13 July 2015

Citrus & spice chicken

I've been going through a whole heap of old paperwork recently - which included my many and various files and folders chock-a-block full of collected recipes.  In doing so, I have re-discovered several favourites from pre-Rhubarb & Ginger times, one of which being this citrus & spice chicken.

The recipe has developed over the years (as recipes are wont to do) but I note from the paper recipe in my folder, that the original was adapted from the Good Food Magazine's "40 Best Chicken Recipes" booklet.  Well, it's been adapted yet again - and very much for the better.  The very first recipe was basically a traybake, my first version added several ingredients such as the honey and chilli powder.  This last incarnation has separated out the vegetables to be cooked on the hob instead of in the oven, which I much prefer.

Marinate, my little lovelies!
Oven cooking the vegetables inevitably led to burned ends and undercooked middles, as the sheer quantity of meat and vegetables in the tray didn't really allow for even cooking.  Plus, it is nice to have a small degree of char on the chicken, but not so nice on the peppers and mushrooms.

This way, the chicken has plenty of air space around each piece and the cooking is much more even - particularly if you place the larger pieces to the outside and the smaller pieces to the inside of the tray.  The surface attains nice little charred corners, while the chicken itself stays moist and delicious.

Cooking the vegetables in a frying pan enables much more degree of control.  Inevitably the leftover marinade isn't enough moisture to see them through the entirety of the cook, but adding a little water from time to time not only allows the vegetables to steam, but also keeps the marinade saucy.  This way, you have the relatively dry chicken, accompanied by the saucy vegetables - which provides a lovely balance and completely without burned ends.

Ready for the oven - Bacofoil's non-stick aluminium foil is great for this!
Another huge positive to this recipe - apart from the flavour which is really tasty - is its speed.  Provided you get the chicken on to marinade in advance, it is a really simple task to prepare a couple of salad veggies, cook some rice, put the chicken in the oven and pan cook the vegetables.  From taking the marinating chicken out of the fridge to dishing up, probably only took around 45 minutes in total.  I love that - especially when there's such a pay-off by way of flavour.

So what's the flavour like?  The chicken flavour is there, no one flavour overrules it and because the curry past is used fairly sparingly and is very much tempered by the use of the yoghurt, it doesn't take precedence.  The honey gives a quiet sweetness and the garlic helps to savoury it all up nicely.  In fact, don't tell anyone, but if you add the yoghurt, then the lemon juice, then the honey, stir it all together and have a taste - mmmmn, it would make a smashing dessert!

Once the curry paste, oil and garlic are added though, I wouldn't recommend tipping it on top of your strawberries.  The oven adds the last element of flavour to the chicken, in the small degree of charring as the tops of the chicken pieces catch in the oven.  It all amounts to an absolutely scrumptious whole.

Now, as for Cook's Tips, I don't have many but there are a few worth mentioning.

The recipe calls for the juice of half a lemon.  If, however, you don't have a lemon but do have a lime - then no worries, use that instead!  You will need the whole lime's juice and the flavour will be slightly different, but no less nice.  I have used both in the past and can't decide which one I like the best.

Where the chilli powder is concerned, feel free to add as little or as much as you like.  However, if you're new to chilli powder and curry spice, I'd suggest you err on the side of caution to begin with - you can always add a little bit more the next time.

You can certainly freewheel a bit where the accompaniments are concerned.  I think the chicken and vegetables would be lovely served in a soft Indian flatbread with some salad alongside.  On this occasion, I served the chicken with some basmati rice that I had cooked in chicken stock and turmeric, along with the cooling influence of avocado and cucumber.  For my son, who isn't keen on avocado, I served a sliced juicy tomato and cucumber.  The chicken is certainly flexible enough in flavour profile, that there are a whole host of accompaniments you could serve with it.

Calories are in the range of 398 per portion, it is low in sodium and high in Vitamins B6 and C, so it could be worse!

I am so happy to have rediscovered this recipe.  I think it is going to appear fairly regularly on the menu plan and I recommend it to you.  Without the chilli powder, it would be great for children, too.



For the marinade :

150ml natural yoghurt (I used Greek yoghurt)
juice of half a lemon
1 tsp runny honey
1 tbsp vegetable oil (I used sunflower)
2 generous tsp curry paste or powder
1 garlic clove, crushed
chilli powder to taste (I used 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder).

Other ingredients :

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts cut into large chunks
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into large slices
half a green pepper, deseeded and cut into large slices
1 onion cut into large slices
6 medium chestnut mushrooms , quartered
1 tbsp olive oil.

Method :

1.  Mix together the marinade ingredients in a bowl.

2.  Add chicken chunks to the marinade, stir to coat and set aside to marinate for as long as you've got - from 4 hours to 30 minutes.

3.  Pre-heat your oven to 180degC/350degF/Gas 4.

4.  Place the chicken chunks onto a baking tray, taking care to leave as much of the marinade in the bowl, but without scraping any off the chicken.

5.  Bake the chicken for 30 minutes, remembering to turn the tray half way through to ensure even colouring.

6.  Add the vegetables to the bowl and stir to coat them in the marinade.

7.  Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and add the vegetables, marinade and 200ml water.  Cook, covered, on a medium heat until the peppers are softened and onions are cooked through.  You may need to add more water, but only a little at a time.

8.  Once the vegetables are cooked, remove the lid and allow the sauce to reduce and thicken, which will only take 2-3 minutes if you haven't added too much water.

9.  The chicken is ready once the chunks are cooked through and they have gained a little bit of charred colour.

Serve with steamed basmati rice, avocado and cucumber.

Printable version


  1. looks good, sounds good and citrus with chicken - what could go wrong, but i some times like a bit of char on some vegetables, especially broccoli.

    1. True enough! Char on veggies can be great - but not charred at either end and raw in the middle - which tended to happen when cooking this as a traybake. That's not good at all. :(


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