In my recent post about The Wild Meat Company’s pheasant and partridge, I mentioned the first recipe we made on receipt of my big box of game birds. A twitter friend kindly shared her recipe for pheasant, and I filled in the details by thinking about other one pot braises I’ve cooked in the past. My pheasants were delivered ready for the oven – hung, plucked, gutted – so nothing to do on that front, much to my relief.

Braising the pheasant in cider helped keep the meat moist – pheasant is a fairly lean bird and prone to dry out easily – and the apples broke down and contributed to a tasty sauce for the mash.


Cider-Braised Pheasant with Shallots, Apples & Thyme

Serves 2

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 small or 1 large pheasant, oven-ready *
75 grams pancetta or bacon, cubed
8-10 small shallots or 4-5 large ones halved, peeled
300 grams cooking apple, peeled, cored and sliced ~
500 ml dry cider
Small sprig fresh thyme or generous half teaspoon dried

Optional: buttery mashed potato, to serve

* My pheasant was about 900 grams, so enough to serve 2. If your birds are smaller, use 1 per person.
~ We used a lot of apple as we had a 300 gram bag of prepped apple in the freezer. Use less if you prefer.


  • Choose an stove and oven-proof casserole dish large enough for your pheasant(s), the shallots and apples and a good amount of liquid.
  • On the stove top, heat vegetable oil in your casserole dish and brown the pheasant(s) on all sides. A pair of rubber-tipped tongs is useful for this. Once browned, remove the pheasant(s) from the pot and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 180 °C (fan).
  • Add the pancetta or bacon to the pot and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the shallots and cook on a high heat until they take on a little colour. Stir regularly so the shallots colour rather than catch.
  • Push the shallots and bacon to the edges to make space, then add the pheasant(s) back to the pot, breast side down. Spread the cooking apples around (and between, if cooking two birds) and throw in the thyme. Pour cider to at least half way up the bird(s). If you’re using a smaller pot you may not need the full 500 ml.


  • Cook on the stove for a further minute or two, until the liquid just starts to simmer, then put a lid onto the casserole dish and transfer to the oven.
  • Bake for 1 hour.
  • Remove from the oven and carefully lift pheasant(s) onto a warm plate to rest. Return the casserole dish to the stove and cook for a minute or two to reduce the sauce.


  • As we were sharing one pheasant between two, I used our kitchen scissors to cut the bird in half. Serve with mash and sauce.


As you can see, this isn’t the most elegant looking plate, but it was certainly a tasty and warming meal. Perfect for this cold winter weather.

If you haven’t already, take a moment to enter my competition to win a Poachers Delight Game Birds Box of your own, courtesy of The Wild Meat Company.

More pheasant recipes to whet the appetite:

Kavey Eats received a sample box from the Wild Meat Company. Thank you to Melanie for the recipe idea.


I lied. I’m not offering you a partridge in a pear tree. That’s coming soon. But today I am in the business of sharing some fine game birds, namely partridges and pheasants.

Courtesy of the Wild Meat Company I’ve just taken delivery of their Poachers Delight Game Bird Box.

WildMeatCompany-GameBirdsBox-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-7389 WildMeatCompany-GameBirdsBox-KaveyEats-(c)KavitaFavelle2015-7393

Inside eco-friendly wool insulation, nestled between a couple of ice packs, are 4 whole pheasants, 2 packs of 2 pheasant fillets, 4 whole red-legged partridges and 2 packs of 4 partridge fillets. The whole birds are oven ready – after hanging for 3 to 7 days they are dry plucked, waxed and eviscerated by hand before being wrapped ready for delivery. The fillets are skinned, prepped and vacuum packed, ready to cook.

I first learned about dry plucking and waxing versus wet plucking on a visit to Kelly Bronze Turkey Farm a couple of years ago. The key benefits of dry plucking are the reduction in damage to the skin and flesh of the bird, a less clammy texture and smell to the skin and an increased shelf life – the heat and moisture of wet plucking can accelerate the growth of bacteria.


