open chicken sandwich

Lemony chicken skewers, herbed new potatoes & apple coleslaw

If you are using wooden skewers, soak them in water for 10 mins. Heat the grill to high and place a non-stick baking tray beneath it. In a large bowl, mix the marinade ingredients, then add the chicken, turning it to ensure it is thoroughly coated. Cover and set aside. Put the potatoes in a large pan of boiling water and cook until a fork easily pierces them – about 12 mins. Meanwhile, mix the oil and herbs in a small bowl. While the potatoes are cooking, make the dressing for the coleslaw. Mix together the crème fraiche, mustard and lemon in a large bowl. Add all the vegetables and the apple, and stir well. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pan. Pour the herb mixture over them, stir gently to mix, cover to keep warm and set aside. Finally, divide the chicken between 4 skewers and place on the hot baking tray, spooning excess marinade over the chicken. Put the tray under the grill and cook for 6-8 mins, turning the skewers every 2 mins or so to ensure even cooking. Cut open a piece of chicken to ensure it’s cooked through. Serve with the potatoes and coleslaw, reserving half the coleslaw for Smoked mackerel platter (see ‘goes well with’).

spring roast chicken

Spring roast chicken

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Put the chicken thighs in a large shallow roasting tin, season and toss with the olive oil, lemon zest and wedges, shallots, rosemary and tarragon. Arrange the chicken thighs, skin-side up, and roast for 40-50 mins until the skin is crisp and golden. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of water to the boil and cook the asparagus for 3 mins or until tender, adding the courgettes and peas for the final minute. Drain the vegetables and toss in with the chicken, coating well with the cooking juices. Crumble over the feta and serve.

confit chicken legs with potato hash poached egg

Confit chicken legs with potato hash & poached egg

Mix the thyme leaves with the salt and lemon zest. Rub over the chicken legs, then chill for 1 hr. Heat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas 1.

Pat the chicken dry with kitchen paper. Place in a small roasting tin with the remaining confit ingredients. Bake in the oven for 2-2 1/2 hrs until tender, then remove from the oil and drain on a wire rack. Reserve and strain the oil – this is great for roasting veg or making more confit. Reserve the shallot and garlic.

To make the hash, heat 1 tbsp of the infused oil in a heavy-bottomed frying pan. Add the potatoes and cook for about 10 mins until they start to soften. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until it’s crisping. Add the leeks, chilli, confit shallot and garlic (squeezed out of its skin). Cook for another 5 mins until the leeks have softened and the potatoes are cooked through. Season, then add the spinach, kale and parsley. Stir until the leaves have wilted. Add a splash of vinegar.

Poach the eggs in barely simmering water for 3 mins, then drain on kitchen paper. Serve the chicken with the hash, eggs and a sprinkling of parsley.

preserved lemon roast chicken with freekeh salad

Preserved lemon roast chicken with freekeh salad

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. In a bowl or food processor, combine the butter, preserved lemon and garlic to make a flavoured butter.

Pat the chicken with kitchen paper, then fill the cavity with the bay, thyme, tarragon and flavoured butter, saving a little to spread over the thighs and breast. Season and roast in the oven for about 1 hr, basting every 20 mins or so with the preserved lemon butter and juices. It is cooked when the leg is wobbly when pulled from the body, and the juices run clear. Remove from the oven and leave to rest while you make the salad.

Heat the olive oil in a high-sided frying pan or saucepan. Toast the freekeh for a few mins with the bay leaf. Cover with water, bring to the boil and skim off any scum. Simmer for 25-30 mins until cooked but still with a little bite. Rinse the freekeh under cold water, then drain and mix it with the herbs, broad beans, spring onions and radishes. Season and dress with olive oil, lemon juice and the juices from the bird poured over.

spring chicken traybake

Spring chicken traybake

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Put the broccoli, new potatoes and asparagus in a roasting tin and toss with 1 tbsp of the olive oil and some seasoning. Add 4 tarragon sprigs, the garlic cloves and 1 /2 the lemon wedges. Sit the chicken thighs on top and rub with the remaining oil, seasoning well.

Roast in the oven for 45-50 mins until the chicken is cooked and the vegetables are tender.

Meanwhile, make the yogurt dressing by finely chopping the remaining tarragon (leaves only) with a few mint leaves, then stir through the yogurt. Season well and add a squeeze of lemon juice.

