Cuisses de Poulet Grillées aux Riz à L’Orientale

The linguists among you will have realised that we are continuing the chicken theme. Unless, however, you are a student of Escoffier and used to have your own table at Le Gavroche, you may be unfamiliar with today's delicacy.

But you may know it better as grilled chicken and fried rice. And to make it even simpler I do it in the oven or air fryer. (Forget the stupid name of the latter. It's basically a souped up fan oven.) I find mine very useful, but anything which can be done in an air fryer can be cooked in an oven, though it may take longer.

Some final musings before we get to the main event. Which is your preferred part of the bird? For me, it's the thighs, bone in. Here lies the problem when doing the supermarket shopping. If you buy a whole bird, and can decipher the mumbo jumbo on the labels, you may be able to acquire something of deceent provenance. If, however, you simply buy a pack, whether it be of thighs, breast fillets or whatever, how do you know what you're getting? Answer - you don't.

So if you don't already know how, learn to joint a chicken. It's not hard. Find a good video here.

That's how today's recipe came to my head. It's not original, and there are many variations. I had a whole chicken, but was fed up with plain roast. I dismembered it, and put aside the breasts and wings for another time. I had two thighs, two drumsticks and the airfryer close at hand.

First question, to remove the skin or not. I decided to take it off. It's very fatty and therefore calorific. I knew I was going to marinade. Many diners will remove the skin and would therefore lose the marinade flavours. After skinning, cut two or three slashes into the flesh of each part.

Tom's Marinade (on whatever day in June it happened to be)

Glug of olive oil; slug of tomato ketchup; good shake of soy sauce; small piece of ginger, grated (no need to peel); couple of cloves of garlic, peeled and grated; drizzle of runny honey; good shake of Tabasco, or other hot sauce; salt.

Stir everything together well and taste. You may want it hotter. Alternatively, for less heat, omit the Tabasco and add some Worcester sauce.

Put the chicken pieces in the marinade (come to think of it, I used the wings as well). Make sure they're well covered with the sauce. Cover the bowl and leave, ideally, for an hour or two, turning once. Some marinades require time to tenderise the meat. There is no such issue with chicken.

To Cook

Preheat your oven or airfryer to 190C. Put the chicken on a preheated tray if using a conventional oven. If cooking in the airfryer, place in an airfryer basket. Reserve any remaining marinade. Turn every five minutes or so, brushing with the remaining marinade.

Your cooking time for the chicken will be about 15 minutes in the air fryer, a bit longer in the oven.

Fried Rice

There aren't many rules to eastern style fried rice. Your rice must be cooked and should be cold. Having said that, don't keep cooked rice too long, as it can develop some rather nasty bacteria.

I am a fan of Rick Stein, but I laughed hysterically in one programme when he purported to give a definitive recipe for Nasi Goreng. That's Indonesian fried rice with a fried egg on top. Fried rice involves whatever you have to hand. For mine, soften veg, chuck in the rice with something wet-ish to flavour it, then add any cooked stuff or fresh herbs at the end. As this was to be the bed for my chicken there wasn't much to go on at the finale apart from some chopped red chillies, and chopped celery leaves.

In essence, this can depend on what you have in the fridge and what you like. Fried rice can be fairly boring. Use any combo you like of soy sauce, tomato ketchup, sweet chilli sauce, Tabasco or whatever to liven it up.

Tom's Fried Rice (on whatever day it happened to be) - Serves 2 - 3

1 mugful of long grain rice, cooked and cooled; 1 small onion, peeled and chopped; 1 stalk of celery, strings removed and chopped (don't throw away the leaves); 1 small pepper (any colour apart from green), deseeded and chopped; 2 cloves of garlic, crushed; 1 chilli of your choice, seeds removed or not, again your choice, very finely chopped; 2 rashers of bacon (why? because they were there) finely chopped; veg oil;  s & p; dark soy sauce.

Optional seasonings - tomato ketchup; sweet chilli sauce; Tabasco.

Optional toppings - finely chopped red chillies, chopped celery leaves; slices of hard boiled egg; crispy fried shallots


Put all the ingredients apart from the rice in a large frying pan or wok (big enough to hold and toss the rice. Soften all the ingredients. Season with s & p and Tabasco if you like more heat. Add all the rice and mix together, with a generous amount of dark soy sauce. I use tomato ketchup as well. Your dish is ready when the rice is heated through.

Top as required and serve with the chicken pieces on top.

Next week, Tom's Food! will be taken up with wild celebrations. Back in a fortnight.

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