With the exception of one stuffed and boned pheasant from Borough Market last Christmas, I’ve never cooked game birds before, so I turned to friends for cooking recommendations. As usual they came up trumps and the recipe below was delicious (though not very photogenic). I’ll be sharing it soon.

Even though I’m a novice game bird cook, I’ve eaten my fair share over the years and can confirm that the quality of produce from the Wild Meat Company is excellent. The birds arrived in perfect condition, on time as promised and with nothing to do but choose a recipe and get cooking.

Pheasant braised in cider with pancetta, shallots and thyme (recipe coming soon)



The Wild Meat Company are offering one reader of Kavey Eats a Poachers Delight Game Bird Box, with free delivery within the UK.


Enter promotional code KAVEY10 to get 10% off all partridge and pheasant products until 28 February 2015. Please note that, as it’s coming up to the end of game bird season, orders for game birds placed after 9 February 2015 will receive frozen not fresh produce.


You can enter the competition in 2 ways – the more ways you enter, the higher your chances of winning:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment below, telling me how you’d cook the contents of the box.

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey and @WildMeatCompany on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the (exact) sentence below:
I’d love to win a @WildMeatCompany Poachers Delight Game Bird Box from Kavey Eats! #KaveyEatsGameBirds
(Do not add the @Kavey twitter handle into the tweet; I track entries using the competition hash tag. And please don’t leave a blog comment about your tweet either, thanks!)


  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 6th February 2015.
  • Kavey Eats reserves the right to alter the closing date of the competition. Changes to the closing date, if they occur, will be shown on this page.
  • The winner will be selected from all valid entries (across blog and twitter) using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • The prize is a Poachers Delight Game Bird Box, as described above. The prize includes delivery within the UK Mainland.
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prize is offered and provided by the Wild Meat Company.
  • As the British game bird season is coming to a close, the latest date the box can be sent out fresh is the 14 February. If the winner prefers a later delivery, they will receive frozen rather than fresh game birds.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You may enter both ways but you do not have to do so for your entries to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey and @WildMeatCompany at the time of notification. Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email or Twitter so please make sure you check your accounts for the notification message.
  • If no response is received from a winner within 3 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

Kavey Eats received a sample box from the Wild Meat Company.


I’ve been trying to nail Southern Fried Chicken for quite some time.

Some recipes call for the chicken to be brined before cooking. Others marinade the meat in buttermilk instead. Some recipes don’t feature brine or marinade at all. Some cooks coat the chicken with nothing but flour and spices; others use buttermilk or an egg-and-milk mix to help the flour and spices adhere to the chicken. And of course, I’ve come across countless online recipes claiming to have cracked the secret spice blend for a KFC copycat, if that’s what you’re after…

The key problem for us has been in ensuring the chicken is cooked all the way through without overcooking the crispy coating. Of course, setting the right oil temperature helps a lot with that, as does the size of chicken pieces. But it’s remained my main point of difficulty.

When we received our Sous Vide Supreme, we poached chicken in it as one of our first experiments in getting a feel for how it worked and where the strengths of the technique lie. (For the record, the chicken was moist and evenly cooked, but no more so than if we’d poached it in our slow cooker).

But that experiment made it occur to me that we could sous vide the chicken first, to ensure that it was cooked right the way through and then apply the coating and deep fry.

Bingo! No more worries about the chicken being cooked at the core…

Of course, if you don’t have a sous vide machine, you can seal the chicken into bags (or wrap in cling film) and poach at a low simmer until cooked all the way through.

The next question is one of flavourings. The previous times I’ve made Southern Fried Chicken, I’ve blended my own spice mix in which I’ve included dried oregano, dried sage, dried rosemary, garlic powder, paprika, chilli powder, ground black pepper and salt. Of those, I’d say the core ingredients are oregano, paprika, chilli powder and garlic powder.

