Chicken from Cork family farm makes a golden roast dinner

Weekend Foodie: Di Curtin's recipes for a delicious chicken, and a Tropical Fruit Bake
Chicken from Cork family farm makes a golden roast dinner

Di Curtin’s Garlic and Chilli Roast Chicken with Sweet Potato Wedges

I FIRST met Eugene and Helena Hickey of Skeaghanore farm back in 2005, when I was researching producers for my book The Creators, Individuals Of Irish Food.

Back then, they were a couple with a young family living in the beautiful area of Roaring Water Bay in West Cork, who had branched into the rearing of ducks and free range geese for the Christmas market.

I’m delighted to say I’m still writing about them! They’ve gone from strength to strength, and with the kids all grown up now and some of them involved in the farm, a second generation is carrying the mantle forward.

Just recently, and I’m ashamed to admit I hadn’t done it sooner, I tried one of their newer products for the very first time.

I managed to get my hands on a plump and gorgeous Skeaghanore farm fresh free range chicken in Field’s of Skibbereen. It was €13 and my word, was it worth every penny!

It fed us amply for one meal and the leftovers were enough to feed us again the next day.

To really get value for money, the carcass and any scraps of meat left on it can be used to make a rich broth to use as the base for soup. Gorgeous.

Skeaghanore is part of the Neighbourhood Food scheme in West Cork, with stockist lists growing by the day. Check their website at skeaghanore.ie for further details.

These birds need very little adornment to make them taste nice because they taste nice anyway! But I’ve dug out a bit of a cheeky chicken recipe that uses garlic and pickled Jalapeno chillies to add a touch of spice to the flavours.

A great combo for the transitioning of the seasons, when we’re not quite in summer yet — but it’s definitely on its way!

I’m following this meaty treat with a fresh fruit dessert, perfect for a light finale. Tropical fruits are baked with honey and rosewater, which gives a fragrant heady aroma and flavour to the dish. Summery in feel,but served warm in case the sun leaves us lacking!

Garlic and Chilli Roast Chicken with Sweet Potato Wedges

Ingredients (serves 4) 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely crushed 1 tsp dried oregano Pinch of dried red chilli flakes, to taste Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper Half a lemon 2kg Skeaghanore farm fresh chicken 2 large sweet potatoes, scrubbed To finish 1 small fresh green chilli, seeded and chopped Few slices pickled jalapeno chillies, chopped Grated zest of a lemon Method Make the rub by placing the oil, garlic, oregano, dried chilli, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper in a pestle and mortar, or a small herb blender. Blend to a paste.

Rub all over the bird generously, and under the skin of the breast.

Squeeze over the juice of half a lemon, then stuff the squeezed lemon half into the cavity of the bird.

Roast at Gas 5 375 190C for 40 minutes per kilo, plus an extra 20 minutes, covering with foil to start with. Remove the foil about 15 minutes before end of cooking time, to allow the skin to brown. Baste occasionally.

Cut the sweet potatoes into wedges. Drizzle with oil and season. Toss to coat.

To cook, place them around the bird in the same tray for the last 15 minutes of cooking time, basting with the chicken juices, until caramelised and tender. Or roast in a separate tray.

Test the chicken is done by piercing the thickest part of the thigh to see if the juices run clear. If there is any sign of pinkness, return to the oven for a little longer.

Before serving, scatter the top of the chicken with grated lemon zest, chopped fresh green chilli and chopped jalapeno chilli to taste. Serve on a platter surrounded by the sweet potatoes, with vegetables of choice or a salad on the side.

Tropical Fruit Bake

Ingredients (serves 4) 2 ripe mangos (right) Half a pineapple, peeled and 2 tbsp runny honey of choice Few drops of rosewater 4 soft coconut macaroon biscuits Method Halve and stone the mangos by holding the fruit firm on a chopping board with the flat of one hand and slicing the flesh horizontally, keeping the knife blade close to the large flat stone, to cut of a thick of slice of flesh. Turn over and repeat on the other side.

Remove the mango flesh from the skin and cut into slivers. Place in an ovenproof dish.

Peel and remove core from pineapple and cut into wedges. Arrange in dish with mango.

Drizzle over honey and rosewater. Crumble over the macaroon biscuits.

Bake in a pre-heated oven, Gas 5 375F 190C, for 10 minutes, or until the fruits are just tender but not mushy. Pop under a pre-heated grill to char tops.

Serve with natural yogurt for drizzling over.

Weekend Gargle

THIS week-end, I’ve found a lovely red wine which will glug back a treat with this chicken.

The full chicken flavour of a quality bird allows for a red wine, as long as the wine is medium bodied and fruity.

So I’m suggesting Las Moras Dada, an Argentinian red wine made from a blend of grapes.

The softly bramble fruit here is easy in the mouth, ripe, filling and soft. It will handle the spices in the chilli and garlic, without overpowering the white meat of the chicken.

Serve it just on room temperature, to let the juicy fruit flavour come out.

On sale now at Supervalu stores till April 14, down from €13 to €10.

A really good barbecue wine as well, if you’ve already got the coals out.

Drink this with burgers and spicy pork ribs and even smokey barbecued chicken legs.

RECEIPT

RECEIPT MAIN DISH Free range chicken €13 Jalapeno Chillies €2 Garlic €1 Lemon 99c (net) Total: €16.99 DESSERT Whole pineapple €2.29 Mangos x 2 €1.78 Orange Blossom Honey 340g €4.70 Rosewater 250mls €3.50 (approx) Macaroons 220g €2.69 Total: €14.96 GRAND TOTAL: €31.95

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