Tuesday, February 22, 2011

dinner date - chicken ragu with pappardelle

On Friday I bought a new cookbook: Manna from Heaven by Rachel Grisewood. I'd almost bought this book on a couple of other occasions but had never quite got round to parting with my money. This time, I was spurred into action by the prospect of my Borders book voucher becoming worthless currency given the company's current financial state. It was slim pickings among the cookbook section of Borders Lambton Quay. There were plenty of Gordon Ramsey titles and generic 1001 baking recipe books but little that appealed. When I spotted the bright pink and orange cover of Manna from Heaven on the shelves it was an easy decision.

Wanting to make the most of my new purchase, I adapted the recipe for duck ragu with pappardelle for dinner on Sunday night. It was a wintery choice given the uncharacteristically good weather Wellington's experienced of late, but I like making slow cooked meals on Sundays when I'm not in a hurry. Not this was a difficult or time-consuming meal to make. It needs an hour and a half in the oven but while in there, it needs only minimal supervision.

This recipe lends itself to all sorts of adaptations. Like chicken instead of duck - so much cheaper and more accessible. In fact, it's a fantastic way to turn dirt-cheap drumsticks into a luxurious meal. I added a couple of boneless thighs too but drumsticks alone would do just fine. A little bacon or pancetta thrown in with the celery would make a delicious addition, as would a few sliced field mushrooms.

1tbsp olive oil
4-6 chicken pieces (I used 5 drumsticks and 2 thighs)
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
200ml chicken stock
1 canned Italian tomatoes
3 tbsp chopped fresh herbs (I used basil, sage, oregano and thyme)
3 bay leaves
200ml red wine
1 tbsp fresh cream
sea salt & cracked pepper
400g pappardelle pasta
parmesan cheese & fresh herbs, to serve

Heat the oil in an ovenproof & stovetop safe casserole dish over a medium heat. Add the chicken and brown on all sides. Remove and set aside. Drain all but 1 tbsp of fat from the pan and add the celery and red onion. Cook for a few minutes to soften. Add the garlic and cook a further few minutes. Add the chicken, stock, tomatoes (plus half a tinful of water), herbs, bay leaves and wine.

Bring to a gentle simmer, cover with a lid and place into an oven heated to 180 degrees Celsius. Cook for 1.5 hours, or until the meat falls from the bones. Remove from the oven and leave to cool a little.

Remove the skin from the chicken (with tongs if too hot to handle) and cut the meat from the bones. Discard the bones and skin and set aside the meat. Simmer the sauce over a medium heat on the stovetop, adding extra water if too thick or reducing if too thin. Skim off any fat that comes to the surface.

Once it's at the consistency you like, return the chicken meat to the pan along with the cream and lots of salt & pepper and cook until warmed through.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water. Drain well once al dente and stir some of the ragu through the pasta. Distribute into bowls and top with more ragu. Serve with parmesan and more fresh herbs.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...