But this time I realised I had the perfect ready-made seasoning mix sitting in front of me – a tub of African Volcano Seasoning Rub (Medium). In case you can’t get hold of this, I’ve provided an alternative blend in the recipe below.


Southern Fried Chicken | Making Use of Sous Vide

Serves 2-3

6 boneless chicken thighs
150-200 ml (about 1 cup) buttermilk
150-200 grams (about 1 cup) plain flour
2-3 tablespoons African Volcano Seasoning Rub (or see note, below)
Salt and pepper

Note: You can substitute African Volcano Seasoning Rub with 2 teaspoons paprika, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried sage, 1 teaspoon chilli powder and 1 teaspoon garlic powder.


  • Pre-heat your sous vide machine to 66 °C (151 °F).
  • Open out the chicken thighs and cut them into two or three pieces each.
  • Add one to two tablespoons of buttermilk to the chicken and coat all the pieces.
  • Spread the chicken out flat in a food-grade plastic pouch and seal with a vacuum sealer.
  • Cook for two hours in the sous vide machine.
    Note: If you don’t have a sous vide machine, seal the chicken and buttermilk into bags (or wrap in cling film) and poach in water at a low simmer until cooked all the way through.

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  • Before removing chicken from the water bath, prepare the plates of coating ready to dip and switch on your deep fat fryer to pre-heat to 170-175 °C.
  • Pour half a cup of buttermilk into a bowl. In another bowl, combine the flour, spice blend and salt and pepper. Have an empty plate ready for floured chicken pieces.
  • Remove the chicken from the water bath, open the pouch, discard the juices and remove chicken pieces onto a plate or dish.
    Note: you don’t want the chicken to cool down in the centre, as you won’t be deep frying it for as long as usual, so allow it to cool for just a couple of minutes before continuing with the recipe.
  • As soon as the chicken has cooled enough to handle, dip each piece into the buttermilk and then into the seasoned flour, ensuring that plenty of flour has adhered to all surfaces of the chicken.


  • Repeat for the rest of the chicken, adding more buttermilk to the dipping bowl as and when required.
    Ideally, if there are two of you, one person can fry the first batch while the second person dips and flours the remaining chicken.


  • Fry in small batches, depending on the size of your deep fat fryer.
  • Ours took 5 minutes for the coating to crisp and brown. Increase cooking time if necessary, to achieve the necessary colour and texture.
  • Drain on to a paper towel and serve hot.


Although that’s shop-bought coleslaw in the photographs, this southern fried chicken is even better served with my smoky paprika coleslaw, which can be made beforehand. Do give it a try.


Kavey Eats received a SousVide Supreme and vacuum sealer in exchange for sharing my experiences using the equipment.


Britain isn’t known as a nation of offal lovers, but we certainly eat it.

It’s highly probable you’ve eaten offal before as it features in a several popular national dishes. Haggis is made by stuffing a sheep’s stomach with liver, heart, lungs and oats. Faggots are balls of minced pork and pig offal wrapped in caul fat. Sweetbreads have almost become a staple of the modern gastropub menu while steak and kidney pie is a classic.

Looking to our European neighbours, many of us enjoy Italian calves liver with onions or sage and butter and a beautifully dressed green salad with chicken livers or gizzards is popular on any French menu prix fixe. And who doesn’t love a rich liver paté?

Although offal such as brawn, chitterlings, tongue, tripe and trotters have fallen from favour in recent decades, take heart, as the offal I’m encouraging you to try is not so challenging!

PREVIEW (c)KavitaFavelle-ChickenHeartYakitori-Sept2013-5134

There’s a belief that all offal has a strange texture (like tripe and liver) and a strong flavour (like kidneys) but this isn’t true. Fresh chicken hearts don’t have a strong or distinct taste and they aren’t gritty, gelatinous or crunchy. When grilled quickly on a high heat, they’re tender morsels with a surprisingly subtle red meat taste. In texture, they’re softer than you might expect, with a hint of bounciness like flash-fried fresh squid.

