I serve it with lots of buttery, garlicky fettucinie but would be nearly as good with rice (rice can never beat pasta... can it?)
PIQUANT CHICKEN WITH BASIL
2 tbsp sunflower oil
a good knob of butter
6 chicken thigh fillets, skin removed (Mary uses breast but thighs are MUCH better), cut into mouth-sized bits
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 fat cloves of garlic
2 tbsp cider or wine vinegar
1tbsp dry mustard powder
3tbsp light muscavado sugar
3-4 tbsp ketchup
3tbsp soy sauce
1-2 tbsp tomato puree
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
6 sprigs fresh basil
Pre-heat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas Mark 5. You will need an oven-proof dish for this. My mum uses one of those lovely round le creuset ones with a lid on which I am determined to buy in all sizes next time there is a whopper sale. At the moment I use an oval dish and I cover it with tin foil. The recipe doesn't mention covering but I have tried it both ways and it makes a big difference.
|Double quantity chicken thigh fillets|
1. Measure the oil and butter into a large non-stick frying pan and brown the chicken in two batches for 4-5 minutes on each side. Put in a shallow oven-proof dish and season.
|Double quantity browned chicken|
2. Lower the heat (and let the oil./butter cool down for five mins) and add the onion and garlic to the pan. Cover and cook over a gentle heat until the onion is tender, stirring occasionally, about 10 mins.
3. Add the remaining ingredients, except the basil, to the pan, season and pour over the chicken.
4. Cook (covered ideally!) in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes until the chicken is tender.
5. Scatter with fresh basil and serve.
If you are cooking ahead you can either cool quickly and freeze after stage 4 or cool and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Defrost for 6 hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge and then re-heat at 190C for 30-40 mins or until piping hot.