Real Cook­ing for Real Men

There is no doubt in my mind that thighs are the best part of the chicken, and that cau­li­flower mash and its blessed vari­ants cut your car­bo­hy­drate load with­out leav­ing you with a sense of sac­ri­fice.

Farmer's Weekly (South Africa) - - Contents - FW

1First, the mari­nade. Use a zest­ing tool, thin knife blade or grater to col­lect the zest (thin, aro­matic outer layer of skin) from both lemons af­ter rins­ing and dry­ing them. Squeeze the lemons and re­serve the juice for later. Peel and crush the gar­lic, and finely chop the chilli and herbs. Com­bine the zest, gar­lic, chilli, herbs, salt and olive oil in a large bowl. Add the thighs, turn­ing them a few times, then let them mari­nade un­der cover in the fridge for two to four hours.

2Pre­heat the oven to 180°C, and brown the thighs in a fry­ing pan on high heat. Ar­range them in a sin­gle layer in a large roast­ing dish, driz­zle with olive oil and sprin­kle with one or two tea­spoons of coarsely ground black pep­per. Put them in the oven and roast for about 45 min­utes, turn­ing once af­ter 20 min­utes. Check if they’re done, be­fore lightly dress­ing them with the lemon juice.

3While the chicken is cook­ing, top and tail the leeks, and cut into thick slices. Sweat these in olive oil un­til soft, then re­move and re­serve them un­der cover. Cut out and dis­card the thick cau­li­flower stem, and break into flo­rets. Com­bine the milk and cream, and peel the gar­lic. Se­lect a large pot, add the flo­rets, gar­lic and half a tea­spoon of coarse salt. Pour in wa­ter to barely cover the con­tents.

Bring to the boil, re­duce to a high sim­mer and let it cook for 10 min­utes or so, or un­til the flo­rets are soft. Drain and al­low to dry in a colan­der. Puree the flo­rets and gar­lic in a food pro­ces­sor with the milk, cream and leeks. Do this in batches, de­pend­ing on the vol­ume of your food pro­ces­sor.

Add salt and pep­per to taste, a dice or two of hard but­ter, and serve im­me­di­ately with the thighs, pro­vid­ing lemon quar­ters to din­ers for their per­sonal fin­ish­ing touch.

• David Basckin is a free­lance jour­nal­ist and videog­ra­pher. Email him at farm­er­[email protected]­ Sub­ject line: Real cook­ing.

Styling: Nomvuse­lelo Mn­cube Photo: Peter Whitfield

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