Monday, 17 February 2014

Roasted chicken, egg and potato salad with Maple chutney dressing

A few years ago, the serious business of acquiring a foreign degree landed me, of all places, in Brighton, a quirk of fate I would ponder upon some other time. Brighton is a quaint beach resort on the southeastern shores of England, flanked by the picturesque Sussex downs

 Quite often especially on sunny spring afternoons, we would head for our favourite walk through the hoary warren of narrow, cobblestone streets and twisting alleyways, The Lanes. Lined with cozy bars and inviting pubs and little restaurants selling delicious local bites, quaint antique shops, and jewellery booths, the lanes are Brighton’s most happening shopping district. It’s the perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon, sauntering down the cobbled pathways, making your way through the throng of enthused tourists and locals, past startling human statues and street dancers, postcard stands, blackboards bearing striking bargains in colourful letters and revolving hangers displaying hand bags in all conceivable colours. We would occasionally stop to admire the exotic African anklets or the lovely pearls sitting pretty behind glass walls. We would turn the corner and there would be a band of street musicians with their violins, guitars and saxophone, and their music will remain in my ears long after I would retire to bed. Torn between its beguiling antiquity and delightful present, I craved to return to the Lanes again, just one more time. 

However, besides the sheer gratification of quality window shopping that the Lanes afforded us, mere students with our spartan resources, I craved to return to the lanes for yet another reason. A tiny cafe with grey stone walls that served some of the best English pancakes I have ever tasted. It's a pity I discovered it only a month or so before I left England for good. But during that one month I did find myself catching Bus 25 right into town and heading straight for my fill of pancakes. And I love my pancakes with a generous drizzle of maple syrup or honey. Mostly maple syrup. 

But now that I am here I hardly get around to eating pancakes, at least not as frequently as I'd like to. Pancakes aren't a big favourite at home. At least not the sweet kind. And though I often think of making them, the idea of making them just for myself simply puts me off. So a big bottle of maple syrup has been lying in the fridge forever. I had brought it to make some maple frosting for my banana bread and then I haven't used it. This afternoon I drizzled some on my vanilla ice cream and then I decided I must use it. And then after hours of brainstorming I came up with something and I am rather happy with myself. A salad. A rather decadent salad at that, with no trace of green except a sprig of cilantro I garnished it with (I felt guilty of calling it a salad otherwise). So, it has beautifully poached eggs, oven baked potatoes, roasted chicken and a lovely maple dressing, more like a chutney used as a dressing actually. And it is delicious. Naturally I had to share it with you.

Roasted chicken, egg and potato salad with Maple dressing


For the dressing 
Olive oil - 1/4 cup
Maple syrup - 4-5 tbsp
Juice of half a lime
Salt to taste (if needed)
Rock salt - 1/2 tsp 
Chili flakes - 1 tbsp (or to taste)
Garlic - 1 clove crushed

For the salad 

Eggs - 2
Boneless chicken - 250g
Garlic - 2-3 large cloves 
Butter - 2tbsp
Potato- 1 large
Olive oil
Salt and pepper for seasoning


Dressing: Whisk the olive oil and maple syrup together until they blend well. Then add all the other ingredients and whisk it well to release the flavours.

Chicken: Heat butter in a pan and add the garlic cloves. Sear the chicken pieces in the butter, remove from heat and add 2-3 tablespoons of the maple dressing into the pan, butter, juices et al. You might have to add a pinch of salt if need be.

Now pour the chicken into a baking dish and slip it into a preheated oven and bake at 180 degree centigrade for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is tender and the marinade/dressing has caramelized beautifully. What you'll have is succulent pieces of chicken laced in a sticky chutney of sorts.

Shred the chicken and with the spoon lightly stir in the juices and sauce. 

Potato: Slice the potatoes into thin disks. In a zip bag pour in a little olive oil, salt and pepper and the potatoes. Zip and toss well so that the potato discs are laced in oil.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degree centigrade for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and slightly golden.

Eggs: Poach the eggs in the oven in little muffin tins say for about 6-8 minutes at 180 degree centigrade.We want the yolk to be firm but not quite. Spray the muffin tins with oil and add a tablespoon of water in each before cracking one egg in each tin.

Salad: In a  salad bowl, place the eggs in the centre Add the potatoes around the eggs and drizzle a little dressing. Add the chicken and finally drizzle more dressing on top.

 Garnish with a herb of your choice.

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