one pot marmalade, clementine and garlic chicken thighs with pear barley
… this weekend was the annual Belleau ‘friendsmas’ where a group of old friends get together the weekend before the weekend before Christmas and, well, essentially have Christmas. The full works. Enough food and alcohol to sink a very large ship and much hilarity had all round. The gang usually decent on a Friday which we refer to as pre-Christmas Eve and usually drink and eat and go to the local pub. Then on the Saturday – which we call pre-Christmas Day, we all wake up and do the whole present giving thing around the tree. A hearty breakfast is eaten and then we all pile into the car and visit our local garden centre which during the festive months they convert into Christmas World. It is quite incredible. Unbelievably tacky and brilliantly festive… plus of course there are dinosaurs – don’t ask. Then it’s back to the cottage for the full works. This year I roasted a leg of lamb – a rarity for me as I really don’t cook lamb very often even though I love it – and a large Norfolk free-range chicken. I was going to do the proper turkey thing but a little bell reminded me how much left-overs we had last year and how by the time real Christmas came I was pretty much over turkey, plus this chicken was so beautiful and juicy. I made my veggie cornish pasties for the two vegetarians and all the trimmings, plus some rocking crispy roast potatoes that were top-of-the-mouth-cuttingly-crunchy! We finished the day in traditional Christmas style with movies and board-games… oh and plenty of booze… well, it’s only Christmas twice a year!
one pot marmalade, clementine and garlic chicken thighs with pearly barley
well, it wouldn’t be a Belleau Kitchen Christmas without chicken thighs and one pot meals are exactly what we need at this time of the year when, at the drop of a hat you need to rustle up a meal for the hungry but the very last thing you want to do is be chained to the kitchen for longer than you need. I didn’t actually make this dish this weekend as dear Lisa had her own designs for the largest vat of chilli you’ve ever seen… but the chicken thigh dish couldn’t be simpler as there’s very little to do but this one pot marmalade, clementine and garlic chicken thighs with peal barley more than delivers on flavour and it also looks so pretty don’t you think? So golden and Christmassy with it’s clementines and marmalade… and for anyone who may think this tastes bitter, there’s plenty of sweetness from the marmalade itself plus the chicken thighs are also nice and sweet, so it balances out perfectly. Again, if you’ve never eaten chicken thighs I can’t bestow them enough upon you. Cheap and tasty they are full of flavour and if you use (as you should) the thighs with the bone in and skin on, then they are juicy and have the right balance of fat and meat so they self-baste with all the other flavours… a genius bit of meat! The pearl-barley is lovely here too as the little grains soak up all the juices but you could easily use risotto rice.
- 8 free-range chicken thighs – bone in with skin on
- 2 carrots – roughly chopped
- 1 large onion – sliced into wedges
- 10 garlic cloves – un-peeled
- 150g pearl-barley
- 1 large glass of white wine
- 1/2 litre good quality stock
- fresh herbs – I used rosemary and lemon thyme
- butter and olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 clementines – cut into wedges
- 4 or 5 tablespoons of your favourite marmalade – I used a three fruit marmalade which was divine.
pre-heat the oven to 180C – I used my Denby 30cm shallow casserole dish with a lid.
place the chicken thighs into a bowl with the marmalade and rub it all together with your hands so that the thighs are fully coated
place all the chopped veg and garlic into the dish and spread out evenly… season well with salt and pepper and a sprinkling of fresh herbs… sprinkle over the pearl barley, then dot with a little butter and a drizzle of olive oil.
place the marmalade covered chicken thighs on top, skin side up, pour in the wine and half the stock, season well again with salt and pepper and wedge the clementine wedges in between the thighs – place the lid on and into the oven for 1 hour, after an hour, remove the lid and turn the thighs over and roast for a further 30 mins
after this time you may need to add a little more stock, so test the pearl barley for bite and add a dash more stock, then turn the chicken thighs over so they’re skin side up and roast for a final 30 mins or until gloriously golden
eat and of course, enjoy!