AJ’s Lazy Lavender Organic Chicken
I love the idea of taking a classic dish, like southern fried chicken, and making a more sophisticated, healthy, gluten free version, which is so utterly melt in the mouth delicious, you will want to feast on this every Sunday, or maybe on a Saturday movie night.
A Dash of Healthy Reinvention and Imagination
I like to reinvent good food, that doesn’t take hours of preparation. This dish takes less than ten minutes to prepare and go straight into the oven. I want dinner to be cooking, whilst relaxing over a great film or the anticipation of dining al fresco in the park or under a starlit sky.
My Arabian chicken is divinely, aroma-pleasing-yummy! The clever, transformative ingredients are the almonds (instead of flour) and the wonderful rub with intensely pleasing notes of lavender and rose.
Don’t stint on the quality of the chicken. Organic chicken thighs or legs are better value than breast meat, and just as tasty. It is absolutely crucial to buy the best meat you can afford, ideally from an organic farm like Graig Farm, who are so friendly, and offer a mail-order service throughout the UK. Their meat is out of this world for flavour, texture, provenance and juicy, plump meat. Plus the amount of meat you get on an organic bird bears no relation to its sad, supermarket cousin.
Lazy Lavender Chicken would make the perfect summer picnic food, with no fuss. Let me transport you to the spice markets of Casablanca and Fez…
As you can see I enjoyed my Casablanca chicken with a glass of Gusto Cola. Aged about 10 and three quarters, I was on a school trip to Mapledurham House, when a teacher offered me a can of the most hyped and overrated drink on the planet, which made my nose fizz, and left me feeling sick. Lucky me, I have avoided commercial fizzy drinks ever since! I’ve just been patiently waiting for an organic trailblazer to concoct something more authentic!
Step forward Craig Sams, an organic pioneer, who started WholeEarth, back in the groovy, counterculture sixties, and went on to found Green and Blacks Chocolate. His Gusto Cola partners very well indeed with aromatic chicken. It has all sorts of curious botanicals including: lovage, four leaf ladybell root, red peony root and panax ginseng. And no trace of the bad stuff, phosphoric acid. Buy it from www.ocado.com
For Two People
Four organic chicken thighs or legs; or a mixture of both (direct from organic farmer or farmer’s market, not from the supermarket).
Organic ground almonds – 100grams
Ras el Hanout – North African Spice Rub Powder – 3 teaspoons of the mix
1 organic egg
Extra virgin coconut oil for cooking and or unrefined golden organic rapeseed oil – I like Clearspring organic oil.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c (electric) Gas Mark 4
Weigh the ground almonds and then add to a clean glass-mixing bowl.
Add the Ras el Hanout spice mix and gently combine ingredients together with a wooden spoon.
In a separate bowl crack open one organic and egg and beat lightly.
Take each chicken piece, coat in the egg first and then dip in the spiced ground almond mix.
Lay the almond crusted chicken pieces in a shallow roasting tin or large oven proof-baking dish.
Dot with the coconut fat or drizzle with organic rapeseed and bake in a pre-heated oven for 50 – 55 minutes until chicken is completely cooked. (The flesh of the chicken should be moist, with no pink juices). Tip – make sure you baste the chicken two or three times with the juices, to ensure a lovely golden finish.
Remove chicken, allow to rest for ten to minutes and serve warm with a crisp Caesar salad of cos lettuce, golden parmesan flakes, chopped celery, apple and seasonal berries – I love raspberries with chicken! For a flourish, and to bring out the incredible flavour of the lavender and rose rub, garnish with sprigs of edible lavender and rose petals.
You can make a delicious dressing with really good farmer’s market artisan honey, rapeseed oil, lemon juice, mustard and apple cider vinegar – Aspall’s and Higher Nature do fantastic apple cider vinegar, which is a fantastic digestive aid.
Ingredients Shopping List
Graig Farm – www.graigfarm.co.uk
Organic Ground Almonds – – www.sainsburys.co.uk
Ras el Hanout – www.alfez.com
Extra Virgin Coconut Butter – www.naturalcollection.com
Organic Rapeseed Oil – www.clearspring.co.uk
Edible Rose Petals – www.fortnumandmason.com