13 October 2013

Tonight's Dinner : Marsala chicken with leeks, plus Rhubarb and plum sundaes!

It's been a funny old day today.  The weather has been chilly and wet, so not a day to do very much.

I was contemplating the menu plan for next week with hubby which inevitably involves taking a mental roundup of what vegetables we have left in the fridge.  I mentioned that I had quite a few plums that needed using up in some way and before I knew it, I was in the kitchen making a plum and rhubarb (which two sticks of rhubarb from the garden) compote for dessert!

That then progressed to slicing the kernels from one of the ears of corn in the fridge, to put into my small saucepan with just enough water for an Ainsley Harriott Cup a Soup - Wild Mushroom, in this case.  Once the kernels were cooked, just stir in the cupasoup mix, decant into a bowl and off you go for lunch.

Over lunch I got to thinking about this evening's dinner which was supposed to be a braised chicken dish.  However, it sounded fairly unremarkable upon second thoughts and I began pondering on how I could make it less "brown" and more interesting.

Inevitably, whenever I'm thinking about what to add to a meat dish to create flavour, my mind travels to the wine rack.  In this case, it settled upon the bottle of Marsala wine which I hadn't used in quite a while.  Marsala goes so well with chicken - and I'd used it in the past with my Velvety Marsala Chicken, with great success.  I didn't have any cream, so it would need to be a non-creamy version.  However, I did have a leek - and chicken and leek is just one of those classic combinations.  So, chicken, leek, Marsala wine ... add a few mushrooms for depth of flavour and we're sorted.  Lovely!

Lovely was indeed what it turned out to be.  I browned (or should that be "goldened"?) the chicken in the frying pan, then cooked the shallots, garlic, mushrooms and leek in the leftover butter/groundnut oil.  Then I deglazed the pan with the Marsala, added some chicken stock, parsley, freshly ground black pepper and a couple of teaspoonful of Bisto's Best Chicken gravy granules to thicken and add flavour.  Decant the whole lot into a casserole dish and cook, uncovered, in the Beastie combi oven at 200degC for 50 minutes with a pause half way through to give it all a stir.

Served with buttery mashed potato, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, swede and Brussels sprouts, it was a perfect Sunday dinner.

Hubby then disappeared into the kitchen to create his new masterpiece, the rhubarb & plum sundae.  Take a sundae dish and spoon in some home made (and cooled) rhubarb & plum compote.  Crumble in some broken (well, I knew they'd come in handy for something) meringue nests, add a large dollop of Cornish ice cream, more compote, broken chocolate digestive biscuit, more compote and a swirl of whipped cream - and the crowning glory of a cherry on the top.

As a spur of the moment, made up on the spot, Sundae (Sunday!) dessert, it was a triumph.  Not one ingredient was bought in specifically for it, they were all either growing in the garden or surplus to requirements in the fridge or cupboard.  Now THAT is the kind of thing that makes me proud.

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