I am sometimes a little wary of cookery books focusing on a single ingredient, as some of them have a core of fabulous recipes padded out with a bunch of weak page-fillers. But Diana Henry’s A Bird In The Hand is a wonderful exception, chock – or should that be chook? – full of appealing recipes for simple, tasty chicken dinners.
In the UK we purchase and eat a lot of chicken. It’s so good roasted, grilled or barbequed, fried (pan or deep), poached, cooked in a stew or casserole… and well-suited to flavours from all around the world – a wonderfully versatile meat.
In this book Diana Henry shares a collection of over 100 chicken recipes that range from quick and casual to impressive and celebratory. I am tempted by nearly all of them! Some, like Baked Chicken with Tarragon and Dijon Mustard, Chicken Forestière, Thai Chicken Burgers, Soothing North Indian Curry and Japanese Negima Yakitori are similar to recipes we have made and enjoyed before; a good reminder to make them again soon.
Others are dishes we’ve not thought to try ourselves. My copy of the book is frilled along the top edge with little scraps of paper bookmarking those I want to try soon – Spanish Chicken, Morcilla and Sherry, Vietnamese Lemongrass and Chilli Chicken, Bourbon and Marmalade-glazed Drumsticks, Chicken with Shaoxing Wine, Crisp Radishes and Pickled Ginger, Tagine of Chicken, Caramelised Onion and Pears, Chicken Legs in Pinot Noir with Sour Cherries and Parsnip Purée, Roast chicken stuffed with black pudding and apple and mustard sauce, Ginger beer can chicken, Chicken Pot-Roasted in Milk, Bay and Nutmeg, Pot-Roast Chicken with Figs.
They all sound so good, don’t they?
Both dishes we have made so far have been enormously comforting, delicious and likely to be repeated again and again. Though there are only two of us, we felt the Crusted Chicken and Chorizo Paella was best made in a large quantity; we scaled it down to make two thirds and that served two of us for two meals, plus a generous portion for my lunchbox one day too. Warm, comforting, tasty and not complicated to make.
The Chicken with Pumpkin, Cream and Gruyère actually blew me away. It’s such a simple recipe and yet I a combination I would never have thought of. Insanely delicious!
We look forward to cooking many more recipes from the book.