Bring to the table with the yogurt dressing and remaining lemon wedges, and let people help themselves.

salsa verde 2

Salsa verde (green sauce)

Chop the herbs and garlic with 1 tsp sea salt until very fine. Add the mustard and capers , and combine. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the olive oil. Add the vinegar, little by little, stirring and tasting as you go – trust your palate!

Rosies roast chicken

Rosie’s roast chicken

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Pat your chicken with kitchen paper, then fill the cavity with all the ingredients, saving a little butter to spread over the thighs and breast. Season well. Roast for 1 hr 20 mins , until the leg is wobbly when pulled from the body and the juices run clear, basting every 20 mins or so with the juices. Remove from the oven and allow to rest while you make the sides. Leave the fat and juices in the roasting tin for the potatoes.

creamy chicken asparagus braise 1

Creamy chicken & asparagus braise

Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the chicken for 5 mins, turning to brown both sides.

Add the asparagus (reserve the tips), leeks and celery, pour in the bouillon and simmer for 10 mins. Add the asparagus tips and peas, and cook for 5 mins more.

Meanwhile, stir the egg yolk with the yogurt and garlic. Stir the yogurt mixture into the vegetables and add the tarragon. Divide between two warm plates, then place the chicken on top of the vegetables. Serve with new potatoes, if you like.

spiced pork fillet with shallots apple

Creamy tarragon chicken & potato bake

Melt 20g of the butter in a flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat. Season the chicken and add to the dish with the pancetta. Fry for 5 mins until the pancetta is crispy and the chicken browned and cooked through. Set aside in a bowl.

Lower the heat, add the remaining butter and, when it starts foaming, add the onions. Cook for 10 mins until softened, then stir through the flour and cook for another 2 mins. Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the chicken stock. Return to the hob, bring to the boil and cook for 5 mins. Stir through the tarragon, mustard and cream, followed by the chicken and pancetta, and cook for another 5 mins until the sauce is thickened.

Heat the grill to high. Heat the mashed potato following pack instructions, then spoon on top of the chicken filling in the casserole dish. Smooth and swirl the potato over right to the edges, drizzle with a little olive oil and put under the grill for 8-10 mins or until the top is golden and bubbling.

roast chicken

Roast chicken with Caesar vegetables

To make the dressing, put the anchovies in a small bowl, add the vinegar, mustard, garlic and egg, then blitz with a stick blender until well mixed. Gradually add the oil in a thin stream until it thickens into a creamy dressing. Stir in the Parmesan, season and chill until ready to serve.

For the chicken, heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Beat 1 tbsp chopped tarragon with the butter and anchovies, then rub it under the breast skin of the chicken. Rub any remainder all over the bird and roast for 1 hr until the chicken is golden and nearly cooked. After 1 hr, add the asparagus and beans to the roasting tin around the chicken. Cook for 12 mins, then scatter the peas over and cook for another 3 mins until the chicken is cooked through, the vegetables are tender and the peas are hot.

Meanwhile, put the croutons on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 10 mins until golden and crisp.

Scatter the chicken and vegetables with the croutons and tarragon sprigs, and spoon over a little dressing. Serve the rest of the dressing separately.

one pot poached chicken

One-pot poached spring chicken

Melt the butter in a small pan, discard the milky liquid, then pour the golden fat into a bowl and set aside – this is clarified butter. Heat oven to 150C/130C fan/gas 2. Sit the chicken in a large flameproof casserole dish, breast-side up, and arrange the potatoes and bacon around it. Pour over 1 litre of water. Add the thyme, pepper and bay, drizzle over the clarified butter and season everything with sea salt. Transfer the dish to the hob and heat until the liquid is starting to simmer. Cover the dish, cook in the oven for 1 hr 15 mins, then add the carrots and turnips. Pop the lid back on and put it back in the oven for another 35 mins.

Scatter the peas, broad beans, onions and asparagus around the chicken, submerging them in the liquid, then cover and return to the oven for a further 10-15 mins or until the vegetables are just cooked.

