Meals for many: Lemongrass and curry-flavoured chicken on roasted fennel, onions, shallots and garlic
If there’s one thing I love more than spending my weekends cooking, it’s spending my weekends cooking for friends. I get an obscene, almost indecent, amount of pleasure from it, and nothing pleases me more than having my closest friends around the table laughing, talking, drinking and eating together. Naturally, I use them as guinea pigs to try my recipes out on but I’ve realised that it’s a bit of a silly thing to do because they would probably say they loved my food even if I was serving them cardboard.
I’ve learnt the hard way that when cooking for friends, it’s best to find recipes that one can 1) prepare in advance; and 2) bung into the oven – so that one can spend as little time in the kitchen as possible. While my friends love that we always try to serve tasty food, they love our company more.
I created this dish last Sunday when our friends came over. It’s so easy to make and perfect for when you’re cooking for lots of people. It’s even something I think my husband’s family would eat (not all of them can handle the amount of spice my husband and I can) because this roasted lemongrass and curry-flavoured baked chicken is full of spice and flavour but ‘heat’ free – another important factor since my friend’s children can’t handle spicy food yet either.
Kris over at Kris Cooks inspired me to use lemongrass as they’ve just used it in a grilled chicken recipe. I’ve made a completely different dish but I love being inspired by other blogs as they remind me of different ingredients I should try and use more of – thanks Kris!
Sunday lunch menu
I thought I’d list our Sunday lunch menu for you plus I also thought you might find it easy knowing the schedule for cooking as this whole meal (not counting the pre-preparation involved) takes no more than an hour.
Starter (made 30 minutes before my friends arrived) – my lime and ponzu salmon carpaccio (I posted the recipe a few week’s ago so I didn’t take any new photos – just imagine a plate 5 times the size as i made a massive sharing platter this weekend :))
Main (marinated the chicken the night before) – Lemongrass and curry-flavoured chicken, roasted on a bed of onions, shallots, fennel and garlic. I served this with some cardamom-coconut rice, and roasted vegetables.
Dessert (made the day before) – Flour less chocolate cake with fresh raspberries and strawberries (with or without a drenching of double cream). I’ll be posting this recipe on Thursday)
1.00pm: Started pre-heating my oven to 200 degrees (celsius)
1.10pm: Popped chicken into the oven (foil on) to bake for 20 minutes
1.30pm: Turned oven down to 180 degrees (celsius) Removed silver foil from chicken, and also put vegetables into the oven to roast. Also set my rice cooker going to cook the cardamom-coconut rice.
1.45pm: Basted chicken and turned chicken over. Gave the roast vegetables a stir. Returned both to the oven
2.00pm: Basted the chicken again and gave the vegetables another stir, returned both to the oven again.
2.10pm: Removed both the chicken and roasted veg. While these were resting, I dished up my cardamom-coconut rice and then simply grabbed the chicken and roasted veg and started serving. Easy.
Pre-preparation makes everything easy peasy
90% of this three course meal was prepared in advance and, I kid you not, I spent no more than 10 minutes in the kitchen throughout the cooking and serving process on the day, leaving me with the maximum amount of time to spend with my friends.
Lots of love
Lemongrass and curry-flavoured chicken, roasted on a bed of onions, shallots, fennel and garlic (serves 8)
8 whole chicken legs
7-8 tablespoons of curry powder (mine is quite a mild yellow curry powder)
5-6 tablespoons of ginger powder
1 generous tablespoon of minced lemongrass
2 red onions, peeled and cut into thick slices or quartered
5-6 large shallots, peeled and cut into thick slices
1 large fennel, cut into thick slices
1 whole clove of garlic, unpeeled but broken into their individual segments
Salt & pepper for seasoning
Place your chicken legs on a roasting tray. Season your chicken legs all over with salt and pepper. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil and then sprinkle the minced lemongrass, curry power and ginger powder over the legs and rub the oil and spices into your chicken legs thoroughly. Use silver foil to cover your chicken and allow it to marinade in your fridge or in a cold place overnight.
The next day, preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Meantime, lift off the silver foil (don’t discard it as you’ll use it again) and place your chicken pieces on a plate. Take all of your cut onions, shallots, garlic and fennel and mix them together with your remaining 1-2 tablespoons of oil. Season with salt and pepper and then place your chicken legs skin-side down on top of the vegetables. Cover and seal your roasting tray with the silver foil again and bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Then turn your oven down to 180 degrees, discard the silver foil, give the tray a bit of shake (no need to stir the vegetables) and return the chicken uncovered to the oven for 15 minutes.
Turn the chicken over skin-side up, give the tray another shake (you’ll find the fennel and onions start to release their juices and mix with the marinade to create a lovely smelling sauce. Return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes.
Allow the chicken to rest and transfer your chicken legs to a large dish or bowl. Make sure you pour all the lovely juices, garlic, fennel, onions and shallots all over your chicken before you serve it – that lovely sauce tastes fantastic poured over the cardamom-coconut rice.