I've been crushing on Jamie Oliver pretty hard lately. Curiously though it's not him in particular, it's his show Jamie at Home. I could never get into his show Naked Chef. I think it had something to do with his hyperactivity, it drove me nuts. However when he went on his campaign for British School Dinners, I started to warm up to him. And then Jamie at Home came along...Jamie has officially won my heart. I envy the organic garden he keeps and look forward to having something similar of my own in the future. The best part of the show is that every recipe is full of superb ingredients combined with simple cooking that allow the quality of the ingredients to do the work.
Besides my beloved cast iron skillet, another birthday gift from my boyfriend was the Jamie at Home Cookbook. I think I fell in love a little more with the whole Jamie Oliver thing (and my boyfriend for getting it for me) after reading the book. The book is fantastic, it's full of rustic and delicious recipes. This chicken dish is not included in the book but I've seen it on the show and it looked so good. Indeed it is. The chicken roasts juicy and tender and the tomatoes caramelize to create an amazing flavor. This dish is by far one of our top favorite meals, I make it all the time. I am so excited to begin my exploration of all the wonderful dishes in the book and I can't wait to share them with you.
RECIPE courtesy of Jamie's Dinners:
4 chicken legs, preferably free-range or organic, jointed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
a big bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked, stalks finely chopped
2 big handfuls of red and yellow cherry tomatoes, halved, and ripe plum tomatoes, quartered
1 whole bulb of garlic, broken up into cloves
1 fresh red chili, finely chopped
1 x 410g tin of cannellini beans, drained
2 handfuls of new potatoes, scrubbed (my favorite, I throw them into the mix and roast them along with everything else.)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Season your chicken pieces all over and put them into a snug-fitting pan in one layer. Throw in all the basil leaves* and stalks, then chuck in your tomatoes. Scatter the garlic cloves into the pan with the chopped chili and drizzle over some olive oil. Mix around a bit, pushing the tomatoes underneath. Place in the oven for 1½ hours, turning the tomatoes halfway through, until the chicken skin is crisp and the meat falls off the bone.
If you fancy, you can add some drained cannellini beans or some sliced new potatoes to the pan and cook them with the chicken. Or you can serve the chicken with some simple mashed potato. Squeeze the garlic out of the skins before serving. You could even make it part of a pasta dish – remove the chicken meat from the bone and shred it, then toss into a bowl of linguine or spaghetti and serve at once.
NOTE: I always add the basil in the last 15 minutes of cooking to avoid it turning black.
Friday, April 25, 2008