Donal Skehan

Simple Sushi Dinner Party!

I was scrolling through my photos the other day and realised that I had never posted this piece about sushi I wrote the Irish Independent last year.  There are some really nice little sushi recipes, which even if you’ve never tried making it yourself, make it seem all a little more manageable…

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Roast Chicken with Lemon and Oregano

Roast chicken really is one of the dishes I cook the most, so I am always looking for ways to mix it up. My favourite way to roast a chicken is to smother it in a garlic and herb paste, but this method comes a very close second, and makes a nice change. The beautiful thing about roast chicken is that it has so many uses. With some added extras like crunchy roast potatoes and some steamed veggies it will feed a crowd of 4-6 people, but on top of that it’s what you can do with the leftovers, that gets me excited! Chicken noodle soup, Leftover chicken stir fry, Chicken and sweetcorn soup, the possibilities are endless! Whatever you do with yours, this recipe makes a beautifully cooked chicken which is left with delicious subtle citrus flavour. The general rule when it comes to roasting chicken is to cook 20 minutes per pound and then 20 minutes extra.

Serves 4-6
1 chicken about 1kg in weight
3 onions, halved
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 lemon, halved
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
A generous seasoning of sea salt and ground black pepper

For the gravy:
1 teaspoon of vegetable bouillon powder
1 glass of white wine
1 tablespoon of plain flour

Preheat the oven to 200oC and place the chicken and red onion halves in a roasting tin. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and give it a good squeeze of lemon juice. Slice the top of the garlic bulb and push inside the chicken along with the lemon halves. Sprinkle with the dried oregano, sea salt and ground black pepper. Place in the oven for around 50 minutes or until the juices run clear and the chicken is cooked all the way through.

Transfer the chicken and onions to a chopping board with grooves that will allow the juices to run off without loosing any.  Cover with tinfoil and allow to sit while you prepare the gravy. You could scrape the contents of the pan into a small saucepan, and add the wine if you want but I find it just as easy to plop the roasting tin on top of the hob, whack up the heat and add in the white wine.

Whisk the white wine into all the encrusted bits and juices in the pan, it should help to loosen everything up.  Whisk in the vegetable bouillon powder and then a little boiling water (about another wine glass full) until you have a consistency you are happy with. If you want a thicker gravy, whisk 1 tablespoon of flour into the gravy.  Simmer until it reaches your desired thickness and pour into a small jug or gravy boat.

To carve the chicken, I find the easiest way is to start with the legs, cutting each off, by inserting a knife in where the leg meets the breast and jiggling your knife around until you can cut all the way through.  Using a similar technique remove the wings.  I like to slice the breasts off in one foul swoop, so starting at the top of the bird in the middle, slice the breasts off on either side.  You can then slice the breasts into smaller pieces, so that everyone gets a bit of white meat too!  If you want to get every last bit of meat off the chicken at this point I recommend you get your hands involved and pick any remaining breasts meat off along the little bits of meat along the back.

I pop the carcass into a resealable bag and then into the freezer, and when I have 3 or 4 (and am feeling weird about having carcasses in my freezer), I make a big batch of chicken stock!

Serve the chicken with gravy, roast potatoes, some steamed veggies or even my latest obsession creamy roasted jerusalem artichokes.

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Asian Chicken Salad with Chilli, Ginger and Lime Dressing

Packed with tasty ingredients, this recipe is perfect for entertaining. You can prepare all the ingredients separately, stick them in the fridge and assemble the salad when your guests arrive. Don’t be afraid to add other vegetables here, peppers, cucumber, spring onions and bean sprouts are all tasty additions.

Serves 4

2 tablespoon of soy sauce
Juice of lime
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
red chilli, finely chopped
thumb sized piece of ginger minced

3 tablespoons of sunflower oil
1 tablespoon of soy sauce
1 tablespoon of smooth peanut butter
Juice of lime
2 teaspoons of honey
1 teaspoon of sesame oil
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
red chilli, finely chopped
thumb sized piece of ginger minced

4 chicken breasts, sliced thinly into strips
1 Chinese cabbage, slice thinly
3 carrots, sliced thinly
1 red onion, sliced thinly
100g of sugar snap peas, sliced thinly
100g of chopped peanuts to serve
A handful of chopped coriander to serve

Add the chicken strips to a mixing bowl with the marinade ingredients and mix through.  Cover and place in the fridge while you prepare the salad and dressing.

In a small bowl add all the ingredients for the dressing and whisk to combine.

Place the Chinese cabbage, carrots, red onion, and sugar snap peas in a large salad bowl.  Add half the dressing and combine until all the vegetables are well coated.

Fry the chicken strips until golden brown and cooked through. Approximately 2 minutes either side.

Serve the salad in individual bowls topped with the chicken, a sprinkling of chopped peanuts, a little chopped coriander and a extra drizzle of the dressing.

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Bulgarwheat Chicken Rocket and Parsley Salad

This sort of recipe is perfect for entertaining, it can easily be made the night before and stored in the fridge.

Serves 4-6 people
200g bulgar wheat
1 teaspoon of vegetable bouillon powder
3 chicken breasts
A large handful of parsley, roughly chopped
A large handful of rocket, roughly chopped
400g tin of chickpeas, drained and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
A good pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper

Place the bulgar wheat in a large bowl and cover with boiling water.  Stir through the vegetable bouillon powder, cover with cloth or a cling film and allow to sit for about 30 minutes or until all the water is soaked up.

Brush the chicken breasts with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Heat a griddle pan over a high heat and just before it begins smoking add the chicken breasts. Reduce the heat slightly and cook on both sides for approximately 6-7 minutes either side depending on the size of the chicken breasts.  Remove the chicken from the pan and roughly chop into bitesize pieces.

Add the chicken, parsley and rocket to the bulgar wheat and stir through to combine. Season with a good pinch of sea salt and ground black pepper and stir through the remaining olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy!

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