Menu Makeover: Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner!

05 Oct 2012

In Menu Makeover Gourmet gets a pro chef to upgrade a basic dish into exciting new versions that’ll add some flair to your weekly dining

There’s always chicken in the fridge or freezer, whether it’s a full bird, breasts or legs, it’s often a go-to protein for weeknight dinners. Forget sticking it in the oven with basic seasoning or drying it out on the grill, the Luxury Collection’s Senior Executive Sous Chef Tom Egerton shows us how to make something special out of the whole bird or individual pieces, and even the bones!

Lemon and olive chicken breast en papillote 
Serves 2
2 chicken breasts
30g black olives, sliced
60g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 spring onions, chopped
10 caper berries, halved
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
A handful of parsley 1 lemon, quartered
10ml olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Green salad leaves, to serve

Remove the skin from the chicken and add the rest of the ingredients together in a bowl. Combine and place on some greaseproof paper.
Fold it in half and tightly fold the edges in to seal the bag, then place in an 180C oven for about 25 minutes.
To keep in all the flavours and juices, it’s best served in the bag. Accompany the chicken with boiled new potatoes and salad.

Top Tip
This way of cooking is called en papillote, which is French for in parchment. This method can also be used for cooking fish. It’s a great way to keep all the flavours locked into a dish.

Chicken, leek and tarragon soup
Serves 4
2 chicken legs
Bones of 1 chicken
2 leeks, chopped
20g butter
200ml cream
A small handful of tarragon
2 large slices of white bread
20ml olive oil
Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Remove the leg meat from the bones and remove any skin (set aside), sinew or gristle. Take the chicken bones and chop them up.
Place in a tray along with the skin and oven-roast at 180C until golden brown.
Place the bones and the leg meat in a litre of water and bring to the boil. Simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes.
At this point the leg meat should be cooked. Remove it and continue to simmer the stock with the bones for another hour.
Remove the bones and strain. This is your brown chicken stock.
In a pan, sweat off the chopped leeks in butter until tender, remove a handful to be used for garnish.
Add the cream to the stock and bring to the boil. Then Liquidise the soup and strain through a fine strainer.
Add the chopped tarragon and the flaked chicken meat. 
Slice the bread into strips and toast in a sandwich press.
Check the seasoning and serve with crispy croutons and sliced leeks.