Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Slow cooked South African nectarine and lemon chicken

Jasmine often asks to help with dinner.

She doesn't mind what we're making.

She loves food and she enjoys the preparation; indeed the whole cooking process.

She is my egg-cracker and tomato-chopper; my cheese-grater, my pepper-popper.

Unfortunately, I don't have many photographs of her helping out because I like to share in her joy and enthusiam rather than fretting about capturing the exact moment that the egg leaves the shell, for example.

We talk about the food, the flavours, the different utensils needed to construct a meal.

Cooking together is a lovely bonding experience and, as slow-cooking can be more like assembly than cookery, we are favouring this method currently.

I find it far more accessible to a four year old and I think I'm correct in my assumption that Jasmine feels more involved.

Something that Jasmine particularly likes to do during our time in the kitchen is identifying our chosen ingredients, by sight or smell.

Today, she picked up a nectarine and said, "This smells like a peach."

I told her what it was.

"Nectarine," she rolled the word around her mouth.  "Like bees like nectarines?"

I had to confess that I didn't know.

Undeterred, we continued. 

Jasmine watched me fry chicken thighs in butter, chop onion and peel garlic.

We used tongs to place the four thighs at the bottom of the slow cooker, then added 500ml chicken stock.

Next, we added one diced onion, five cloves of garlic, and 1tsp each of coriander, cumin, turmeric and chilli powder to a mixing bowl and blitzed it all with a hand blender until combined.

Jasmine added the mixture to the slow cooker before turning her attention to lemons.

She collected the zest of two lemons within a grater and then squeezed their juice into a jug.

The juice went into the slow cooker whilst the zest was set aside for later.

Finally, we quartered two South African nectarines and lay them atop the chicken thighs.

At this point, it would be nice to add some sliced vegetable to the pot - carrots, leeks, parnsips, etc.

We left the slow cooker on high for five hours before switching to the lower setting.

An hour before we wanted to eat, we par-boiled potatoes and tossed them in a homemade marinade consisting of butter, cinnamon, garam masala, black pepper and the lemon zest before roasting for 40 minutes.

Et voila.

An interesting yet straightforward dish that can be tweaked to include all manner of different fruits, vegetables and spices.

Happy slow cooking!

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