Remove from the oven, leave to stand for 5 mins, then carefully lift the chicken from the broth onto a board. If you want to crisp up the skin, blast it with a blowtorch. Stir the parsley and tarragon through the broth. Serve in the middle of the table with the vegetables and broth, and offer lemon wedges for squeezing over.

chicken broccoli potato topped pie

Chicken & broccoli potato-topped pie

For the base, melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for a few mins, stirring all the time. Now, using a whisk or spatula, carefully stir in the milk, a little at a time, making sure the sauce stays smooth. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for a couple of mins until it thickens – it will be very thick. Turn the heat right down and keep cooking for 5 mins, stirring often.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and fry all of the chicken in batches until it starts to colour lightly at the edges. Scoop out each batch of chicken and put it on a plate. Add the onion to the pan if you are using it, and cook over a low heat until soft. Add the chicken and any juices and the onion to the white sauce, fold it in and cook the mixture for a further 15 mins or until the chicken is cooked through. If you’re making the base ahead of time, you can leave it to cool at this stage then freeze in an airtight container for up to a month. (Defrost fully before using in the next step.)

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Cook the potatoes in boiling water for 10 mins, then drain and cool a little before slicing thickly.

Meanwhile, cook the broccoli until tender, then drain. Heat the chicken base with the stock in a pan until it is just beginning to bubble, then stir in the tarragon (if using) and the mustard. Fold in the broccoli and peas. Tip the chicken mixture into a dish and arrange the potato slices on top, then dot the butter over. Bake for 30-35 mins or until golden.

Herby spatchcocked chicken with crisp chickpeas & wild garlic labneh

Herby spatchcocked chicken with crisp chickpeas & wild garlic labneh

First, make the labneh. Mix the yogurt with a pinch of salt. Line a sieve with muslin or a clean J-cloth and rest over a deep bowl. Spoon in the yogurt, cover, and put in the fridge to strain for about 4 hrs. You’ll be left with a firmer, soft cheese-like substance – this is your labneh.

Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. To spatchcock the chicken, put it on a chopping board, breast-side down, with its legs pointing towards you. Use sharp scissors to carefully cut out the backbone and parson’s nose in one piece (you can freeze them to use in stock). Turn the chicken over and press on the breastbone to flatten it – you should feel it breaking.

Mash the butter with the tarragon and wild garlic and season. Use your fingers to ease the skin from the breast of the chicken and spread the butter over the breast under the skin. Season the bird and rub with any remaining butter and a little olive oil. Dust with the za’atar.

In a roasting tin, combine the lemon slices, garlic, red onions,chickpeas and bay leaves with 1 tbsp olive oil. Season and sit the bird on top. Roast for 45-50 mins, basting with the juices a couple of times, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast reads 75C, or the juices run clear and theflesh is opaque. Remove from the oven and rest for at least 15 mins.

Turn the labneh out into a bowl. In a mini chopper or small blender, blitz the wild garlic with the olive oil and lemon juice, then pour this on top of the labneh. Carve the chicken once rested and divide between plates with the wild garlic labneh and chickpeas.

kentucky fried seitan 1

Kentucky fried seitan

First, make the seitan. Blitz the tofu, soy milk, miso, marmite, tarragon, sage, thyme, onion powder, garlic powder, 1 tsp salt and ½ tsp white pepper in a food processor until smooth.

Tip into a bowl and add the wheat gluten and pea protein or protein powder. Mix to form a dough. Once it has come together, give it a really good knead, stretching and tearing for 10-15 mins. It will be ready when the seitan feels springy.

Pour the veg stock into a pan with the onion, garlic and parsley stalks. Bring to a simmer. Flatten out the seitan to 1cm in thickness, and chop into chicken-breast-sized chunks. Simmer these in the stock for 30 mins, covered with a lid. Allow to cool in the stock. Ideally do this the day before and chill in the fridge. These can also be frozen if you wish. 

Mix the spice coating ingredients in one bowl. Place the gram flour in another and the plain flour in a third. Mix enough water into the gram flour until it has a texture similar to beaten egg. Dip the seitan pieces in the plain flour, shake off the excess, then coat each piece in the gram flour mixture and finally in the panko spice mix.

In a large frying pan or deep fat fryer, heat the oil to 180C (or until a piece of bread browns in 20 seconds). Once it’s hot, carefully drop in the seitan pieces and cook for 6 mins or so, until they are dark golden brown and crispy. Transfer to kitchen paper to drain off the excess oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Serve in toasted buns with salad or slaw, or alternatively as mock chicken dippers with BBQ sauce.

chicken kiev 1

Ultimate chicken Kievs

To brine the chicken, whisk the salt into 1 litre of cold water in a large bowl until the salt has totally dissolved, then add the herbs, garlic and the chicken. Cover and put in the fridge for at least 5 hrs (up to 24 hrs is fine).