Chicken hearts, although slightly high in cholesterol, are rich in essential B vitamins (including B12, riboflavin and folic acid) and minerals (including zinc, selenium, iron and potassium).

Around the world, they’re extremely popular.

Across South America, the asado (barbecue) is king and an array of steaks is accompanied by sausages and offal. In Brazil, chicken hearts roasted on skewers are an integral part of a churrascaria (grill house) menu.

Although it’s easy to think of the Indian subcontinent as a region of vegetarians, this dismisses the diversity of meat eaten across India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal. All have traditional recipes prizing offal, such as the Punjabi Katakat in which a mix of offal is fried in butter and spices.

Offal is most prominent in the cuisines of East Asia. The expression “nothing goes to waste” is put to practice nowhere as well as China, where the popularity of offal is not only due to a desire not to waste any part of the animal but also a belief that many types of offal confer health benefits. As such, offal is considered a delicacy and chicken hearts are enjoyed stir-fried, braised and grilled in many different recipes. In Korea, grilled chicken hearts in a barbeque marinade are commonly sold in street bars, perhaps with a pot of fiery gochujang (a fermented condiment of chilli, rice, soybeans and salt) on the side. In Indonesia and Malaysia, they are one of many types of offal used to make gulai, a type of curry with a rich, spicy, turmeric-heavy sauce.

But my favourite way of enjoying chicken hearts is Japanese yakitori, where different cuts of chicken are threaded onto skewers and grilled over charcoal. Tare, a sweet and salty dipping sauce is sometimes also brushed onto the meat before grilling. Yakitori is popular in izakaya (Japanese pubs) which serve short menus of small dishes designed for nibbling with drinks.

PREVIEW (c)KavitaFavelle-ChickenHeartYakitori-Sept2013-5124


Chicken hearts are not (yet) readily available in supermarkets but Turkish grocery stores with butchers’ counters often sell them and very cheaply too. Alternatively, talk to your local butcher and ask him to order some for you.

Japanese-style Yakitori Chicken Hearts

(approximately) 32 chicken hearts
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon pureed ginger
1 teaspoon pureed garlic
2 teaspoons of sugar
3 teaspoons or mirin (rice wine) or substitute 2 teaspoons of dry sherry + 1 teaspoon sugar


  • Combine the soy sauce, pureed ginger, pureed garlic, sugar and mirin.
  • Toss chicken hearts in marinade before threading onto skewers. I fit about 8 hearts each onto 4 skewers.
  • Grill on a barbecue or cook in a heavy-based griddle on the stove. Cook on high heat for a just few minutes each side (overcooking will result in tough hearts). Brush with extra marinade during cooking.
  • Serve immediately.

PREVIEW (c)KavitaFavelle-ChickenHeartYakitori-Sept2013-5144


This piece was previously published in the November 2013 issue of Good Things Magazine.


Greg Malouf’s recipe for Persian Baked Yoghurt Rice with Chicken (Tahcheen-e morgh), within a review of his book Saraban: A chef’s journey through Persia, remains a popular post on the blog, and it has been lovely to see how many readers have given the recipe a go and enjoyed it as much as we did.

Of course, many of us immediately started thinking about variations – using the basic recipe for a baked rice cake with a filling of yoghurt-marinated chicken but ringing the changes by changing that marinade. It’s not that we were dissatisfied with Greg’s original recipe as it stands, but that it was so good it inspired us to take it further.

One idea I had back then, but still haven’t got around to trying, is to use the yoghurt-based marinade from my mum’s Tandoori chicken or lamb recipe to make an Indian-spiced Tahcheen-e Morgh.

Another idea, which we tried and very much enjoyed, was to mix African Volcano Peri Peri marinade with yoghurt to make a Mozambique-spiced Tahcheen-e Morgh. Because producer Grant Hawthorne has already done all the work in creating a beautifully balanced blend of flavours, using his Peri Peri makes this variation super quick and easy, though you will still benefit from giving the chicken plenty of time in the marinade before assembling the dish and baking it.



