Sunday, 16 September 2012

Recipe LXXII - Chicken Clare Balding

This is a recipe I designed myself with very careful thought. I wanted to honour the person who most epitomised my wonderful summer of sport on TV and my time in London during the Games. This person is, for me, someone who straddles classes, who is at home sitting next to other presenters and pundits in the studio, interviewing an elated tongue-tied competitor or mingling with crowds inside and outside venues. She explains everything so clearly and is most obviously hyper-intelligent without having any airs or graces. She is also one of those who is on my list of living people I'd most like to invite to a dinner party. I hope she gets to read this recipe one day and if she makes it, that she likes it. I apologise for the three horrid photos, but I have a new light in the kitchen and it is somewhat over-bearing for my poor little camera... Just like Clare Balding, this is an extremely adaptable recipe for the season, the taste and the consistency, but below are the original ingredients I used, the essential items having asterisks (*).

Ingredients (for 2 people):
200g Greek krithiraki / manéstra pasta * (an Olympic commentator should have something Greek in her eponymous recipe, although I used Turkish as that's what they sell locally!)
Half a courgette
Half a pâtisson (yellow squash or in the US pattypan squash) *
(in different seasons I see no problem in using sweet potatoes, aubergines or the like to add seasonal taste)
1 sweet red pepper *
1 onion
1 spoonful of chili powder *
2 breasts of chicken (sliced into strips) *
(A handful of green beans is a pleasant variant)
1 carton of single cream *
Some olive oil *
3 sprigs of English garden mint *

I think it was a pleasure to make this dish. Slice the squash into thin strips. You can halve those strips or keep them the same size, but they should be no thicker than a third of a centimetre. Cut up the chicken breasts into chunky pieces. Slice the courgette, pepper and onion in any way you wish.
Take two frying pans, on a medium heat, with olive oil - in one, begin frying the chicken, in the other, the squash. In the one with the squash, add some chili powder, and in the other once the chicken is sealed, add the vegetables. Stir-fry both pans, the squash for a good ten minutes. Add the chopped mint to the squash after seven, and in the other pan stir-fry the chicken for up to half an hour, or until everything is nice and soft and the flavours have run.

Once it is cooked, add the squash to the chicken for the remainder of the cooking time, and with ten minutes to go, turn down the heat and add the cream to gently heat up without evaporating. While the other ring is hot, heat some salted water and cook your Greek pasta. You can either mix it in with the other ingredients once cooked, or as I did, serve the chicken on a bed of pasta.

Above is one I made with green beans.

Serve in wide bowls or flat plates, with a nice bottle of medium Kent, Sussex or Hampshire wine.

My person of 2012, Clare Balding - photo:

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