Meanwhile, to make the butter, crush the garlic with a little salt, using the side of your knife to form a paste, then mix it into the softened butter with the herbs and lemon zest. Using a layer of cling film, roll the butter into a sausage shape and put in the fridge or freezer for at least 1 hr to firm up. This can be done up to two days ahead.

Remove the chicken from the brine but don’t rinse it, and instead pat dry. Using a sharp knife, make a small horizontal incision in the fattest part of each breast. Using your fingers, open up the incision to form a decent-sized cavity without cutting all the way through. Divide the butter mixture between the breasts and stuff it inside, leaving the chicken nice and plump, without any butter on show.

To make the coating, put the flour, eggs and panko crumbs in separate shallow bowls. Dip the chicken in the flour first, then in the egg and finally in the breadcrumbs. Repeat the egg and crumb process again so the chicken has a thick coating. This can be done the day before and kept in the fridge.

Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 8. Place a heavy frying pan on a medium to high heat. Add a generous layer of vegetable oil and fry the Kievs individually until golden all over, working in batches if you need to. Place on a rack with a baking tray underneath and bake in the oven for 25 mins until deep golden and cooked through. Serve with sweet braised lettuce and peas.

ham turkey pie 2

Next level turkey & ham pie

First, make the sauce. Heat the butter in a saucepan, add the leeks and thyme and cook very gently for 10-15 mins until soft but not coloured. Stir in the flour and cook to a sandy paste, then splash in the vinegar and bubble for a moment. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then add the cream and simmer until you have a thick sauce. Stir through the mustard, tarragon and chopped turkey, turn off the heat and leave to cool. Set aside. Can be made a day ahead.

To make the pastry, tip the flour into a food processor with the sage and 1 tsp salt. Add the butter and suet, and whizz to fine crumbs. With the motor running, slowly pour in 150ml cold water until the pastry just comes together. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and bring together into a dough. Cut just over a third of the pastry and cover while you roll out the rest to line an oiled 20cm springform tin, leaving an overhang.

Layer some sliced ham or turkey on the bottom, then spoon and spread over a thin layer of sauce and repeat the layers until you get to the top of the tin, finishing with a final layer of meat, then press down gently. Cut away another small ball of pastry from the remaining third. Roll out the larger piece until big enough to cover the pie with an overhang. Brush the edge of the pie with egg yolk, then lift on the pastry lid and press the edges to seal before trimming. Crimp all the way round. Cut a little hole in the middle of the pastry to let steam escape. Brush all over with more yolk and use the last bit of pastry to decorate the top. Can be prepared a day ahead and chilled until ready to cook.

When you’re ready to bake, heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6 with a baking sheet in it. Sit the pie on the hot sheet and bake for 45-50 mins. Leave until warm, remove from the tin and cut into thick wedges or cool and eat cold.


Herby spring chicken pot pie

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Heat the oil in a large, shallow casserole dish on a medium heat. Add the spring onions and fry for 3 mins, then stir through the frozen spinach and cook for 2 mins or until it’s starting to wilt. Remove the skin from the chicken and discard. Shred the chicken off the bone and into the pan, and discard the bones. Stir through the stock and mustard. Bring to a simmer and cook, uncovered, for 5-10 mins. Stir in the peas, crème fraîche and herbs, then remove from the heat. Scrunch the filo pastry sheets over the mixture, brush with a little oil and bake for 15-20 mins or until golden brown.

bbq chicken with green goddess salad

BBQ chicken drummers with green goddess salad

Blitz the tomato purée, vinegar, paprika, date, oil, garlic and 2-3 tbsp water until smooth. Slash the drumsticks a few times, then toss in the sauce. Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6, then roast for 30 mins.

To make the dressing, scoop the avocado into a bowl with the yogurt, lemon juice, spring onions, tarragon and mustard powder, then blitz with a hand blender until smooth.

Toss the lettuce, watercress and cucumbers together and pile onto plates. Spoon over the dressing and serve with the chicken and potatoes.

spring chicken pot pie 3

Spring chicken pot pie

Season the chicken thighs with some salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a heavy-based saucepan and fry the chicken for 3-4 mins on each side until lightly golden, then transfer to a plate. Add the bacon to the pan and fry for 5 mins until golden. Tip in the leeks and fry for another 5 mins.