African Volcano Tahcheen-e Morgh (Baked Yoghurt Rice with Chicken)

Marinated Chicken
350 grams thick natural yoghurt (full fat)
4 tablespoons African Volcano Peri Peri Marinade
3 egg yolks
0.5 teaspoon salt
0.5 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
500 grams boneless free-range chicken thighs, skin removed, in 2 cm cubes
200 grams basmati rice
2 tablespoons sea salt
80 grams butter plus extra for greasing


  • Beat the yoghurt with the egg yolks, African Volcano Peri Peri Marinade, salt and pepper in a shallow dish. Add the chicken to the yoghurt mixture. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 12 hours ahead of time.
  • Wash the rice thoroughly, then leave it to soak in a generous amount of lukewarm water for 30 minutes. Swish it around with your fingers every now and then to loosen the starch. Strain the rice, rinsing it again with warm water.
  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the salt and stir in the strained rice. Return the water to a rolling boil and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Test the rice by pinching a grain between your fingers or by biting it. It should be soft on the outside, but still hard in the centre. Strain the rice and rinse again with warm water. Toss it several times to drain away as much of the water as you can.
  • Preheat the oven to 190 C (fan).
  • Butter a 2 litre ovenproof dish. Add a circle of baking parchment to the bottom of the dish and butter over it again.
  • Remove the chicken pieces from the yoghurt marinade, retaining both. Use your fingers to wipe lots of the marinade from the chicken, so only a small amount remains on the meat.
  • Mix the parboiled rice with the marinade and spoon half of the mixture into the base of the ovenproof dish. Spread the rice out over the bottom and up the sides of the dish. Arrange the chicken in the well. Spoon the rest of the rice over it to cover, and smooth the surface flat.
  • Press a sheet of lightly buttered foil down onto the surface of the rice, put the lid onto the dish and bake for 1.5 hours.
  • Remove the dish from the oven, lift the foil away and dot the surface of the rice with generous knobs of butter. Replace the foil, put the lid back on and leave to rest for 10 minutes.
  • Carefully turn the rice out onto a warm serving platter and peel away the parchment paper.
  • Serve with a bowl of creamy full fat yoghurt and fresh mixed green herbs.

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Do have a go and let me know what you think of my variation on the classic Persian Tahcheen-e Morgh!

Aug 072013

Guest post by Diana Chan.

Chinese Seal MINI

This evening I had dinner by myself and made a dish the way my grandmother would have done – simple, nourishing and delicious.

We are Cantonese, from the south of China.  After living many years in Europe I have observed that the Cantonese and Italians share a common approach to good food – take the best quality, freshest ingredients and do as little to them as possible. This time I made stir fried breast of duck with onion.


Stir frying is easy – the 3 things to get right are cutting, seasoning and timing.

And you don’t need a wok – unless, of course, you happen to already have one or want a reason to get one.

First, cutting.  Duck and chicken breast, skinned and boned, and pork fillet are the easiest to cut into even-sized pieces for stir frying because they come in relatively neat blocks that you can just slice across.

  • Slice your meat into large bite-sized pieces.

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Second, seasoning.  To make a delicious marinade for the sliced duck (or chicken, pork, etc.) you need only add 3 ingredients to the duck and mix everything together well:  two swirls of soy sauce, a little sugar and some corn flour.

  • For those who prefer more precision, I suggest you use for each 150 grams of duck 2 teaspoons soy sauce, a pinch of sugar, and a half teaspoon of corn flour.  Let the duck marinate for 10 to 15 minutes while you are busy with another part of the meal – but if you are really in a hurry, then marinate for as long as the time you have.


Soy sauce, sugar and corn flour make the perfect foundation for stir fried meat. I always use Kikkoman soy sauce – it tastes good, is naturally brewed and is widely available.  Cantonese cooks add a little sugar to enhance the flavour of savoury dishes, while other cuisines could achieve a similar effect with the sweetness of chopped onions cooked with the main ingredients.  Corn flour absorbs some of the meat juices and clings to the meat, making it feel more succulent to the bite.

