If in doubt, buy chicken. This is my philosophy which, to be fair, I rarely have to put into practice. I quite honestly spend most of my days dreaming about exactly what I want to have for dinner, lovingly preparing a shopping list with little headings and the occasional random doodle however, every now and then I get one of those mad rushed off my feet kind of days which leave me feeling nothing but frazzled, thirsty for wine and out of ideas for Dinner.
Last week, I found myself in this very condition, pulling up to the supermarket clutching a worryingly bare shopping list and thinking of nothing but comfy slippers, wine and crap TV. So, true to form, I made a committed walk over to the fresh meat isle, grabbed some reasonable looking chicken breasts and got my short trip to the supermarket over and done with.
As soon as I got home and poured myself the highly anticipated glass of wine, I knew I was ready to decide on the fate of the chicken. I also had to take into consideration the nice big chunk of manchego which was in my fridge so, I fired up the iPad and got straight to work on Google. I was immediately intrigued by a recipe which, to be honest, I thought sounded kind of random. It was called ‘Red rice with spicy chicken’, as I read on I realised it was sourced from an episode of ‘Ready Steady Cook’, well, that cleared up the random part. Ready Steady Cook was the popular BBC show where contestants brought in a completely bizzare set of ingredients, peeled spuds and nattered away to the host while a professional Chef ran around like a headless chicken trying to cobble something together which vaguely resembled a coherent meal.
I actually loved everything about that show, I sat in the audience once, holding up a ‘Red Tomato’ card was one of the proudest moments of my life. Having said that, from the sound of this recipe, I was pretty unsure about it as it just seemed so basic and a bit odd but I had all the ingredients and I wanted something quick so I thought I would just bite the bullet and give it a go. The end result – the most wonderfully tasty, perfectly char-grilled chicken.
It was a shocker, I think this should be coined a miracle marinade -so few ingredients, such a small amount of time and so little effort but boom – it delivers the most impressive results! I served this with the suggested ‘red rice, manchego and yoghurt’ along with some fresh marrow however, I believe this lovely simple marinated chicken will go well with just about anything – salad, cous cous, pasta, chips, I could go on.
This really is a great little marinade, if you ever find yourself out of ideas for dinner, I urge you to make this your choice. So far, I have only ever tried it with chicken so please let me know if you give this a go with anything else such as white fish or any other white meat. Although, given that this tasted so good, I don’t think it will take me long to try out other variations!
Original recipe from BBC Food recipes, prepared by Lesley Waters
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ Tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tsp paprika
½ Tsp dried chilli flakes
½ Lemon juiced
2 Large chicken breasts
- Preheat your oven to 180°.
- Sprinkle the cayenne pepper, paprika, olive oil, lemon juice and chilli flakes into a large mixing bowl, use a fork to mix together.
- Add the chicken breasts, turning them in the spice mixture and making sure they are evenly coated. Cover with cling film and leave to marinate for 10 minutes.
- Heat an ovenproof griddle pan on a high heat until smoking. Rub off the excess marinade and chargrill the chicken breasts for two minutes on each side, until brown griddle marks appear. Transfer to the oven and cook until completely cooked through (about 10-12 minutes).
- Remove the chicken from the oven and serve. (Original recipe recommends slicing the chicken but I kept mine whole.)