Sprinkle the flour over the leeks and bacon, and stir until combined. Add the wine, if using, and bubble for a few minutes, then add the stock and stir well. Slice the chicken and return it to the pan – don’t worry if it’s not fully cooked through at this point, it will finish cooking in the oven.

Stir in the crème fraîche, peas, 1 tbsp mustard and the tarragon, and bubble for a few minutes until thick and saucy. Add a splash more stock or water if it seems too thick Remove the pie filling from the heat. Whisk the remaining ½ tbsp mustard with the egg in a bowl.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Spoon the filling into a pie dish with a lip and use some of the egg mix to brush the sides of the dish. Unroll the pastry over the top of the pie and crimp the edges against the sides of the dish, then cut away any excess with a knife. Will keep frozen, well covered, for up to three months.

Brush the remaining egg glaze over the pie and make a small steam hole in the middle. Bake for 40 mins until golden and puffed. Serve with buttered new potatoes and steamed greens or carrots, if you like.

spring chicken

Spring one-pot roast chicken

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Remove any string from the chicken and sit in a large roasting tin or a baking dish, with plenty of space around it.

Mash 2 tbsp of the mascarpone with the lemon zest, 1 tbsp of the tarragon and some seasoning. Slip your hand beneath the chicken skin to pull it away from the meat, then spread the mixture beneath the skin in a thin layer. Spoon another 3 tbsp mascarpone into the cavity of the chicken, to melt in with the roasting juices and enrich the sauce later on. Rub 2 tbsp olive oil into the skin, season well with sea salt, then loosely tie the legs together with butcher’s string. Roast for 20 mins. 

Aarrange the potatoes and the garlic around the chicken, drizzle over another 1 tbsp oil and cook for another 30 mins.

Toss the radishes and whole spring onions into the dish, in and around the potatoes, coating everything in the fat, then roast for another 25 mins. The potatoes and radishes will be golden and tender, and the chicken should be cooked through. Remove the chicken from the tin, cover loosely with foil and leave to rest.

Pour off or spoon away the excess oil from the tin. Stir the remaining mascarpone (about 150g) with the stock in a jug until lump-free, then pour into the tin and bubble on the hob for few minutes, stirring to coat the potatoes and veg. Squeeze over some lemon juice and season. 

Stir in the peas, spring greens and most of the remaining tarragon, and bubble for a few more minutes until bright green. Sit the chicken back in the middle of the tin to serve and scatter over the reserved tarragon.

seasonal fennel and veg gratin

Roast fennel & bread gratin

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Toss the fennel with the olive oil to coat it on a baking tray or in a gratin dish, adding a pinch of sea salt and the thyme leaves. Roast for 20 mins, tossing halfway through, until softened and caramelised.

Meanwhile, tear the sourdough into chunks, tip into a bowl and pour over the milk and wine. Set aside. Combine the parmesan with the crème fraîche and season with salt, pepper and a little grated nutmeg.

Once the fennel is roasted, remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly. Add the soaked bread to the fennel, and mix together. Pour over the crème fraîche mixture and half the herbs, and stir to coat the bread and fennel. Grate over a little extra cheese, then bake for another 25-30 mins, or until golden, bubbling and crisp at the edges. Top with the remaining herbs.

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Mustard-buttered chicken with tarragon, peas & carrots

Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Beat the mustard and butter together, then season well. Put the chickens into a large roasting tin; then, starting at the neck end, pull the skin away from the breast and thigh meat with your fingers. Stuff the butter under the skin, saving 1 tbsp for later. Put half the garlic bulb into each cavity. Season generously, cover with foil, then roast for 1 hr, uncovering for the final 20 mins, until crisp and golden. Lift the birds onto a board, then sit the pan on the hob and splash in the wine. Reduce for 5 mins, scraping up the meaty bits with a wooden spoon, then add the stock and bring to a simmer. Tip in the carrots, cover with a sheet of foil, then cook for 5 mins. You can do this ahead of time. Add the peas and simmer for a few mins until tender. Just before serving, whisk in the reserved mustard butter, chopped herbs and any resting juices, then season to taste. If you like, transfer everything to a platter and bring to the table – or simply return the chickens to the roasting pan.