Third, timing.  A meat stir fry needs the addition of a vegetable or something else to become interesting, and an onion is the best companion.  In the context of timing, an onion is the perfect stir fry vegetable:  it cooks quickly, but even for someone without any sense of timing it is difficult to really overcook.

  • While the duck is marinating, cook a sliced onion in a frying pan over medium heat with a little oil and some salt until it is translucent or becomes as coloured as you like, then put it onto a serving dish.  By this time the frying pan has become nice and hot.

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  • Add a bit of oil, then the sliced duck, and immediately toss and turn the duck about in the pan until most of it has lost the raw appearance.  Use for this task a spatula, wooden spoon or any tool you are most comfortable with – for me, it is a pair of bamboo chopsticks.
  • Then return the onion to the pan and stir around the mixture over medium heat until the duck is cooked to your liking.

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That’s it – done!

  • Put the mixture onto the serving dish, including any tasty bits sticking to the pan, and garnish as you like – scatter over a few sprigs of coriander, chopped parsley, or some crushed chilli flakes.


To garnish my dinner – since we had been away for a long weekend and there was nothing much in the fridge – while the onion was cooking I microwaved some frozen spinach, plopped it onto a plate and placed the duck in the middle.  I thought adding the spinach would make a better photograph, although I would have been perfectly content eating just duck and onion with some steamed rice.

A stir fry is best made with not more than about 300 grams of meat, enough to serve two people with some vegetables and rice.  Once you have mastered the basics of this stir fry with soy sauce, sugar and corn flour, you could use other vegetables and add all sorts of aromatics at various stages of cooking and other seasonings as well.  The combinations are endless.


With thanks to Diana Chan for her first guest post. Please leave a comment to welcome her to the world of blogging!


When I’m feeling poorly I always long for the foods of my childhood. Suddenly the familiar holds a much stronger appeal; there’s deep comfort to be found in the things we’ve loved the longest, and that applies tenfold to food.

My shortlist is an assortment of my mum’s home-cooked Indian food, typical English school-dinner comfort stodge and big brand ready-made favourites. A good example of the latter is a steaming hot bowl of Heinz Cream of Tomato Soup with buttered slices of pappy processed white bread.

But surely a home-made version, made from home-grown tomatoes and served with home-baked bread (and really good butter), would be even better?

Having grown our own tomatoes for many years, I set Pete the challenge of creating a soup in the Heinz style, but made with a shorter, simpler set of ingredients. Heinz’ soup contains modified corn flour, dried skimmed milk, milk proteins… nothing particularly scary but not ingredients we’d use at home either.

Tom Soup-0168

To my delight, Pete nailed his home-made version on the first try! He completely failed to write down the recipe back then, but when he made it again recently (with the last frozen batch of last year’s tomatoes), I insisted he keep a record.

His delicious soup consisted of tomatoes, onions, fresh cream, home-made chicken stock and seasoning. That’s it.

I have never been a huge soup lover, usually preferring something more solid. And it’s rare I lose my appetite, even when poorly. But occasionally I yearn for a light meal, something simple, something tasty and fresh, something comfortingly familiar, something warming that soothes a sore throat as well as a fractious soul…

For those occasions, I can thoroughly recommend Pete’s Home-made Cream of Tomato Soup.


Pete’s Home-made Cream of Tomato Soup

1 medium onion, finely diced
600 grams whole tomatoes
800 ml chicken stock
100 ml double cream
Salt and pepper, to taste
Vegetable oil, for cooking


  • Heat a little oil in a pan and fry the onion until golden.
  • Add the tomatoes, peeled if you have the patience and fry until they break down.
  • Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil and simmer for about an hour to reduce.
  • Allow to cool.
  • Blitz in a blender or food processor and sieve to remove seeds and skin.
  • Warm through again on a gentle heat, stir in cream and continue to warm until piping hot.
  • Taste, season and serve with fresh bread and butter.


