Flat Chicken with Broad Bean Crush

Another recipe from Greg and Lucy Malouf’s recipe book Saha  for this months The Cookbook Guru.

The idea of the broad bean crush was too enticing to pass up, especially considering broad beans are currently in season and plentiful here.

When we were kids (and there is 7 of us) Dad used to go to the fruit market out at Flemington on Saturday mornings and come back with boxes and bags of fresh fruit and vegetables. He would unload the car, leaving everything in the tiny alcove near the front door and we would go back and forth carrying boxes to the kitchen where my mum would start to organise things for storage.

As the box of broad beans was being carried into the house we would reach in as it went past and grab a pod or two and begin to pod and peel the beans as we continued to cart fruit and veg into the house. What a memory that is.

Well, I don’t buy boxes of broad beans but I did buy a bagful (some for the recipe, some for me to munch on while I tackled the recipe). Mmmm… so fresh…

I have to admit I was a little disappointed with this particular recipe though. It had wonderful ingredients, all the makings of a great dish but the flavour didn’t really do much to enhance the meal. In fact I found the broad bean crush to be a little bitter. It did look amazing though…

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I used a free range chicken, cut out the back bone, then with the breast side up I pressed down with my hand to flatten it.

Next I seasoned the chicken well with salt, pepper, cinnamon, cumin, sumac and some sweet paprika. I lay it on a couple of sliced potatoes and a sliced onion then popped it in a preheated 200oC oven for about 45 minutes. (The recipe calls for 2 x 500g chickens and is grilled instead of baked but the chicken I got was 1.5kg and was not going to fit under my grill, so I baked it on the top shelf in the oven.)

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For the broad bean crush:-

1 clove of garlic, crushed

pinch of salt

125g broad beans, podded and peeled

1 shallot, finely diced

1/4 cup coriander leaves, finely chopped

50ml extra virgin olive oil

pinch cayenne pepper

freshly ground black pepper

juice of 1 lemon

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Pound the garlic and salt together in a mortar and pestle until you have a smooth paste, then gradually add the rest of the ingredients while pounding them all together until you get a sludgy mix. (You can always put everything into a blender or food processor)

This is where I tasted the mix and found it wasn’t quite to my likings so I added in a teaspoon of brown sugar in the hope of masking the bitterness, and it did help.

Once the chicken is cooked, smear the broad bean mix over it then pop it back into the oven for about 5 minutes to cook the beans and garlic a little.

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I served the chicken pieces with the potato and onion from the baking dish and a fresh garden salad.

Sorry to say I don’t know that I would make the broad bean crush again but I won’t be stopped from eating fresh broad beans straight out of the pod or digging into a plate of broad beans and rice Riz ib Fool. Yum….

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Oven Roasted Spiced Chicken

So many recipes, so few days in the month.

With over 800 recipes to choose from, Charmaine Solomons – The Complete Asian Cookbook – is proving to be quite the challenge as  The Cookbook Guru book of the month.

Lucky for me, a friend tagged a few of her favourite recipes. Thanks Sue S.  This was definitely a fine recipe to tag.

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A simple yet amazingly tasty meal to prepare.

I ended up using a whole chicken instead of pieces. Just cut out the backbone and flatted the bird by pushing down on the breast. It cooks faster and more evenly  than leaving it whole.

I added a couple of other ingredients too.

Oven Roasted Spiced Chicken.

1 free range whole chicken (or 1.5 kg chicken pieces)

3 cloves garlic – minced

2 tsp grated fresh ginger

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

4tsp five spice powder

1 red chilli – finely chopped (optional, we love chilli)

4 Tblsp light soy sauce

3 Tblsp peanut oil

1 Tblsp dry sherry

2 large potatoes cut into slices 5mm thick (optional but delicious)

In a bowl mix together the garlic, ginger, salt, pepper, five spice, chilli, soy sauce, peanut oil and sherry. Pour over your chicken and leave to marinade in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

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Spread the potato slices in a roasting dish (which I cover with foil or baking paper for easy cleaning). Lift the chicken out of the marinade and lay it, skin side down, on top of the potatoes. Pour the marinade over the chicken.

Roast in a pre heated 180 c oven for 30 minutes, turn the chicken over (skin side up) and cook for another 30 minutes.

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The skin will be crispy and the potatoes will have soaked in all the delicious juices and be cooked to perfection.

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