I tried to get a bit cheffy with this dish last night to impress the missus, piling this delcious chicken on a bed of creamy mashed potato before finishing it with a moat of spicy butternut squash emulsion drizzled (or, more like, slopped) around the plate. Sadly, she wasn’t. Oh hum, such is life. I guess she likes to see her meat and two veg in all their glory!
2 free-range chicken breasts
5-6 cloves of garlic
300ml skimmed milk
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp dried curry leaves, crushed
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp olive olive
FOR THE SQUASH EMULSION
1/2 butternut squash, chopped into chunks
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cm piece of ginger, finely chopped
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp mild curry powder, or hot, if you prefer
500ml chicken stock
1. Bring a small saucepan of water to the boil and blanch the garlic cloves, still in their skins, for 5-10 seconds. Repeat this three times, changing the water each time. This will remove the bitterness from the garlic.
2. Empty the saucepan of water, then add the milk. Gently poach the garlic cloves in the milk for 25-30 mins, until very tender.
3. Remove the garlic from the milk and discard the milk. Carefully squeeze out each clove from its skin, then discard the skin. Bash the garlic to a pulp in a pestle and mortar.
4. With your fingers, carefully lift the skin away from each chicken breast to create a pocket. Spread a teaspoon of the garlic pulp onto the flesh, then sprinkle a teaspoon of the garam masala onto that, then the crushed curry leaves.
5. Bring the skin back over to completely cover the flesh and the filling. Season the skin with salt and pepper.
6. Wrap each chicken breast in two layers of Clingfilm, ensuring it is completely sealed. Set the Sous Vide water bath to 80C, then immerse the breasts in the water for around 25-30 mins. After this time, remove the breasts from the bath and cool in the fridge for around 1 hour.
7. In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil and fry the chicken skin-side down for approx. 10 mins until the skin is very crispy and the flesh has cooked all the way through. I like to live on the wild side and so eat my chicken with a tiny bit of blush pink on the inside. I’ve never experienced any ill effects (so far), which I put down to using high quality chicken.
8. When the chicken skin is crispy, remove from the frying pan and leave to rest for a few minutes before carving into thick, meaty chunks.
FOR THE SQUASH EMULSION
Add a little oil to a saucepan and stir-fry the squash, onion and ginger until everything starts to soften, approx. 5-7 mins. Add the turmeric and curry powder and stir for a few seconds before adding the chicken stock. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for approx. 20 mins, until the squash starts to break down. Remove from the heat then with a hand-belnder, blitz everything to a liquid consistency. Return to the heat then continue to simmer until the puree starts to thicken. Turn the heat down to the lowest possible, then add the butter and whisk in until the emulsion becomes thick and gloopy.
Make some mashed potatoes with butter and double cream, then pile the chicken chunks on top. Drizzle the squash emulsion all around the plate to create a moat.