Cooking With Casuals: Air-fried chicken thighs
My wife is a vegetarian and that makes me pretty much a vegetarian also. But given the chance, I still love fried chicken. Unfortunately, the best fried chicken shop in the world which wasn’t so far away from us closed down during one of the Covid lockdowns. Nobody else comes close, so I’ve had to improvise and while I don’t generally like to brag about my cooking, I reckon I’ve nailed it. And I owe it all to the glory of the air fryer. We got one a while back, may have been in lockdown 1 and I’m still experimenting with it.
What you do is chuck some oil, equal (large) shakes of paprika and sage and a healthy twist of black pepper in a bowl, throw in a load of chicken thighs and make sure they’re all nicely coated. Set aside and let it all marinade.
Into the air fryer with ’em at about 190C. Cook for 10 minutes skin side down, then for about 17/18 minutes skin side up.
Air fryer goes ping, chicken is ready. And it’s really bloody lovely.
Cooking With Casuals: Lamb breast in Old Peculier
No pictures. Because I ate it too quickly.
We got a lamb breast for cheap. So what to do with it?
Well, sear it off in a dry pan for starters, then transfer to the slow cooker.
In the pan, a chopped onion and garlic were fried in a little oil, then half a bottle of Theakston’s Old Peculier and some veg stock went in so that all the meat residue came off the pan. In went some fresh rosemary and the whole shebang was poured over the breast in the slow cooker. The rest of the beer and some more stock went in until it was half to two-thirds covered. Stick the cooker on high and four hours later, you’re done.
After the four hours, I removed the lamb and let it stand. The liquid was transferred to a saucepan and brought to a rolling boil to reduce it down for a lovely gravy. A bit of salt went in as it was on the sweet side initially.
Served with mash and veg, it was bloody lovely.
Cooking With Casuals: Schnitzel
I love a schnitzel and it’s dead easy to do.
You need: an egg (beaten), pork steaks, breadcrumbs, a massive rolling pin and an attitude. Oh, and a frying pan about steak-deep with oil.
First, get the oil on. Medium-high heat. You need it hot.
Beat the crap out of the steaks with the rolling pin. Like, flatten the bastards. Wash in the egg, cover in breadcrumbs, shallow fry until golden brown.
And that’s it. Post-christmas eating saw me not bother with the chips I’d normally do with it, just use up the remaining coleslaw instead.
Christmas Cooking With Casuals: Belly pork in ginger beer
What to do for christmas dinner? It only struck me a few days before, but belly pork sounded like a good idea. And so it came to pass.
It’s a bit involved – not one you can just leave and sod off to the pub for, but worth the effort.
First, score the skin of the pork, making sure not to cut through to the meat. Rub in some salt and leave for ten minutes then press down hard with paper towels. Repeat three times.
Rub in some sunflower oil and a bit more salt then place it skin-side up in a roasting tin on a bed of garlic cloves, chopped shallots and thyme and stick in the oven at 110C/gas mark 1 for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, up the temperature to gas mark 4/170C and add chicken stock and alcoholic ginger beer to the pan, taking care not to cover the skin. Back in it goes for two more hours, but check it every half hour and top up the liquid as required. For super-crispy skin, whack it up gas mark 7/220C for the last half hour.
I served with a baked spud, sour cream and chives, and coleslaw, but the juices in the pan can also make a lovely gravy if you want to go with veg and all that.
To cut it up, place it skin side down on the board. Otherwise you’ll make a right mess of it given the meat is so tender.
The meat is tender as a womans heart and the skin nice a crackly. Flippin delicious.
Cooking With Casuals: Beer-braised brisket
First in a very occasional series. Maybe.
Anyway, we got hold of a cheap slab of brisket from the reduced section of the butchery counter at the supermarket – our favourite section. ‘Cook this’, said Mrs Dobbo. Okey dokes.
There was about a kilo and a half of beef.
In a large frying pan, I browned it off and transferred to the slow cooker.
In the pan, I fried onions and garlic until softened, added a bottle of beer – a nut-brown ale, anything with a bit of colour will do – tomato puree, brown sugar, salt and black pepper. Stir that on a low heat until the sugar dissolves and tip it all over the beef in the slow cooker.
Stick the slow cooker on really low and basically just leave it for about 14 hours (or until it’s done, really).
Part way through the cooking, Mrs D had a taste and felt it a bit flat, so added some beef stock, red wine vinegar and a bit more seasoning. Spot on.
It made a right nice sarnie.
No, I don’t do measurements. Just chuck stuff at it and see what works.