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The ultimate makeover: Coronation chicken

Put the chicken in a large pan, then pour in enough cold water to just cover. Roughly chop one of the onions, drop into the pan with the carrot, tarragon and bay leaves. Cover, bring to the boil, then lower to a gentle simmer for about 1 ¾ hrs or until the chicken is cooked (the legs will fall easily away from the body). Remove from the heat, but leave the chicken in the liquid to cool for about 3 hrs. When cold, lift the chicken out of the stock then strain (skim off any fat from the stock) and keep 200ml for the sauce. Can be done a day ahead and chilled. The excess stock can be chilled the frozen. Finely chop the second onion. Heat oil in a small saucepan, tip in the onion and fry until softened and pale golden, about 5-8 mins. Stir in the curry powder and cook for 1 min, stirring. Pour in the reserved chicken stock, then stir in the tomato purée. Cover and simmer for 10 mins. At the same time, put the apricots in a small pan with enough water to just cover them, then simmer for 15 mins. Drain, reserving 1 tbsp of the liquid. Purée the apricots in a small blender with the reserved liquid then press through a sieve (you should get about 1 tbsp purée). Remove curry sauce from the heat then stir in the sugar. Strain through a sieve, pressing as much through as you can with a wooden spoon, then stir in the lime juice and apricot purée and leave until cold. Mix together the mayonnaise and fromage frais, then stir in the cold curry sauce. Season to taste with a good grinding of pepper. Cut the spring onions into long, slim slivers, then set aside. If you want them to curl, put into a bowl of iced water while you finish the salad. Remove the skin from the chicken. Strip the meat off the bones in chunky pieces, remove the breasts separately and thickly slice. Gently toss the chicken with the curried sauce, the coriander and most of the mango. Scatter the watercress onto a platter. Spoon the chicken mix on top, tuck in the rest of the mango and finish with a pile of (drained) spring onions.

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One-pot chicken with braised vegetables

Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper. Heat the butter in a casserole dish until sizzling, then take 10 mins to brown the chicken on all sides. Remove the chicken from the dish, then fry the bacon until crisp. Add the potatoes and shallots, then cook until just starting to brown. Nestle the chicken among the veg, pour over the wine, then pot-roast, undisturbed, for 1 hr or until the chicken is cooked. After 1 hr, remove the chicken and place the pan back on the heat. Stir the peas into the buttery juices, adding a splash of water if the pan is dry, then simmer until the peas are cooked through. Finally, add any juices from the rested chicken, then stir through the herbs and serve with the chicken.

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One-pot chicken & bacon stew

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole with a lid. Fry the chicken pieces in batches for 5 mins on each side until well browned, then transfer to a plate. Sizzle the bacon in the casserole for a few mins until beginning to crisp. Stir in the carrots and onions, then cook for 5 mins until starting to soften. Stir in the flour and tomato purée and cook for 1 min more. Finally, splash in the vinegar and stir well. Pour in the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the bay, cream and seasoning. Slide in the chicken pieces and scatter over the potatoes, turning everything over a few times so that the potatoes are immersed in the sauce. Put the lid on and place in the oven. After 40 mins, remove from the oven and stir in the mushrooms. Cover again and cook in the oven for 10 mins more until the chicken is cooked through and tender but not completely falling off the bone. You can now turn off the heat, and chill and freeze some or all of it (see freezing tips, below). If eating straight away, cook for 10 mins more, then sprinkle over the herbs and serve.

