Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sticky Lemon Chicken and Champ

Okay, so the initial Ramsay recipes were good but not absolutely outstanding. The good-yet-not-absolutely-outstanding ones were quick ones, as far as time spent on recipe execution. And then I struck upon the time-consuming-ish stuffed chicken legs recipe which was exceptional. I'm not sure where this one will lie - it's straightforward and quick and maybe not so great? OR it's straightforward and quick yet totally awesome. As with all recipes, there's only one way to find out. Let's roll.

As usual, I had to Americanize the quantities in the ingredients list before I got started.

Sticky Lemon Chicken and Champ
adapted from Channel 4
click to print

1 large chicken, jointed into 8–10 pieces
sea salt
black pepper
3–4 tbsp olive oil
1 head of garlic, halved horizontally
Few thyme sprigs
Splash of sherry vinegar
2 tbsp dark soy sauce
3 tbsp honey
1 lemon, finely sliced (ideally with a mandolin)
Bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped

2.2 lbs Russet potatoes, peeled
sea salt
black pepper
2 tbsp butter
 6–8 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
100 mL heavy cream
100 mL whole milk, plus extra if needed

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Brown the chicken pieces (in batches if necessary) with the garlic for 2–3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
I did two batches, reserving the first batch on a plate. The garlic went into the skillet with batch two. The splatter screen is definitely a good idea.

Return all the chicken to the pan, add the sherry vinegar and bubble until reduced by half.

This just took two minutes.

Drizzle the soy sauce and honey over the chicken, add the thyme, and shake the pan to mix.

The thyme was supposed to be added to the skillet with the chicken when it was browning. I goofed up and when realizing my error, threw the thyme in ASAP.

Pour in a good splash of hot water and add the lemon slices. Let the liquid bubble and reduce down until syrupy, which will take about 10 minutes or so. By now the chicken should be cooked through.

Meanwhile cut the potatoes into similar-sized chunks and bring to a boil in salted water for about 10 minutes, until tender when pierced with a small sharp knife. Drain well.

2 lbs of potatoes in my 3.5-quart saucepan.

Mash the potatoes while still hot, using a potato ricer if you have one.

Stir through the butter and spring onions.

Pour the cream and milk into a saucepan and bring just to the boil.

Oh poop, the milk and cream boiled over within 4 minutes. Keep an eye on this!

Gradually pour the warmed cream on to the potatoes, mixing well. If the mash is too thick, add a little extra milk. Season generously.

I used only about half the cream mixture.

Transfer the chicken to a platter and sprinkle over the chopped parsley, serve with the champ and green beans.

Crap, I didn't do the green beans.

Excellent! I learned that champ is mashed potatoes with green onions in it I'd call them mashed potatoes with green onions (or in the case of colcannon, cabbage) but they actually have names.

The chicken is nicely browned, glistening, lemon flavored, and juicy. The skin though, is a little too wet and rubbery for my preference so I wound up removing it before eating the chicken. Skin notwithstanding, the chicken is awesome! The only thing I regret is that I didn't have the green beans on the side like the original recipe suggested.

Just an FYI, I used 2.36 lbs of potatoes (mass before peeling) and only half the cream/milk to make the champ. Consider this if you try it.

One last thing, in case you're wondering how this compared to the stuffed legs. Didn't come close. Definitely second. Well, I did like the rice. And the wings. And the orechiette even though it was salty. Let's just say it wasn't as good as the stuffed legs.

  • chicken: $12.02
  • olive oil: $0.24
  • garlic: $0.36
  • thyme: $0.50
  • sherry vinegar: $0.47
  • honey: $0.36
  • lemon: $0.53
  • flat leaf parsley: $0.59
  • Russet potatoes: $1.63
  • butter: $0.14
  • spring onions: $0.49
  • heavy cream: $0.41
  • whole milk: $0.15
Total: $17.89 for about $4.47 for each of four servings.