… it’s been one of those weeks where my feet have barely touched the ground but if I actually had to look back and describe what it was that made it so busy I don’t think I could tell you. Maybe i’ve pushed it to the back of my mind so that I can truly switch off and experience the weekend or maybe it was all a terrible dream… plus the week ended on a rather traumatic note as we were driving up to the cottage from London, on a very dark road when a small muntjac deer darted out from the bushes and hit the car. The Viking was driving and I was beginning to dose off (quite literally you can put me in a car and when the motor starts i’m asleep) when I was jerked awake by the horrible crunching sound of what i’m assuming was the crack of deer legs being crushed by the car. Now of course there was nothing we could do about the situation, the poor beast came from nowhere and we were long gone and in a state of shock plus The Viking, being a vegetarian and an animal lover has naturally been quite traumatised by the whole thing… he’s wracked with guilt and continues to see the poor beasts face in the headlights. The front of the car was none too pleased either and a £2000 bill for a new bumper, new headlight and new side door does not make me a happy boy as I realise we have to work that same week again to make it all pay… such is the split life of those who live betwixt city and country…
garlic, mushroom and olive chicken thighs
an absolute classic here but, and I hate to blow my own trumpet, one of the best I think… plus I have a friend, who shall remain nameless, who brings garlic with her wherever she goes. I used to think she was barmy but in fact now I find it quite an adorable quirk that I totally get… and of course for me it means that I happen to have a lot of garlic knocking about because she left some here for me – when I say some I mean a lot… more than you would see as realistically necessary but again, i’m not complaining. Anyway, it means that I can make my version of the ‘chicken with 100 cloves of garlic’ or whatever it’s called plus of course garlic and mushroom is a classic so you just know it’s going to taste glorious. The garlic gets a long slow cook here so it’s beautifully mellow by the time you serve the dish, i’m also including some fennel bulb (well, you know me…) as well as spring onion for a sharper, more summery vibe, plus my favourite lemon thyme to add a little pep! I’m using chestnut mushrooms here which are a robust, medium to small brown mushroom with a lovely nutty flavour that hold up well in the roasting process but feel free to use any mushroom of your preference…
… I can’t quite believe i’m writing this because there surely can’t be anyone out there who doesn’t know about my passion for chicken thighs but should there be a lonely food lover trawling the blogs, then this is for you. Chicken thighs are a gift from god. They are the tastiest part of the chicken by a country mile, they are tender yet robust so work will in slow-cook style dishes. They have a glorious layer of juicy fat around them so are in effect self-basting. They are inexpensive and go a long way which means you can splash out and buy free-range or at the very least, farm assured. I always buy them with the bone in and skin on because they’re even tastier and they are very versatile, just click on this chicken thigh link to find more recipes…
6 chicken thighs
2 bulbs of garlic (roughly 25 cloves – skin on)
half a fennel bulb – roughly chopped
5 spring onions – roughly chopped using the whole length
7 medium chestnut (brown) mushrooms – quartered
1 glass of white wine
a handful of pitted, green olives
1 large sprig of lemon thyme
1 large sprig of rosemary
place all the veg into an oven-proof roasting dish and lay the chicken thighs on top, skin side up.
season well with salt and pepper and sprinkle plenty of herbs on top, then carefully pour a glass of white over the whole thing
cover with foil and roast on 160C for an hour and a half, then remove the foil, turn the oven up to 170C and turn the chicken thighs over so they’re skin down, then roast for another 30 minutes, then turn the thighs back over, turn the oven up to 180C and roast for a final 20 minutes till they’re golden brown and divinely delicious!
eat and of course, enjoy!