Is this your new family favourite? Smoky barbecue chicken gets the thumbs up.
My dad can be a bit obsessive. When I was a kid, he was the one going through phases.
Remember that game Mastermind? You had to use logic to work out the sequence of four pegs the other player had hidden behind their little roof.
Dad had a huge crush on that game for a while. It hit the dining table every night until Mum started consistently beating him and it was unceremoniously shoved back in the cupboard in favour of Uno. Then Scrabble. Then Boggle. He used to win at Boggle, so that one lasted a while.
He was the same with food. Egg and bacon sandwiches, salt and vinegar crisps and bagels with cream cheese are all firm Dad favourites. Saturday evening for me is forever associated with lemon meringue pie (made from a packet mix) because Dad craved it almost as much as he clung to routine.
He adores marzipan (Mum has to put it out of his reach) and loves black cherry flavoured anything – but he always claimed to hate yogurt. For years, Mum and I decanted Ski yogurt into little glass dishes and told him it was ‘black cherry dessert’. When we finally confessed, his confusion was deep and hilarious (“But I don’t like yogurt!”).
One experimental Sunday, Mum sprinkled paprika over the Sunday chicken and called it ‘hot pepper chicken’. And that was it. Hot pepper chicken became the regular roast, week in, week out. The first time I cooked a chicken myself, I consulted Prue Leith’s Cookery Bible for timings and was astounded to discover that roast chicken is generally a paprika-free zone.
Which is why I have a special fondness for this paprika-spiked one-pot favourite. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients. It’s really easy to cook and it’s so popular in our family I’m confident you won’t invest in all these herbs and spices, only for them to clutter up your cupboard, forgotten and ignored for the rest of time. This one will run and run. Just ask my dad.
Smoky Barbecue Chicken
Serves 2 • Ready in 1 hour
1 tsp olive oil (27 cals)
2 shallots, peeled, halved and thinly sliced (12 cals)
1 carrot, peeled and sliced (35 cals)
½ red (bell) pepper, deseeded and chopped (23 cals)
1 celery stick, trimmed and chopped (5 cals)
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed (4 cals)
1 x 400g (14oz) can chopped tomatoes (64 cals)
100ml (scant 1/2 cup) red wine (86 cals)
300ml (generous 1 cup) water
1 tsp dried thyme
2 tsp (10g) malt extract (31 cals)
½ tsp mild chilli powder (7 cals)
½ tsp smoked paprika (7 cals)
½ tsp chipotle powder (7 cals)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp walnut oil (27 cals)
1 bay leaf
1 x 400g (14oz) can butter (lima) beans in water (or mixed beans) (220 cals)
1 heaped tsp (10g / 1/3oz) butter (37 cals)
1 large or 2 small skinless chicken breasts (approx 200g (7oz) total), cut into cubes (212 cals)
• Add the shallots, carrot, red pepper and celery to the pan, stir, replace the lid and cook gently for 5-8 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, chopped tomatoes, red wine, water, thyme, malt extract, chilli powder, smoked paprika, chipotle, salt, walnut oil and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer and cook with the lid ajar for about 30 minutes. Add the butterbeans/mixed beans and heat gently.
• Heat the butter in a frying pan (skillet). When the butter has melted, add the chicken and fry for approx. 2 minutes each side until golden brown but not cooked through. Add the chicken to the cassoulet. Bring to simmering point again and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the chicken is just cooked and tender. Remove the bay leaf before serving.
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