My urge to cook is a little sporadic at the moment; it all depends very much on my mood, my frame of mind. The boys have been enjoying a couple of fish finger, waffle and baked bean type meals, they don’t complain but to me this has often been a sign of failure on my part. I am working with my therapist to give myself a break and not deliver such harsh verdicts on my parenting, and as I work more to do what I know I can achieve, instead of what I feel I should be doing, these tan coloured plates of food are actually starting to be liberating. Cooking, like many of my creative outlets, become chore like under the cloud of depression and whilst a little bit of what I usually like is important, cooking can often just become something I resent. This is just awful, no catastrophic, as I’ve always LOVED cooking. However by giving myself a break, what I find happens, is that some days I will have a really desire to cook something. Often, as with this recipe, something will pop into my head, a meal from the past, an old favourite maybe, and with that it becomes a mission for me to create it.
A lot of what I want at the moment is comforting and not to difficult to prepare, that’s this dish in a nutshell. One pot of chicken and rice flavoured with chorizo, tomatoes, garlic and thyme and a pinch of cayenne pepper for warmth. Chuck in some vegetables and you really do have a well rounded meal all in one place, no need for accompaniments. So just before I give you the recipe for this delicious meal I’m going to do something I like to call (from this point on) Ingredients Chat
It struck me that I always have a little bit of something to say about the recipe ingredients so I thought I’d create this section with some of my recipes, here we go..
Leeks I often use leeks in recipes instead of onions because they soften much quicker to a consistency that my children, and me, are happy to eat. I suppose at this point I will have to confess to my own love, hate relationship with onions. As a child they were the food of my nightmares and it has really only been my interest in cooking and my understanding of their position as a base ingredient that has led me to enjoy them cooked in certain ways. I still cannot eat them raw and find large crunchy chunks disagreeable. So leeks for me often offer a suitable alternative.
Vegetables in General. I often swap vegetables in recipes for ones I know my family will eat. As long as they are not the main event, can’t really swap broccoli out of a broccoli soup, I think it’s fine to do so, especially if it just makes your life a little easier. In this version I added a little cubed butternut squash, left over from a curry I made, and sat lonely in the fridge. My children are not overly keen but there wasn’t much and I made it big enough to be eaten around. It paid off though; Stig actually ate it and said he liked it, I think the flavour of the smoky chorizo helped.
Thyme because I’m a little lazy, I don’t like to pick off thyme leaves unless completely necessary. So I would rather cut off a few stalks, chuck them in and pick out anything that looks like a twig before I serve it.
200g of cubed chorizo
8 chicken pieces, drumsticks and or thighs, taken out of the fridge half an hour before cooking.
1 large leek, sliced
300g of long grain rice
1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
bunch of thyme
2 dried bay leaves
2 garlic cloves, sliced
700ml of chicken stock
1 carton of passatta
handful of green beans, topped tailed and chopped into inch long pieces.
half a butternut squash cubed
a (approx 120g) cup of peas
1. In a casserole pot that can go on the hob or a large heavy based frying pan, brown the chicken pieces in batches, put to one side and keep warm.
2. In the same pan, cook the chorizo for a couple of minutes, the red oils of the chorizo will start to flow, and then remove with a slotted spoon, place to one side.
3. Cook the leek, until transparent and soft and then add the rice, cayenne pepper, thyme, bay leaves, garlic cloves, and stir for a minute.
4. Then add the stock, passatta, beans and butternut squash and return the chicken and chorizo to the pot, before bringing to a low boil.
5. Reduce the heat to a simmer, and uncovered, allow to cook for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. By this point most of the liquid should have been absorbed and the rice should be tender. If this is not the case cook a little longer or add a little water to help cook the rice.
7. Finally add the peas and cook for 5 minutes, at this point you may need to stir regularly to ensure the rice doesn’t stick.
8. Now you can serve.