Chives, chowder and chicken — a tasty trio of winter winners.
Chives are the most delicate member of the onion family and have been enjoyed for at least 5000 years. They can be used in just about any recipe which requires a smidgeon of raw onion for flavouring. Best of all they are home garden naturals.
Chives marry well with cream and cottage cheeses, scrambled eggs and omelettes. They’re convenient garnishes and — together with finely chopped parsley, tarragon and chervil —are ‘fines herbes’, a mainstay of French cooking.
Chowder is one of the heartiest of soups — a great winter lunch or dinner. The word chowder is a corruption of the French chaudière (cauldron), and this soup/stew may have originated among Breton fishermen who migrated to Canada taking the custom to Newfoundland where it’s popularity quickly spread. Although originally a seafood speciality, today it may contain meat and is often thickened with potatoes and corn.
Extraordinarily, in 2018 New Zealanders enjoyed over 43 kilograms of chicken per capita. And consumption is growing. Chicken is quick to cook, highly nutritious and versatile. In a stir-fry, curry, Mexican chilli, Moroccan casserole or French roast — chicken is a winning choice.
The chives provide a whiff of onion flavour to this tempting light meal. Serve with a green salad.
500g potatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup shredded tasty cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
3 tablespoons finely chopped chives
3 eggs, separated
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly butter a 1.5 litre soufflé dish.
Boil or steam the potatoes until tender. Mash well. Add the sour cream, cheese, salt, mustard and chives. Mix well.
Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Beat the egg yolks, until smooth. Stir into the hot potato mixture. Fold in the egg whites. Pour into the prepared soufflé dish.
Bake for about 35-40 minutes. Serve immediately. Garnish with extra chives, if desired. Serves 4.
CRISPY RANCH CHICKEN
I served this with a mash prepared from 1/4 medium cauli, (chopped and cooked), a 1/4 cup each of chopped parsley and grated tasty cheese and 1 tablespoon of butter.
4 large skinned and boned chicken thighs,
1/2 cup ranch dressing
4 cups corn chips (1 1/2 cups crushed)
Halve the chicken thighs and place in a shallow dish. Pour the dressing over the chicken and move around to coat evenly.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Lightly oil a roasting pan.
Crush the corn chips until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs. Place on a plate.
Dip the thighs into the chips to coat evenly. Place in a single layer in the roasting pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden and cooked. Serves 4.
Hearty cheer for lunch or dinner.
1 each: medium onion, carrot, celery stalk (no leaves), diced
White Sauce: 25g butter, softened
1/4 cup plain flour
1 cup cream
2 cups milk
1/2 cup water
Fish combo: 250g smoked mussels, finely diced or minced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon diced chilli
1 medium-large potato, peeled, diced and steamed until just tender
1 cup whole kernel corn
250g skinned and boned fish, cubed
1 tablespoon each: oyster sauce, fish sauce
extra milk, optional
Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onion, carrot and celery. Cook on low until the vegetables are softened.
Combine the 25g of butter and the flour. Stir into the vegetables gradually and cook on low for 1 minute.
Combine the cream, milk and water and warm through in the microwave. Stir into the saucepan mixture, then add the diced mussels, garlic, chilli, potatoes and corn. Cook on low for 30 minutes, stirring often.
Add the fish, oyster and fish sauces and extra milk if too thick. Simmer gently until cooked. Serves 4-5.