I never knew about the existence of leeks up till a few years ago, and even then, I never actually tried cooking it. This is where the food channel (UKTV Food, or Good Food as it is known now) came in handy. Leeks were used quite frequently in various recipes, and it didn’t take long to let curiosity get the better of me.
Watching leeks being used on tv taught me something important – how to clean them properly. I never knew this, but leeks grow in sandy soil, and naturally pick up a significant amount of dirt… which makes them rather tricky to clean. One good tip I learnt is to slice the leeks down the centre (which enables the leeks to “fan” out), and then to wash them under running water. This has worked well as I have yet to come across any random pieces of sand whilst eating leeks.
This marinade I used for the chicken is our favourite marinade for roast chicken, which we use on a regular basis. It is adapted from a marinade used by Ching He-Huang, whose food I have grown to like in the past year. I had a look at one of her cookbooks in Borders (Chinese Food Made Easy) and it looks good, with beautiful photos and simple instructions. An additional plus is the fact that her book is rated quite highly on Amazon. Definitely a cookbook I may purchase at some point. 🙂
The leeks are inspired by what I saw Jun Tanaka cooking at Taste earlier this year, which I believe was a recipe from his (then) new cookbook. He mentioned that he always tries to cook vegetables in two ways, as it adds a different dimension to the dish. And I have to say he definitely has a point!
Roast chicken with leeks
- 500g chicken drumsticks/breasts, skin on
- Ingredients for marinade:
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1-2 tablespoons chinese five spice powder
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons Shaosing rice wine
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 leeks
- plain flour
- 2 tablespoons butter
- dash of white wine
- Heat the oven to 160°C.
- Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together, and rub on chicken. It can be done a few hours in advance and then left to marinade, but this is not necessary.
- Place the chicken in an oven proof tray (I use my Pyrex tray, which is brilliant) and cook for 1 hour, or till cooked.
- Whilst the chicken is cooking, prepare the leeks. Roughly chop all but half a leek into 2cm lengths, and put aside. Julienne the remaining half of the leek.
- Toss the julienned leeks in some plain flour (sparingly). Shallow fry these in hot oil – I use about 2cm of oil. (I’m not a huge fan of deep frying, but I’m think the leeks would taste nicer if cooked this way!)
- Heat another pan, and cook the non-julienned leeks in some olive oil. 1 minute before the leeks are done, add the butter and white wine (to taste).
- Get a clean plate, and pile the buttered leeks on one side of the plate. Place some deep fried leeks on top of them.
- Lastly, place a piece (or two) of chicken on the other side of the plate, drizzle with the oil from the tray, and season with pepper. Enjoy!
A question: I’ve noticed that some of my photos look somewhat ‘washed out’ on my blog/foodgawker – they look fine on my computer, and look fine when I upload them to my blog posts. But for some strange reason, the saturation seems to drop by about 30% when it’s viewed on the blog, leaving me with rather dull looking photos. I’ve tried bumping up the saturation to overcome this problem, which usually means I’m dealing with radioactive looking colours… but they look fine on the blog. Does anyone know if I’m doing anything wrong?