I'm so cussing excited! We have reservations for dinner at Raymond Blanc's two Michelin star restaurant Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons in Oxford in a two weeks! What's even better is that ten days later, I get to spend a day in his cookery school learning some brilliant recipes and fawning over the incredible organic gardens on the estate.
I've been watching Raymond's BBC2 series Kitchen Secrets with increasing enthusiasm, as he really does show the viewer how to make some incredibly lovely dishes, following simple techniques and explaining the reasons behind each part of the recipe.
I know that this has nothing to do with today's dish, but I'm just so excited I though I'd share. I'll take as many pictures as I can throughout the day and will write a blow-by-blow account of my experience for those of you who are interested.
Ok, so back to the matter at hand. Yesterday I was talking about using left over meats in non-left-over-tasting ways. I was wondering how best to use some left over roast chicken and I remembered having a roast duck curry at a lovely Thai place we used to go to in Scottsdale. They also made brilliant martinis and some of the best Tom Kha Gai I've ever had and so we miss them badly since the move.
I buy a very big chicken each week so that I can get two whole meals out of each one, then the bones make stock. I usually use the breast meat for one dish and the dark meat for the other, as they each benefit (or don't) from different styles of cooking.
I roasted the bird this week and served the breasts with sweet potato mash and creamed brussels sprouts. I had decided to follow Malee's ducky example and make a simple curry with the rest of the roast, except I wasn't going to use the skin, which I find unpleasantly soggy and flaccid (a brilliant word! Totally sounds like what it means!)
I have used cucumber in this curry, which may sound weird and soggy, but when you remove the seedy core (and eat it standing there at the cutting board) it is a really lovely addition with a great texture.
Thai Roast Chicken Curry With Pineapple and Cucumber
Serves 4, takes 30 minutes
Thighs, drumsticks and wings from a roast chicken- meat pulled and chopped into large bitesized chunks.
1 cucumber (English/hothouse)
1/2 cup red curry paste recipe here
small handful raw, unsalted peanuts
small can pineapple chunks in juice (not syrup!)
1 can coconut milk
2 tbsp fish sauce
juice of 2 limes
handful fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves
Steamed sticky jasmine rice to serve
Cut the cucumber into quarters lengthwise and use the tip of your knife to cut out the wet, seedy core. Either munch it down right where you stand, or chop it up and shake it with some ice, Grey Goose vodka and a little mint, then sip while you cook. Slice the long quarters of cucumber at a 45 degree angle, producing pretty, sharp little spikes. Put them in a bowl and sprinkle liberally with sea salt and put off to the side while you prepare the curry. Rinse the cucumber pieces well to remove the salt, drain well before using.
Start your rice cooking.
Heat your wok over a good hot heat and add a little oil. When the oil is wobbly-hot and starting to smoke, add your paste and peanuts and fry for a couple of minutes until very fragrant and bubbling away nicely. Stir in the coconut milk and the fish sauce and then simmer this lot for about ten minutes, until thickened and reduced by about a third.
Add the chicken and the juice from the pineapple can, then simmer for a further few minutes and add in the pineapple pieces and the lime juice. Simmer for a further minute or two until you have a nice, thick consistency in the sauce, then turn off the heat and stir in the slices of cucumber.
Serve over a heap of jasmine rice and scatter with some fresh coriander (cilantro)
The texture that the roast chicken brings is a little firmer than fresh, and it's really pleasing. I would definitely stick with dark meat though instead of white, as breast meat doesn't seem to re-heat well in this way.