Last Wednesday was a bit of a busy one for us, as we'd fixed to go over to my parents' place in Hampshire (just the next county - not a million miles away!) to collect their compost bin. As they are getting on in years, Mum (the gardener of the family) has decided that the sheer muscle power required to distribute said compost is just too much for her. She won't let my Dad do that job (quite rightly!) as he's waiting on heart surgery this year. So, they had a lovely big compost bin - complete with trapdoor at the bottom for ease of access, going spare.
We had to pick a day when son & heir was at school, as we weren't sure whether we could get the bin and the boy in the back of the car at the same time!
So, off we went - and were treated to some completely gorgeous home made soup for lunch. It was a bacon & celeriac soup which went down very well indeed - and I shall pick up the recipe for it next time we see them.
As a result of all this, I didn't want to be spending a lot of time thrashing around in the kitchen making dinner that night. I had chosen a recipe from www.mmmcafe.blogspot.com for Honey Sauced Chicken. Initially, I had thought I'd use the slow cooker (crockpot) method that she detailed - right up until I realised that our slow cooker was just way too big for the amount of sauce she was talking about using. I'm quite sure it would have shrivelled up and died, over the course of the day.
So then, I thought I'd go down the oven cooking route that she had detailed, right up until it occurred to me that you want the chicken to be completely covered in the sauce mixture, which should be thick and shiny - almost a glaze. I wasn't completely convinced that I could achieve that with it out of sight in the oven.
Which is why I went completely off piste with the recipe and cooked it on the hob - with tremendous results.
Cooked this way, it became one of my most favoured quick and easy "sit and put things in order into the pan, hey presto, dinner!" recipes. Well, except for the sacrilege (put your fingers into your ears people) of microwaving some frozen special fried rice to go with it. Oh, for goodness' sake! Surely you're not telling me that you don't use convenience foods like that from time to time? No? Oh well, I must just be a failure then. *chuckle*
I agree to some extent - and given another day when I hadn't been so busy during the day, I'd have cooked the special fried rice from scratch. Feel free to do so, by all means! However, on this day, I was jolly glad to just heat up some frozen versions.
Son & heir was incredibly suspicious about this recipe. He was convinced we'd already tried it - and he didn't like it - but I know that he's thinking of a stir fried recipe from quite a while ago, that contained vinegar. He seems pathologically averse to vinegar in all its guises, shapes and forms. In fact, the only vinegary thing that he does like - to my knowledge - is pickled onions and then only really nice ones. I thought that we should be okay with this recipe as it didn't contain vinegar (note the "didn't"). In fact, because of the rampant honey sweetness that was partly balanced by the saltiness of the soy sauce, yet had no sourness to help combat it, I included a little cider vinegar which helped no end. He declared the recipe "okay", by which I take him to mean "I ate it, wouldn't want it again tomorrow". Fair enough.
Both hubby and I absolutely loved this dish. I would quite happily have it again tomorrow, given the chance - and can see it becoming a good fall-back recipe for when son & heir is away on sleepover.
Next time, I think I'll include some kind of vegetable matter with it - maybe some steamed Bok Choi, or something along those lines. Something that makes it more of a complete meal, as I can't help but miss my vegetables!
HONEY SAUCED CHICKEN (feeds 3)
1 tbsp olive oil
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into thin slivers
sea salt & black pepper
quarter of a tsp of freshly ground black pepper
100ml of runny honey
50ml soy sauce
half a red onion, peeled and sliced
1 tbsp of tomato ketchup
1 tbsp of cider vinegar
1 clove of garlic, minced or grated
a quarter of a tsp red chilli flakes.
1. In a small bowl, combine the freshly ground black pepper, honey, soy sauce, tomato ketchup, cider vinegar, garlic and chilli flakes. Stir to ensure everything is evenly mixed.
2. Heat the oil in a wide bottomed frying pan, then add the onion. Cook on a gentle to medium heat until softened but not coloured.
3. Add the chicken. Sprinkle with black pepper and fry on a high heat until obviously browning - not just changing from pink to white. You will need to stir well, but also leave the chicken to sit and brown, then stir well again to prevent the onion from burning.
4. Once browned well, add the sauce and again stir to combine. Turn the heat down to medium and allow the sauce to simmer and bubble, reducing as it goes. Keep stirring the chicken to prevent it catching on the bottom of the pan.
5. Reduce the heat still further and allow the mixture to just chuckle gently in the pan until the sauce reaches a consistency that you are happy with. Once the chicken is cooked through and tender, you can put a cover over the pan and turn the heat off while you get the rice onto the plates.