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Cooking for a dinner partyCooking, Ideas February 19, 2014 - 1:21 pm No Comment
When hosting a dinner party, your mind is occupied with hundreds of thoughts, doubts and worries. It’s only natural to panic and want the whole experience of cooking to be over; however don’t fret, as these three quick and easy recipes are sure to leave your guests impressed come the end of the evening.
Super tasty Spanish roast chicken with chorizo and potatoes
Chorizo is so versatile it can be utilised in an abundance of recipes, but we’ve just picked out one for you. This dish is sure to get everyone salivating and, as an added bonus, it fills the house with fantastic smells.
1.6 kg potatoes, 4 lemons, 1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, 2 kg higher-welfare chicken, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, chorizo sausage, olive oil, 2 cloves garlic.
Preheat your oven to 220ºC and proceed to place potatoes and 2 lemons into a small pan of water before boiling for 5 minutes. After this, drain and then prick the lemons with a knife so that when you put them inside the chicken later, the juices will be released. Remove the parsley leaves from their stalks. Fill the chicken with the stalks and the hot lemons, then season the chicken and potatoes with a pinch of salt and pepper and slice your chorizo.
Lay out a piece of grease proofing paper on a baking tray. Place the potatoes in the centre of the tray followed by the chicken on top and sprinkle the chorizo with some of the chopped parsley. Put in the oven and leave for just under an hour and a half.
While you are waiting for the chicken and potatoes to cook, finely chop the two remaining lemons and mix them with the chopped parsley and garlic. You can also season this with a pinch of salt and pepper to create a fragrant, seasoning garnish. Remove the tray from the oven, take the chicken out and put to one side to rest. Give the potatoes a shake about and put them back in the oven for a few minutes until they are crispy.
When everything is cooked, carve the chicken and enjoy the smoky paprika flavour from the chorizo. Rocket salad goes well with this aswell.
Chilli Con Carne
There are many myths and rumours about the origins of a classic chilli, but all we can be sure of is that the classic dish that will have everyone asking for seconds. You can alter the portions of chilli depending on your taste. This recipe will make enough for six people.
2 medium onions, 2 cloves garlic, 2 medium carrots, 2 sticks celery, 2 red peppers, olive oil, 1 heaped teaspoon chilli powder, 1 heaped teaspoon ground cumin, 1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon, sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, 400g tinned chickpeas, 400g tinned red kidney beans, 800g tinned chopped tomatoes, 500g quality minced beef, 1 small bunch fresh coriander, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 400g basmati rice, 500g natural yoghurt, 230g guacamole, 1 lime
Peel and finely chop the carrots, onions, garlic and celery. Halve the red peppers, removing the seeds and stalks along the way. Place your largest casserole type pan on a medium to high heat. Add two swigs of olive oil and all your chopped vegetables. Throw in the chilli powder, cumin, cinnamon and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir the pan every 30 seconds for 7 minutes or until the mixture is softened and lightly coloured.
After this, add the drained chickpeas, kidney beans and the tinned tomatoes. Then add the minced beef, breaking up large chunks with a wooden spoon. Add a small cup of water to the pan.
Place the coriander leaves in the fridge and finely chop the washed stalks and stir them into the pan. Add the balsamic vinegar and season with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to the boil and turn the heat down to a simmer for about an hour. Don’t forget to stir every now and then.
Divide the rice and chilli into bowls or serve the two in the middle of the table and let everyone help themselves. Instead of rice, you can also try fresh, crusty bread or a jacket potato.
Fish baps with mushy peas and tartare sauce
This special twist on a fish finger sandwich is a recipe that will surprise and delight any guest.
For the baps
4 nice soft whole wheat baps,4 large (halved) or 8 small (roughly 480g in total) flat-fish fillets (such as plaice, lemon sole, megrim or dab), 1 pinch cayenne pepper, ½ a mug plain flour, olive oil, 25g Parmesan cheese, 1 punnet cress, 1 lemon
For the peas
1 medium potato, 500g frozen peas, ½ a bunch of fresh mint
For the sauce
6 gherkins, 1 tablespoon capers, 1 little gem lettuce, 250g fat-free natural yoghurt, ¼ a bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, 1 lemon
Preheat the oven at 130°C/250°F/gas ½. Put the baps in the oven. Slice the potato to half centimetre thickness, place into a small pan with boiling water and place a lid over it and let it come to the boil.
On some greaseproof paper, season the fish with salt, pepper and the cayenne. Then sprinkle flour over it as a coating.
Pour 2 tablespoons of oil into a frying pan and add the fish. Cook the fish until golden and grate the Parmesan finely over the top when you flip it over. Tip the frozen peas into the small pan with the potato and then add in the leafy top half of the mint and replace the lid.
Put the gherkin, capers, lettuce and yoghurt into a food processor. Add shreds of half the parsley, squeeze in the lemon juice, blend and pour into a bowl.
Drain the peas and potatoes. Once the fish is cooked, get the baps out of the oven and serve with the peas and tartare sauce alongside pinches of cress and lemon wedges.
These three recipes can easily be made by a cooking novice, and are sure to leave your guests impressed. If you have a favourite ‘go-to’ meal for a dinner party, let us know in the comments section below.
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