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Healthier beef Wellington

Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Unless the butcher has already done so, tie the meat around with string at even intervals to hold it together. Heat 2 tsp of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Lay the beef in the pan and fry over a high heat for 5 mins to seal, turning often (step 1). Transfer it to a roasting tin, season with pepper and a pinch of salt, then roast for 17-18 mins (this roasts to medium-rare). Meanwhile, put the porcini in a small heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water and leave for 20-30 mins to soak. Pour 1 tbsp of the remaining oil into the same frying pan (don’t wash it) that the meat was cooked in. Tip in the shallots, garlic and chestnut mushrooms and fry for 4-5 mins, stirring often, over a high-ish heat, so all the liquid is first released from the mushrooms then evaporated, and all are softened. Remove from the heat, stir in the parsley and tarragon (step 2), season with pepper and a pinch of salt, and leave to cool. Put the mix of leaves in a large heatproof bowl, pour over boiling water, leave for 30 secs, then tip into a colander, rinse under the cold tap and drain. Squeeze out all the moisture with your hands and pat dry with kitchen paper. Chop and set aside. Drain the porcini, reserving 5 tbsp of the soaking liquid. Chop the porcini finely and stir into the mushroom mix. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. When the beef is done, remove from the oven and let it sit in the tin for 10 mins for any juices to be released. Lower the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Lift the beef from the tin (keep all the juices in the tin for the gravy) and lay it on kitchen paper. Leave until dry and cool enough to wrap in the filo. Lay 1 of the filo sheets on the work surface with the short end facing you. Brush all over with a little of the remaining oil (you will have 1 tbsp and 1 tsp left). Layer up and oil 4 more filo sheets in the same way. Remove the string from the cooled beef. Spread the chopped leaves down the middle of the pastry, so it is the same length and width as the fillet. Top with the mushroom mix and lightly press down (step 3). Lay the beef over this, with the top of the beef facing down. Bring the long sides of the filo over the beef to enclose it (step 4), then turn it over so the join is underneath. Tuck both ends of the pastry under (trim first if necessary to reduce any excess) and place on the lined baking sheet so all the joins are on the bottom. Brush with more oil. Lay the last sheet of filo on the work surface in front of you, with one of the longest sides towards you, then cut across its width into 5 strips. Lay these one by one, slightly overlapping, over the wrapped beef, scrunching up an edge of each strip slightly as you go to give a bit of height (step 5). Carefully brush with the last of the oil, then bake for 30 mins until golden. If the pastry starts to brown too quickly, loosely lay a piece of foil over the top. Remove the meat and let sit for 5-10 mins before slicing. Meanwhile, make the gravy. Heat the saved roasting juices in the roasting tin, stirring to deglaze. Stir in the flour. Gradually pour in the wine, stirring all the time to blend in the flour. Stir in the stock and reserved porcini liquid and bubble for about 8-10 mins to reduce a little. It should have body, but be thinner like a ‘jus’. Stir in the mustard and season with pepper. Transfer the beef to a platter, then slice thickly with a sharp knife and serve with a spoonful or two of the gravy.

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All-in-one spring roast chicken

Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Sit the chicken in a good-sized roasting dish or tin. Push your fingers between the breast and skin to separate, push in some of the softened butter and gently spread over the breasts without tearing the skin. Rub the rest of the butter all over the outside of the chicken. Season well and roast for 30 mins. Toss the new potatoes with the olive oil and plenty of seasoning. When the chicken comes out, scatter the spuds around it and toss with the juices in the dish, too. Put back in the oven for another 30 mins. Stir the carrots into the potatoes and put back into the oven for another 20 mins. Check the chicken is cooked by piercing the thigh and making sure the juices run clear. Stir the broad beans and peas into the other veg with a splash of water and put back in the oven for 5 mins. Remove from the oven, cover loosely with foil and rest for 10 mins. Scatter over and stir in the herbs before serving.

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Tarragon & almond chicken

Preheat the oven to fan 180C/ conventional 200C/gas 6. Pat each chicken breast dry with kitchen paper. Make three lengthways slits in the top of each breast, cutting halfway through the meat. Cream the butter with the herbs until smooth, then blend in the almonds and a pinch of salt. Divide into 4 equal parts and spread one portion in the slits in each breast. Gently press the meat together to reform the shape. Wrap the prosciutto well around each breast, overlapping the ends (you shouldn’t need cocktail sticks to secure it). Lay the parcels in an oiled ovenproof dish and cover loosely with a piece of buttered grease proof paper or foil. (The chicken breasts can be kept like this in the fridge for 2-8 hours, but let them come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before cooking.) Bake the chicken for 20 minutes, removing the butter paper or foil for the last 5 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and allow the chicken to cool for 5 minutes, then transfer to individual plates and spoon over the melted butter that has collected in the bottom of the dish. Scatter with extra tarragon and some freshly ground pepper.

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Prosciutto-wrapped chicken & leek terrine

