you can just play with, adapting to whatever you feel like and whatever you have in the fridge and cupboard.

It was perfect for a frosty morning here in London, lots of warming flavours with the chilli, garlic and ginger, and then the rousing citrus lemongrass and lime juice, alongside comforting broth and noodles.



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Pork belly + noodles

Sticky, crispy pork belly, with soft noodles and lovely warm flavours - this is my favourite comfort food of the moment.

Really simple to make, and really good.

Quantities are kind of flexible so it's up to you if you want more of the pork belly or more of the noodles, or to make the sauce more of a soupier texture. Or just more of all of it of course!

I'd say maybe 2 pork belly slices per person and we want these good and dark and sticky and crispy, so add a couple of tablespoons of light soy sauce and another couple of runny honey. 

Mix it all together and then cook on a baking tray a medium oven (or in a remoska, like me), turning a few times, for 45-60 minutes. You can finish under the grill if you really want it crisped up more.

Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles
Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles

While the pork is cooking, prepare some dried rice noodles according to the pack instructions so they're ready to stir fry.  

I like these vermicelli rice noodles for this dish and mine took longer to soak than the packet said - I like them very soft in this dish anyway, so soaked mine in a pan of boiling water (taken off the heat the minute it comes to the boil and the noodles thrown in) for about ten minutes, then drain and rinse in cold water to stop them cooking further.

They can then just wait until the pork's done.

Also prepare the other ingredients:

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

1 garlic clove, minced

1/2 - 1 red chilli depending on your taste and how you feel 

2 or 3 tablespoons - maybe a little more - water

1/3 Knorr chicken stock cube

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 finely sliced spring onions

fresh coriander leaves, chopped

When the pork is cooked, remove it from the baking dish and slice into bite-sized chunks - I also remove some of the fat if it's very fatty but that's just personal choice, so do whatever's going to taste best for you.

Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles
Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles
Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles

Then put a non-stick frying pan on the heat, add the tiniest amount of oil - I use a few sprays of a spray oil - and add the onion, garlic and chilli, stir frying for a couple of minutes.  Add a splash of water if it looks like it might be sticking - garlic burns really easily so keep it moving and add that splash of water if you need to.

Then add a good slosh of water, crumble in the piece of stock cube, add fish sauce and bring it all to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes or so until the onions are soft.

Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles
Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles

It's entirely up to you if you want to add more or less water, to make more of a sauce or more of a dry dish.

When the onions are softening, add the noodles, and stir fry for another few minutes - again add water if you need or want to - until the noodles are hot through.

Then add the pork pieces and stir - cook for another minute or so, then add the spring onions and coriander, stir through, remove from heat and serve.

Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles
Rachel Redlaw pork belly and noodles

Finish with a sprinkling of freshly ground black pepper and - that's it!

finished.JPG

Yes it takes a little time for the pork belly to cook, but then the rest of it is just combining a few ingredients really.

Eat and enjoy .... 



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Totally yummy (despite the not very appealing name) egg + bean curry

This is so simple and so good, it's already (and I've only made it once hehe) a new lunch go-to.

My friend Pam shared the recipe and I just knew I was going to love it.

I love eggs and I love curry, so I love dishes like eggs in coconut masala or these great Thai classic 'son-in-law' eggs.

But this is easier than easy and just perfect for a quick lunch.

Here's what you need to make 'egg + bean curry' for one:

Cooking oil

1/2 onion, diced

1/2 - 1 chilli (depending on taste), chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 tomato, diced

2 eggs, beaten

1 small tin baked beans, rinsed of all sauce (or the same quantity of cooked haricot beans)

salt and pepper to season

chopped fresh coriander leaves to serve (if liked)

Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry
Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry

Heat a frying pan or wok and add some cooking oil (I use a spray oil then a splash of water if it looks like sticking) then the onion, chilli, garlic and cumin and cook over a very low heat for two or three minutes, adding a little water if it's sticking. You don't want it to burn!

Then add the tomatoes and cook until it's all softened, probably another five or six minutes.

Add the eggs and beans and cook, stirring all the time, for a few minutes to scramble the beans and get everything hot and yummy.

Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry
Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry
Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry

Season to taste, check you're happy with the consistency and turn out on to a plate or a bowl and garnish with fresh coriander leaves, if liked.

Rachel Redlaw egg and bean curry

I started eating straightaway and forgot to take a photo until I was two thirds of the way in!

So when I make this again (which I definitely will be, and soon) I'll take a photo of the finished dish.

This is really good and simple and tasty - just the sort of lunch I love!