What are the foods you long for when you’re feeling poorly or sad? Do you turn to childhood favourites too?


Do you ever envisage a new dish in your head, hoping it will be as delicious as you imagine? And when you make it, it’s even better? I can’t pretend it’s something that happens often – more often there are tweaks to be made… or rarely, the idea is quietly binned and never mentioned again – but now and again success strikes and makes me insufferably chuffed with myself.

So it was with this Chicken Tarragon Pasta Bake.


In my mind were a number of recipes we enjoy, from macaroni cheese to chicken savoyarde to the penne al forno at my local Italian.

Once the idea for my new dish popped into my head, all we needed was to enjoy a roast chicken dinner (oh, the hardship) and follow that, as usual, by stripping the leftover meat off the carcass and popping the remaining skin, bones and tendons into the slow cooker with water overnight to make stock.


Kavey’s Chicken Tarragon Pasta Bake

Serves 4

250 grams dried macaroni-style pasta
50 grams white breadcrumbs (we used Panko)
300 grams leftover roast chicken meat, chopped small
50 grams butter
40 grams plain flour
600 ml chicken stock, slightly warmed
175 ml double cream
50 grams Parmesan or other strong hard cheese, grated
2 heaped teaspoons French mustard
2 level teaspoons dried tarragon
Salt and pepper, to taste

Note: For the pasta, choose any of the small hollow tube shapes. We chose chifferi rigati by De Cecco, which are short ridged elbow-shaped tubes.

Note: We like the tarragon flavour to be understated. If you like it strong, add an extra teaspoon or two of dried tarragon.


  • Preheat oven to 200 C (390 F).
  • Put the pasta on to cook. When ready, drain, rinse and set aside.
  • While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce:
  • Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Keep the heat low to medium, to avoid browning.
  • Add the chicken stock and cream and stir thoroughly.
  • Add the cheese, mustard and tarragon. Taste and adjust seasoning.
  • Cook for a further 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens a little.
  • Once the sauce is ready, add the chicken and the drained pasta and stir thoroughly.
  • Transfer into an oven-proof casserole dish.

ChickenTarragonPastaBake-0155 ChickenTarragonPastaBake-0156

  • Sprinkle breadcrumbs evenly over the surface.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until the crumbs on top are golden brown.

Serve hot with a crispy green salad.

ChickenTarragonPastaBake-0161 ChickenTarragonPastaBake-0162

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did. Do let me know how you like it!


Like quite a few dishes in Japan, katsu originated elsewhere in the world but, as with many so-called yōshoku (Western) foods, the Japanese made it their own. Based on a European breaded cutlet, it was originally called katsuretsu (a phonetic representation of “cutlet”) but was quickly shorted to katsu. Pork (ton)katsu is the most popular but chicken is also widely enjoyed.

Likewise, another yōshoku dish is curry rice, known in Japanese as karē raisu. This type of curry didn’t come to Japan from India (though Indian style curries can certainly be found in Japan) but from Britain, courtesy of the Royal Navy and is similar to anglicised versions of curry that were popular in Britain a few decades ago.

Indeed, when I started investigating recipes for the curry sauce, thinking to create my own spice mix from scratch, I quickly discovered that the Japanese rely on pre-purchased mixes. Restaurants buy this in powdered form, combining it with tomato, coconut milk and a few other ingredients. Home cooks often opt for the ready made blocks or granules which they simply cook with water, adding carrots and onions if they wish.


Katsu-karē is the combination of both the above imports – breaded pork, chicken or beef are served with rice and a generous puddle of curry sauce.

Japanese rice is different to the varieties I’m most familiar with. It’s short grain and somewhat sticky but not the same as the glutinous varieties used in East Asian sticky rice dishes. When we’ve have none to hand, we’ve substituted fragrant basmati but I think Italian risotto types such as arborio would be closer. More recently we’ve stocked up on some Japanese rice at our local Japanese grocery store.


