Wednesday 24 November 2010, 19:15
The chicken dish that Jazzer cooked to impress Jackie tonight (24 Jan) is a real one. It was suggested by Archers listener Fiona Cowan after I appealed on Twitter for culinary suggstions. The recipe is below (I've cooked it. It's delicious)
But first, Fiona explains how she came by it, which involves a sister BBC blog to this one.
When I learned that The Archers needed a recipe for a beginner to impress with, I immediately thought of 'Fearless Fred's Fabulous Fowl'. Here's how I got the recipe, and why it has such an odd name...
Back in 2006, Radio 4 current affairs programme PM launched its very own blog, which presenter Eddie Mair named 'the blog'. It rapidly morphed into part-blog, part-forum, and some of its regular early visitors (including me, imaginatively named Fifi) decided to call it 'the frog' as this seemed more accurate. We soon started calling each other 'froggers' and a whole community, with its own crazy culture and endearing traditions, was born.
One of the first froggy pioneers was a chap called Charlie (who became Fearless Fred). Many PM fans are also Archers fans - so the crossover was not so much natural as inevitable. There are also froggers in France, Florida and ... Brazil (which doesn't begin with F but is very friendly!).
Even if you're not into current affairs but you have an offbeat sense of humour, the easiest place to start is The Beach. Look out for Fifi or Fearless Fred and don't be afraid to say hello...
Fearless Fred adapted this recipe (remember the recipe?) from Gary Rhodes ... and I can confirm that his bold claim that 'something so simple to make is far more impressive to guests than it ought to be' is completely true.
You do have to be brave right at the start, and let the skin go as black and crispy as you dare before you turn it to fry the other side. I knew this would offer the Archers writers dramatic potential! But it tastes as rich and complex as anything you might find in a top restaurant.
I urge everyone to try it - impress your friends!
Fearless Fred's fab fowl
2 chicken breasts with the skin still on
40ml Soy Sauce
1.5 level dessertspoons of flour
1.5 level dessertspoons of paprika
small knob of butter
How to cook it
Set the oven to about 210C (Gas 7).
Mix the flour and paprika together on a plate.
Cut the chicken breasts into two pieces each of about equal size/weight, and coat well with the flour & paprika mix.
Juice the two lemons, and mix with the soy sauce in a bowl.
In a saucepan, melt the butter with the olive oil, and get it hot.
Fry the chicken skin side down very fast until the skin is almost black.
Turn the chicken over and fry for a minute.
Put the chicken into an ovenproof dish, skin side up, and pour in the lemon/soy sauce mix. Add any of the remaining flour & paprika mix as well, and whisk it with a fork till all the dry mix is incorporated.
Put in the oven for 25 minutes.
The chicken is now ready. Put the chicken pieces on the plates to serve.
Pour the liquid through a sieve into a small saucepan, add a small bit of butter, and heat to thicken.
Lovely with boiled potatoes and green beans.
I put garlic in everything I can, so I include it in this. But you can't taste it. The sauce is so rich it overwhelms any flavour additions you might consider, including wine! I do however add sliced mushrooms at the saucepan stage, just for fun.
It is almost impossible to get this wrong for real. The sauce might come out too thick - just slosh some stock or wine or even hot water into it and whisk through over the heat.
The only real potential for drama is at the stage where you first fry the chicken. It fizzes and sizzles beautifully (especially for radio!) but if you're not expecting the skin to go black it can be a shock.
The temptation for the novice might be to remove the skin - don't! It really is the nicest bit. Just trust Fifi (or Fearless): turn the chicken over and cook the other side too. It won't go as black as the skin side. And by the time it all comes out of the oven, everything will be chocolate-brown and glossy and you will feel very smug indeed.
Keri Davies is an Archers scriptwriter and web producer.
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