Portuguese BBQ Chicken and Salad

I love spring, mainly because the lamb is incredible but the main reason I love spring is that the longer light and cool evenings are perfect for eating outdoors with the BBQ. And my favourite thing to BBQ is a chicken in Portuguese marinade. There are a lot of theories about the right way to marinade but this recipe is my version, it is really simple  and very tasty. And what makes this even better is to cook with a fantastic free range chicken, I get mine from Hudson Meats sourced from Burrawong Gaian.

 Portuguese Chicken Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 long red chillies
  • 10 hot small red chillies
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika, get the really good spanish type
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 cup of canola or vegetable oil

Method

  • Blend all of the marinade ingredients in a food processor but do not over process.
  • Reserve a small amount for basting.
  • Cut the chicken into pieces and cover in the marinade. Refrigerate and turn in the marinade regularly for an hour or more.
  • On a high BBQ sear all of the chicken pieces then lower the temperature and close the lid for another 30 minutes, turning now and then. (note: you can also finish the chicken in the oven once you have charred it, this delivers a really moist chicken)
  • Close to service bast the chicken once more with the left over marinade but don’t turn it, you want the marinade on the surface.

 

Salad to Accompany

  • Good handful of mixed salad leaves, choose one with lots of peppery rocket
  • Packet of cherry tomatoes halved
  • Sliced red onion
  • Black olives pitted
  • Dressing of 2 TBsp of olive oil, 1Tbsp of lemon juice, pinch of salt and pepper and a teaspoon of dried oregano.

Perfect to share with friends on a big serving platter on a spring evening.

Italian Roast Rabbit with Honey and Vegetables

I love rabbit but I have to admit there is a massive difference in flavour for the better when you get a good one. I had the opportunity today to work with a fantastic animal provided by producers Burrawong Gaian, Beth and Hayden sourced via the always fantastic butcher Hudson Meat. I got to meet Beth and Hayden in the Hudson’s store yesterday and it was an absolute pleasure to be able to thank farmers who are serious about quality. They supply two of my other favourite things, Wessex Saddleback pigs and the stunning Muscovy ducks. I have worked with them before but being able to try the rabbit was a wonderful thing.

The first thing that struck me was how much meat was on the rabbit, the size and the incredible quality of the animal. From the moment I began to break the rabbit down I was really wishing it could just be done there and then. Couldn’t wait.

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So I decided to do something incredibly simple, the rabbit needed to really be the star and the meat needed to speak for itself. So I chose to do a one pot wonder Italian dish which is as simple to make as anything but the flavour, wow. Four of us sat down to the finished dish and all of us thought that it was sensational. The rabbit was the star and it is so simple to make. Here is the recipe and I encourage you to give it a go.

 

Recipe: Italian Rabbit with Honey and Vegetables

TitleRoasted rabbit with honey and root vegetables

Ingredients

  1. 80g butter
  2. 1 tablespoon of good honey
  3. 1 organic rabbit, jointed into pieces
  4. 5 tablespoons of good white wine vinegar
  5. 4 large carrots sliced thickly on the diagonal
  6. 4 turnips cut into thick slices
  7. 100g of freshly shelled peas
  8. 100g french beens trimmed
  9. 2 fresh tarragon sprigs, roughly chopped
  10. Salt and pepper

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  1. Cook each of the vegetables briefly in salted boiling water, just to soften a little, then place all the veg into a large bowl and keep aside.
  2. Joint the rabbit and remove the excess fat.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  4. In a flameproof heavy based casserole with a lid heat the butter and honey over a medium high heat.
  5. When the butter is bubbling hot brown all of the rabbit pieces turning frequently until they develop a great caramel outside. Then take the rabbit out of the pan and set aside.
  6. Add the white wine vinegar, carefully it splutters, and reduce until almost all the liquid is gone.
  7. Add the rabbit and vegetables back into the pan and turn them in the butter gently.
  8. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the tarragon.
  9. Put the lid on the casserole and place in the oven for 45 minutes.
  10. Serve in the pan and let everyone help themselves, there will be just enough liquid in the bottom for a sauce.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 1 hour(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: Italian

Rating 5 Stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)

 

The Joy of Fresh Garlic

Fresh local garlic is a little bit of a luxury in Australia. The vast majority of ours comes from overseas and we are pretty much used to its semi dry nature. But I tell you what, have a go at the real thing and it is life changing for a serious foodie and cook. The fresh stuff is completely different, its bleeds when it is cut, not blood obviously, but sensational garlicky goodness. And some varieties like the one I have had to try in this post can even be eaten raw. Incredible.

A friend of mine has done something I would love to do. Pack up move north and buy a farm. Then grow garlic. WHAT? Garlic, yes. The most difficult crop on earth. I have to admire his dedication. I asked him for a little background on the farm.

Darkwood Farm is a family run organic farm in the beautiful Thora Valley on the mid north coast of NSW.

We believe our food supply should be in the hands of family farms and not greedy multinationals.

Our aim is to provide high quality, organically grown produce to consumers direct, from paddock to plate. Our online shop will be operational from June 2013 at www.darkwoodfarm.com.au and the Darkwood Farm Facebook page you will be able to see how we grow our products and follow the entie lifecycle of each crop.

Our first commercial crop is Garlic, of the Russian variety aka known as Elephant garlic due to its large size.

We grow our garlic on the alluvial flats next to the Bellinger River which adjoins our property.

Our next crops will include Ginger and Turmeric as well.

Hopefully from 2014 we will also be able to provide organic handmade goats’ cheese as we are currently selecting the first goats for our herd.

Last week he arrived in Surry Hills on a loud motorbike packing goodies. A pile of fresh garlic got handed to me and I couldn’t wait to try it. Over the weekend I test cooked a few different things including French Garlic and Onion Soup, a Pizza with Garlic and Whitebean Sauce and perfect Spaghetti with Olive Oil and Garlic. There is no where to hide in the last dish, it is just the olive oil and garlic and boy did the garlic do some talking. The difference with fresh is amazing.

So here are a few pictures of the final results. I am no photographer but you get the idea.

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So despite all the clever recipes the funny thing is that it was the simplest thing that absolutely won us all over. Basic pizza dough, some good olive oil and shaved fresh garlic. Absolute perfection.

I encourage you all to follow Darkwood on Facebook so you find out the moment they start selling direct to the public. Try the real thing, you will not regret it.