Organic Catalan Chicken

My first job when I graduated was on the Organic Targets Campaign at Sustain – where I worked for the lovely, Cath Fookes. We organised a rally and lobby of MP’s to increase Organic Farming in the UK and it worked. Cath now works for the Organic Trade Board on their Why I love organic campaign – which published the Discover Organic Cook Book – which is on sale in Waitrose at the moment.

Yes I know that all sounds like a thinly-veiled plug and it is, and I don’t care because I love organic and only ever buy organic and free range meat, eggs, dairy and salmon. With fruit and veg, I buy British and organic and I grow my own – which is of course, organic.

Quality over quantity is my mantra. Yes organic is more expensive, but there are good reasons for this – the animals have more room to move about (lower stocking density), are not fed antibiotics to make them grow unnaturally fast. Milk and meat has higher levels of omega 3 fats compared to intensively farmed – because cows are fed on a natural grass diet. Another reason why we shouldn’t have mega dairies in this country.

Organic and free range chicken has 25% less fat than intensively farmed, and higher levels of healthy fats.

I bought a lovely organic chicken from the farm shop and made Catalan Chicken from the cook book – Kate Humble’s recipe – and it was delicious – my daughter loved it, though didn’t believe me when I told her it had chocolate in it…

You will need…

1 tbsp olive oil
1 finely chopped onion
1 free range organic chicken cut into 8 pieces
1 tin of plum tomatoes
small bag of prunes (I used just over 100g and ate the rest)
4 cloves of garlic crushed
two handfuls of pine nuts
1 tbsp ground almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
25 g organic dark chocolate

How to….

Heat the oil in a pan over a low heat and add the onion and cook for 15 minutes until soft, with the lid on. (I cooked mine for 10 minutes). Put the lid on the pan and bring to a simmer on a low heat.

Meanwhile brown the chicken in a pan.

Whizz the tin of tomatoes in a food processor, and add to the onions with the crushed garlic.

Cook for a further 10-15 minutes, simmering gently reducing the sauce.

This is apparently the basis of lots of Catalan dishes, and is called the sofregit.

Add the chicken to the tomatoes and onions with the ground almonds, cinnamon and prunes to the dish, stir well and season.

Meanwhile toast the pine nuts.

After about 30 minutes, when the chicken is cooked, grate the chocolate into the pan and add the toasted pine nuts.

We had ours with mashed potatoes, carrots and purple sprouting broccoli. And I’ve got some more in the fridge for tomorrow.

There are lots of lovely seasonal recipes for the family in this book: Raymond Blanc’s apple tart (well his’ maman’s) recipe, baba ganoush, tarragon baked chicken and carrots, green thai curry and some lovely pasta recipes too…o and a recipe for homemade scotch eggs from the founder of Laverstock Park Farm.

Some of the recipes are on the Why I Love Organic website too.

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