All recipes serve six.
The soul of so much cooking and, in the great scheme of things, remarkably swift to prepare.
1 top-quality chicken
3 sticks celery
1 sprig thyme
Truss the chicken, then place in a roomy pot. Peel the onions and cut into four pieces. Scrape the carrots, rinse the leeks and wash the celery, and add these to the pot whole or broken in two. Drop in the herbs and spices, put the pot on the stove and fill to just below the brim with cold water. Over a medium flame, heat until the surface of the liquid is broken by the occasional bubble, then bring down to the quietest simmer and skim off any foamy matter that floats to the top. Leave undisturbed for an hour, excepting the odd glance to ensure that the surface is broken only by the gentlest movement.
After an hour, skim again, turn off the heat, and set aside. When the meat is cool enough to handle, remove the bird from the stock and cover with a damp cloth. Pour the stock through a fine sieve, after which it will sit happily in the fridge for a couple of days.
A once and future classic that has graced many a fine do, although none of them to compare with the event for which it was created: the coronation of HM.
1 large top-quality chicken
1 tbsp oil
1 small onion
1 dssp curry powder
1 heaped tsp tomato purée
100ml red wine
75ml cold water
A fully-charged pepper mill
18 dried apricots
450ml home-made mayonnaise (or from a jar, if you really have to)
4 tbsp double cream
Cook the chicken as in the recipe for making chicken stock. Leave the bird to cool in the stock once done. Put the apricots into a small pan, cover them with water, leave to soak for half-an-hour then set the pan on a high heat, bring to the boil and simmer until all the liquid has evaporated. Liquidise the apricots.
Peel and finely chop the onion, and fry gently in the oil until soft. Add the curry powder and fry gently for a few minutes more, then add the tomato purée and fry for another minute or two. Pour in the water and wine, then drop in the bayleaf, bring the pan to a simmer and season with salt, a little sugar and some pepper. Squeeze the juice from the lemon half, and add this to the pot, too. Simmer for another 10 minutes, then strain the sauce through a fine sieve and leave to cool. Whip the double cream until it is just thickened, then fold it into the mayonnaise, along with the apricot purée.
Strip the skin from the cooked chicken, and remove all the flesh from the bone, taking care to leave all the fiddly little bones and gristle behind (on no account forget the oysters under the wings, or any of the other choice morsels that sit close to the bone). Cut the meat into largish pieces, and mix with the sauce. Originally, this was served with a rice salad, but I prefer a salad of green beans, toasted almonds and a few green leaves.
The best recipe I know for a dish that is just memorably munchable.
For the marinade
8 cloves garlic
tsp freshly-ground black pepper
- tsp cayenne (the amount depends on your heat threshold)
1 tsp sweet pimenton (or paprika)
2 chickens, or 9 legs, or 18 thighs (the thighs are the best)
For the coating
200g plain flour
2 tsp salt
2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
2 tsp cayenne
Peanut oil (or vegetable oil)
Prepare the marinade: crush the garlic, and mix it with the milk, salt and peppers. Cut the chickens (if using whole ones) into eight pieces each - remember that meat always tastes and cooks best when left on the bone. Coat the chicken in the marinade and leave to sit, covered, in the fridge overnight.
Lay the chicken on a rack to drain for 15 minutes or so. Mix the flour with the salt and spices, and cover the bottom of a tray with it. Coat the chicken with the flour, shake off any excess, then toss in the flour again, to ensure that it is well-coated. Place again on a rack and leave in a cool spot for an hour or so - they will become messy to handle, but it's worth it.
Deep-frying is the obvious option here (just follow the manufacturer's instructions), or fry gently in a heavy-bottomed frying pan and finish off in the oven once the pieces have turned golden brown and are well crusted. Cook until the juices run clear, but be careful not to over-cook them (15-20 minutes' gentle frying is adequate for a chicken thigh). Serve with chips, a mayonnaise made spiky with lemon juice and some crisp lettuce
Jeremy Lee is chef at Blue Print Cafe, London SE1.