Chilli, Mint and Saffron Fried Chicken {Nigel Slater Project # 36}

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I didn’t realise how much cooking food was such a pleasure for me until it was taken away from me. I also didn’t realise that a diet of cafe food and takeaway could affect my appetite as much as it has. With the odd hours I have been working, cooking has been neglected. No time for food shopping, no time for planning, and a lack of love in the food I’ve been consuming. This is exactly why when I came home from work last night, to find John on the sofa saying he was about to start dinner, I jumped at the chance to take on the task. My feet ached from the amount I had walked around that day, my eyes were a little droopy and I had a bunch of complaints about customers to get off my chest along with the obligatory glass of wine in hand.

It makes me feel good everytime I make a meal, it feels like it’s my territory and no one else can invade my territory. Even now, John is in the kitchen making me scrambled eggs and I have to resist the urge to get up and see what’s going on without getting shouted at about how I “always have to interfere!”

This week, Mr Slater is back in my life, and a new ingredient, Saffron. Let’s get back to it.

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Serves 2

400g free range chicken off the bone (thigh meat is best)

1 medium size hot red chilli, chopped

1 tsp crushed dried chillies

2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped

2 pinches of saffron stamens

a handful of mint leaves

4 tbsp olive oil

Juice of 1-2 lemons

(I roasted my chicken pieces in the oven with a little oil beforehand as I didn’t have any pre cooked!)

Cut the chicken into thin strips and place in a glass bowl. Whizz the chillies, garlic, saffron most of the mint, olive oil and most the lemon juice in a processor until you end up with a orangey speckled slush. Pour over the chicken and marinate, covered, in the fridge for at least an hour.

Lightly oil a hot griddle pan on a high heat, when hot add the chicken in batches. Cook for about 4 minutes on each side until brown and crispy, don’t let the marinade burn.

Season with a little salt, the remaining lemon wedges and some well seasoned couscous.

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