Gently cook the leeks for 15 mins in 2 tbsp olive oil until soft, then set aside to cool. In the remaining oil, fry the mushrooms with the garlic and thyme for 2 mins, then set aside to cool. Soak the gelatine in cold water, then heat the stock. Dissolve the gelatine in the stock, season, then set aside. Gather all the ingredients so you have them to hand when you start to assemble the terrine. Line a terrine dish or loaf tin with cling flim. Line with slices of prosciutto so that they overlap to cover the base and sides, and overhang the edges. Wet the bottom of the dish with a drizzle of stock. Arrange a single layer of chicken so that everything is even – don’t worry about any gaps – then pour over a little more stock. Scatter over a layer of mushrooms (discarding the garlic and thyme). Season with salt and pepper, then moisten again with a little more stock. Add more chicken followed by a layer of leeks, another layer of chicken, then the herbs. Drizzle stock between every layer and season with salt and pepper as you go. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up or the terrine is full to the brim. Finish with a final scattering of herbs, a last ladleful of stock, then tap the dish down a few times so that the stock gets into all the gaps. Fold the prosciutto over to encase the terrine. Fold the cling film over and press down gently. Sit the terrine in a dish to catch any juices. Lay a tray on top, weigh it down with a can and chill overnight. Twenty mins before serving, remove the tray. Put the terrine in the freezer to firm. Just before serving, lift it out of the dish. Wrap it tightly in more cling film. Carefully slice the terrine, still wrapped in its cling film. Remove the cling film and place a slice in the centre of each plate. Arrange chunks of spiced pear (recipe below) around terrine. Drizzle a little chicken poaching liquid around the plate, then drizzle with a tiny bit of oil. Neatly scatter a few baby salad leaves over the pear, then season the terrine with some sea salt and pepper before serving.

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Navarin of lamb & spring vegetables

Trim all the veg and peel the carrots. Boil a large pan of water and have a bowl of heavily iced water ready. Working in batches, cook the turnips for 3 mins, scoop into the iced water, then scoop out to drain. Repeat the process, cooking the carrots for 4 mins, the leeks for 5 mins, the peas and broad beans together for 1 min and finally the onions for 8-10 mins. Use a clean cloth to rub the skins off the turnips. Put all the vegetables in separate piles on a plate. TIP: Use the timings for cooking the baby vegetables only as a guideline, as they can vary in size. To be sure the vegetables are cooked properly, add a few more than the required amount to the water for you to test as they cook. Slice the lamb fillets into finger-thick pieces, then season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a large non-stick frying pan, then fry the lamb pieces for 2 mins on each side for rare or 3 mins on each side for medium. Tip the lamb into a colander with a bowl underneath to catch the juices, then leave in a warm place. TIP: When you cook lots of pieces of meat together, place them in the pan like points on a clock face – this makes it easy to remember which needs turning and removing from the pan first. Place the pan back on the heat and tip in the wine. Boil vigorously until reduced to a sticky syrup, then pour in 200ml of the chicken stock and any lamb juices from the bowl. Boil down until reduced by about half, then whisk in the butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then stir in the chopped tarragon. Pour the sauce into a small bowl, then wipe out the pan with kitchen paper. Heat a drizzle of oil and add the turnips and onions. Sizzle until starting to brown, then sprinkle over the sugar and a pinch of salt. Cook, shaking the pan constantly, until the veg are caramelised. Add carrots, leeks and balsamic, bubble for a moment, then add the stock. Bring to the boil, add the peas and broad beans, then boil for a few mins until all the liquid has nearly evaporated. Turn off heat. To serve, dress each bowl by placing a few pieces of lamb on the base, spooning the smaller vegetables around the lamb and balancing the carrots and leeks on top. Pour the hot sauce over everything, scatter with tarragon leaves and finally drizzle with olive oil.

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Easy one-pot chicken casserole

Put the kettle on. Fry the thighs in the oil in a casserole or wide pan with a lid to quickly brown. Stir in the whites of the spring onion with the flour and stock cubes until the flour disappears, then gradually stir in 750ml hot water from the kettle. Throw in the carrots and potatoes, bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 mins. Take off the lid and simmer for 15 mins more, then throw in the peas for another 5 mins. Season, stir in the mustard, green spring onion bits, herbs and some seasoning.

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Creamy tarragon chicken bake

Mix half the oil and flour in a saucepan (off the heat), then blend in the soya milk (it must be well blended before heating). Bring the sauce slowly to the boil, whisking constantly, then simmer for 1 min. Remove from the heat, cover with greaseproof paper and set aside. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Heat remaining oil in a frying pan, add the chicken, then fry for 2-3 mins or until brown (it won’t be cooked through). Transfer to an ovenproof gratin dish. Add the onions to the pan and fry for 2-3 mins. Spoon over the chicken, then top with the tomatoes and asparagus. Set aside while you prepare the sauce. Put the sugar and vinegar into the pan. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is a dark caramel colour, then add the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 1 min. Whisk into the milky sauce until blended, season, then add the tarragon. Spoon sauce over the chicken and veg, sprinkle with crumbs and cheese, then bake for 20 mins or until cooked through.