Auntie Dote’s Spanish Captain Chicken
Every now and then someone on Twitter is good enough to take the time to write a recipe for us and I happily host them on the blog.
This week @AuntieDote has kindly shared some of her memories with us and I am getting hungry transcribing the recipe. I swear I can smell it! But you be the judges.
“When my kids were smaller, I worked on Killybegs pier as a ship’s agent, & met all sorts. I invited a ship’s captain to come & eat with us, once, & he agreed if we let him cook.
He asked for a whole chicken & a bottle of white wine (plus anything we’d want to *drink* 😉 ). Which I brought home for him.
Watching, smelling & tasting his chicken dish, made an impression on us all & both lads have asked for the recipe to take to college with them.
We’ve since played around with his basic recipe & played endless variations on it. It has turned out to be a very tasty way to use very cheap cuts of fish or meat.
Our captain took a sharp knife to the whole chicken & in a couple of deft moves reduced it to bitesize pcs. I could never do that, altho the butcher is happy to, if asked… also trays of pieces, like the one I bought at Lidl will work. This can also work with cheaper cuts of pork, beef or lamb or any chunky fish…
What to do: Heat some olive oil, butter, beef or lamb dripping, or coconut oil in a thick pan… brown your meat or fish pieces. Use your judgment… fish won’t need more than a minute… chicken/beef/lamb four or five minutes.
Our captain stuck to potatoes, onions & garlic, keeping everything very chunky. We love our veg & will add whatever we can pick or find.
What to do:
Heat a bit of oil or fat in what will be your final cooking pot… while meat browning, toss & stir fry your veg pieces (no need to cook them through, just start them off)- I’ve got carrots & turnips here that I just found in the garden, plus onions & garlic… I’ll add brocolli later, just for last ten minutes…
Oh, the meat’s nicely browned, so place the pieces on top of veg & switch off the heat under heavy pan.
Our captain used a whole bottle of white wine at this stage (which “himself” goggled at, a bit)…
I’ve usually stuck to between a third & half a bottle – cause I’m cheap – but have had good results from cider, or other beverages, too. Today I’m using Coors beer, courtesy last party held in the house.
What to do: Pour into the pan you just used for browning meat or fish, and mix thoroughly to retain all the flavours. Look into your store cupboard to see if there’s anything interesting to add (our captain didn’t btw)… today I’m adding a spoonful of tikka paste & cleaning out the remains of a jar of homemade chutney. Use what you’ve got to suit your own tastes. Stir all together & then add liquid to cooking pot, pouring it over veg & meat pieces.
Add water, if necessary, to cover meat/fish pieces, bring to the boil. Then cover pot tightly with a lid, turn heat down low & leave to simmer for a minimum of:
fish – 1 hour
chicken/pork – two hours
beef/lamb – three hours
Longer is no problem at all!
1) soft veg: brocolli, shredded cabbage, peppers, & suchlike, can be added 10-15 min before serving if you want them to keep their colour, texture.
Our captain added these at the start, and as you see, I haven’t. We tend either to add leftover cooked potatoes at the end, again 10-15 minutes before serving, or to cook a separate pot of potatoes to coincide with planned serving time. But if you are only cooking for a couple of people & have room in your pot, you can add chunks of potatoes in at start with carrots & such.