After some discussions with fellow food bloggers, Sarah and Duncan, I settled on the menu for the dinner party. I decided to attempt some recipes from my Movida cookbook, the only savoury cookbook I own. Note to self, never attempt recipes for the first time to dinner guests.
From left, Duncan, Sandra, Sarah, Jo and Kin.
Kin brought over some freshly shucked oysters for entree. Seeing as three of six people didn't eat oysters, that left double as much for the rest of us oyster fiends, score! I like my oysters with just lemon and tobasco when I don't have time to make a proper sauce.
Mains was the Pyrenese Chicken from the Movida Cookbook. It sounded easy when I read the ingredients, but I didn't read through to the end of the recipe of I would have seen how many hours of chopping and cooking it involved. Unlike a cooking show where I have assistants to chop everything and pre cook the sauce for me, this meant a very labourious afternoon. Having cursed my way through all the chopping the two hours of cooking the sauce, the final result was amazing and I would make it again. The chicken was moist and the flavours of the vegetable and paprika really shone through. The crusty bits at the top of the baking pan were delicious.
I made some roasted potatoes (they were seriously good, you gotta rough them up after boiling them) and a salad of spinach, fetta, pine nuts and a balsamic vinaigrette.
Here's the plated dish, not too bad if I say so myself.
Dessert was the Movida Chocolate Pudding. It is seriously rich, utilising a stack of chocolate for only a few serves. I overcooked them a bit and the centre wasn't as molten as I wanted, but still decadently delicious.
Pyrenese Chicken with Paprika, Tomato and Capsicum
1.6 kg chicken cut into pieces (I used whole chicken thighs)
2 tbsp thyme leaves, roughly chopped
fine sea salt
185 ml olive oil
2 brown onions, finely diced
4 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 red capsicums, seeded, membrane removed and finely diced
6 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped (should have just used canned to make it all faster as Duncan suggested)
500 ml dry white wine (I used a Sauvignon Blanc)
3 tbsp Spanish sweet paprika
1) Season chicken with thyme, few pinches of sea salt, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready.
2) To make chilindron sauce, heat 60 ml of olive oil over medium high heat. Sautee onions, bay leaves and garlic for about 5 minutes until onion is soft. Reduce to low medium heat.
3) Add capsicum, cover and cook for 40 minutes stirring occasionally until capsicum is soft. Add tomato, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4) Add the white wine and cook for 10 minutes. Add about 1 litre of hot water and increase to high heat. Once water is boiling, reduce to low heat, add paprika and cook sauce gently for 30 minutes. The mixture should still be quite liquid.
5) Meanwhile, preheat oven to 200 deg C.
6) Heat remaining olive oil in large heavy saucepan over high heat. Add some chicken pieces and brown skin. Add pinch of salt. After 4 minutes, turn over and salt other side. Cook for further 4 minutes. Brown all chicken pieces.
7) Put chicken in large roasting pan, leaving a bit of space between pieces. Cover chicken with chilindron sauce to come just to the top of the chicken.
8) Gently bake in oven for 1 - 1.5 hours. As it cooks, the sauce will evaporate, creating a dark crusty top on the chicken. The chicken is ready when the thigh flesh comes away easily from the bone.
Hot Ganache Chocolate Pudding
unsalted butter, softened, to brush
plain flour, to dust
350 g dark couverture chocolate
4 eggs, room temperature
125 ml pouring (12-15%) cream
50 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1 cm cubes
1) Using a pastry brush, grease six 125 ml ramekins with butter and lightly dust with flour. Refrigerate until ready to use.
2) Melt chocolate over double boiler.
3) While chocolate is melting, whisk eggs gently. Bring cream to the boil over medium heat. Once boiled, remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
4) When chocolate has melted, add several tablespoons to eat and gently mix. Slowly add remaining chocolate. Add the cream and gently whisk. Add the unsalted butter and mix until all melted.
5) Cover mixture with cling film and let refrigerate for 1 hour, or until soft fudge consistency.
6) Spoon into chilled ramekins, filling almost to top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
7) Preheat oven to 200 deg C.
8) Bake ramekins on tray for 15 minutes. When done the edges will be cracked and the centre of the top will be just soft and domed shaped, and just unset.
9) Remove from oven and let cool for 3 minutes. Turn out of ramekins and serve with ice cream.