I find cooking so cathartic. After a long day at work, there’s nothing that helps me unwind more than chopping vegetables, preparing food and following a recipe through to the moment where a dish of delicious food is sat steaming on the dinner table. I find that methodical process of following a recipe really clears my head, and I love going through my recipe books and bookmarking new things to try. Tom and I have started a new tradition where every week one of us finds a new recipe and cooks something really special – last week Tom did a steak and ale pie, and this week I did a smoked haddock and bacon chowder. Making hearty, warming, nutritious dishes is just so satisfying, especially when there’s enough leftovers to last you through the week. We always eat at the dinner table and tuck into our food whilst reflecting on and discussing the day; rarely are there phones at the table or is the TV on – dinner time is our time for savouring our food and catching up.
But what do I not enjoy about cooking? Well, the cleaning up of course! I must admit that Tom and I always have a little squabble about who should do the clearing away once our bellies are full and we’re in that slightly snoozy post-dinner comfort zone. So when Oven Pride got in contact to help me make a delicious dinner; and get the cleaning up done afterwards, I was sold!
They sent me a lovely red casserole dish, a voucher for buying some ingredients, an orange oven glove and a big ol’ pack of Oven Pride so I could keep my oven clean and shiny after its stint helping me whip up some culinary treats. They also sent me a recipe card with four menu options – a hearty and warming stew, some meatballs with baked beans, gingerbread biscuits and crusty bread.
I chose ‘Chicken and Tuscan Bean Stew with Chorizo’. I’m a huge fan of chorizo and parma ham and I haven’t tried making a bean stew before so I was really looking forward to whipping up this treat, it sounded like the perfect warming winter meal; like a hot water bottle in a casserole dish!
I am one of those people that likes to get all of their ingredients out and their vegetables chopped before they start cooking. Mainly because I despair of that moment where you’re halfway through a recipe and you realise you’ve forgotten that key ingredient. Also because sliding a bowl of chopped, prepared vegetables into a saucepan makes me feel like I’m on a cookery programme!
I’ve pasted the recipe below the photographs – I had a rather snazzy laminated recipe card so I’ve borrowed an electronic version of the recipe from another blogger (Heather) who recently cooked the dish at an Oven Pride event with Cheshire Cookery School and kindly replicated the recipe. My only amendment to the recipe card was that I wrapped my chicken in the parma ham rather than rolling it and putting it on top.
My favourite bit about the recipe card was that, near the end of the recipe (when you’ve popped everything in the oven) it tells you that you have 15 minutes to clean down your work area and prepare your plates and dinner table. This is the moment where I normally set the timer and go off and check my emails so this gentle reminder was actually very helpful, and saved that last minute panic where the timer starts going off and I’m grabbing plates out of the cupboards and yelling upstairs for help!
The best bit? After tucking into our utterly delicious dinner, we both looked up from our empty plates to a spotless kitchen! No bickering about who would don the rubber gloves, and instead a much-needed migration to the sofa.
Chicken and Chorizo Tuscan Bean Stew
Cook time: Total time:
- 2 chicken breasts
- 2 slices of parma ham
- 100g of mixed beans (soaked over night if using dried beans)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 25g butter
- 1 chopped onion
- 1 garlic glove
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 100g chorizo
- 1 stick of celery – diced
- 1 carrot – diced
- 2 medium potatoes – diced
- 1 red pepper – deseeded and diced
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tin chopped tomatoes
- 200ml chicken stock
- Sea salt and pepper
- Pre heat oven to 400f/200C/gas 6
- Rub chicken breasts with olive oil and season with salt and pepper and a dash of the smoked paprika. Place them breast down on a baking tray and add a small amount of the stock – just enough to stop the chicken from sticking. Put to one side.
- Put a splash of the olive oil into a large pan or casserole dish and heat over a medium heat.
- Soften the onions for 4-5 minutes, add the garlic, chorizo and smoked paprika and cook for an other 2 minutes.
- Add the tomato puree, carrot, celery, red pepper and tomato and stir to coat the vegetables in the flvoured oil.
- Add the stock and tinned tomatoes.
- Simmer for about 30 minutes until all the vegetables are cooked through.
- Meanwhile put the chicken in the oven for 15 minutes.
- Remove chicken after 15 minutes, turn over and placed rolled parma ham on top. Return to the oven for 15 more minutes.
- Serve the bean stew in a bowl with the chicken sat on top and eat with warm sough dough bread.
The following morning I took the opportunity to whip out my pack of Oven Pride in order to bring the oven back to its former glory. I’ve used Oven Pride several times before (it’s a must-do every time you’re moving in or out of a new home for starters!) and always found it brilliant, it’s amazing just how clean it gets everything and how it blasts away months (years even!) of ingrained dirt. Luckily I managed to delegate this task on the grounds that I had to take some photos for this blog post. Bodhi ensured the job was being done up to standard though….
What are your favourite winter warmer dishes? Are you good at donning the rubber gloves after dinner or do you prefer to leave it until the next day?