… so i’ve started to write my cook book. I don’t have a publishing deal or even know anything about how to get a book published but I thought I ought to start the writing process because I have so many ideas and thoughts I want to get down and feel that if I don’t start now then i’ll never get it done. When I started my blog I had a passion for cooking and recipe development that obviously I shared but one of the things I hadn’t quite factored on was my absolute love for writing. I enjoy it so much and I feel that I found my style and got into my stride pretty quickly. Whilst I don’t quite have the time to do it all as much now I have found that it’s the writing I miss even more than the cooking, so the book is actually quite enjoyable. The book will be about chicken thighs, of course, under the working title of ‘chicken thighs and other stories’… when I first thought of the idea for the book it was supposed to be a simple recipe book celebrating the love of the humble chicken thigh but as I’ve progressed with the writing I began to realise that with each recipe came with a story, a reflection back on where it came from, what I was doing at the time, the places and people that influenced me on the journey that is my life… so that the recipe book has become something of a biography of sorts. Of me and the chicken thighs, a bird memoire if you will (and you will, because if you can’t take that simple pun you may as well give up now.)
So please bear with… and if anyone out there knows of someone who could help me take my humble take to a wider audience then do let me know.
chicken thigh, asparagus and pearl barley stew
sometimes, even on the hottest days all you need is food from the heart and this chicken thigh stew is medicine for the soul. The asparagus all but disintegrates into the stew but it adds all that classic asparagus flavour and mixed with the mushrooms, carrots and onion they pack the whole dish with flavour. Pearl Barley is my new favourite super-grain. Like a rustic version of arborio rice (which is barley very posh itself) it soaks up all the glorious chicken juices and gets nice and plump whilst retaining a little bite. I actually like to eat this once it’s cooled down slightly. So I tend to make it in the morning and once it’s finished cooking I leave it alone and then dish it up as a cold main course dinner with a salad which is simply perfect on a warm summers evening…
feeds 2 normal adult humans
- 2 free-range chicken thighs and 2 free-range drum sticks – bone in with skin on (they came in a pack)
- 1 carrot – roughly chopped
- 1 bunch spring onions – roughly chopped
- 2 large field mushrooms – roughly chopped
- 1 bunch asparagus – chopped
- 4 garlic cloves – un-peeled
- 80g pearl-barley
- 1 large glass of white wine
- 1/2 litre good quality stock
- fresh herbs – I used rosemary and lemon thyme
- butter and olive oil
- salt and pepper
pre-heat the oven to 180C – I used my 20cm casserole dish with a lid.
place all the chopped veg and garlic into the dish and spread out evenly… season well with salt and pepper and a sprinkling of fresh herbs… sprinkle over the pearl barley, then dot with a little butter and a drizzle of olive oil.
place the chicken thighs/legs on top, skin side up, pour in the wine and half the stock, season well again with salt and pepper – place the lid on and into the oven for 45 mins, after this, remove the lid and turn the thighs over and roast for a further 25 mins
after this time you may need to add a little more stock, so test the pearl barley for bite and add a dash more stock, then turn the chicken thighs over so they’re skin side up and roast for a final 15-20 mins with the lid off or until gloriously golden
eat and of course, enjoy!