Chicken Katsu Curry Rice

For chicken
400 grams mini breast fillets, or chicken breasts cut into a few pieces
1 to 1.5 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 cup plain seasoned flour (salt and pepper)
1 large egg (may need a second egg)
For frying
Vegetable oil as per your deep fat fryer
For serving
Japanese rice (or basmati if Japanese rice not available)
Curry sauce made up from mix, available from Japanese grocery shops
Optional: onions and carrots, diced, to add to curry sauce

Note: It’s impossible to give exact measurements for egg, flour and breadcrumbs needed as it will depend on the exact size of your chicken pieces. I buy panko breadcrumbs in large bags so I can easily shake a little more into the bowl if needed.

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Panko breadcrumbs and curry sauce nix


  • Cook your rice while preparing and frying the chicken.
  • Likewise, make up your curry sauce according to the packet instructions, adding onions and carrots if you like.
  • To prepare the chicken, dip (and turn to coat evenly) a chicken fillet in the seasoned flour then dip (and turn to coat evenly) into beaten egg and then dip (and turn to coat evenly) into panko breadcrumbs.
  • Pre heat oil in fryer to 160 C.
  • Carefully lower chicken pieces into oil – don’t try and do too many together or they’ll clump and shake the basket a couple of times towards the beginning to help them separate.
  • They are ready when the breadcumb coating is a nice golden shade of brown, not too pale (or chicken is undercooked) and not too dark. We’ve found that the mini fillets we buy from our supermarket are just the right size to cook through perfectly in the time it takes the breadcrumbs to colour nicely.
  • Serve with rice and curry sauce.

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Alternatively, you could enjoy your katsu chicken with kewpie mayonnaise (a richer, yolkier Japanese mayonnaise) and tonkatsu sauce, available Japanese grocery shops.


You may also enjoy reading my posts about our Japan trip last year.


A roast chicken is a beautiful thing. The rewards are all out of proportion to the effort. It’s easy to ring the changes (though keeping things plain has a lot going for it too). And the leftovers are the best of any roast dinner.

I often smear a little butter over the skin, as recommended by Simon Hopkinson. That and some salt and pepper is as complicated as it gets much of the time.


With this corn-fed Goosnargh chicken from Farmison & Co I decided to add sage and lemon, and to cook the chicken on a rack above the potatoes, so that the delicious chicken fat dripped down onto the spuds below.


Butter, Sage & Lemon Roast Chicken

1 chicken
Sage leaves
1 lemon


  • Carefully tease the skin away from the breast meat with your fingers, taking care not to tear any holes in it.
  • Slide several sage leaves under the skin, against the breast meat.
  • Do the same with thin slices of butter, dotted about the breast area and add a little over the top too, if you like.
  • On the legs, it’s difficult to get under the skin, so tuck sage leaves between breast and leg and add the butter on top.
  • Cut the lemon into quarters or halves and push into both cavities with a couple of additional sage leaves.
  • Roast according to the cooking instructions for your chicken. We usually roast at 180 C, for 20 minutes per half kilo plus 20 minutes extra.
  • Check the chicken is cooked by inserting a skewer into the meat and making sure the juices run clear.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven, cover with foil (only loosely, or it will steam and the skin will lose it’s crispiness) and leave to rest for 20 minutes.
  • Turn the oven up to give the roast potatoes an extra blast of heat to finish while you cook your vegetables and gravy.
  • Carve and serve.

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Once we’ve finished dinner and the chicken has cooled down, I pick every last tiny scrap of meat off the carcass to use in leftover dishes such as chicken risotto, chicken Savoyarde, chicken croquettes and sandwiches with peri peri mayo.

The carcass (bones, tendons, flaccid skin) go into the slow cooker overnight with water, to make a very simple stock. In the morning, Pete drains it and pops it into the fridge or freezer for a future soup or risotto.

What are your favourite recipes for roasting a whole chicken and how do you use your leftovers?


Kavey Eats was sent a selection of meats by Farmison & Co.

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