Thursday, 18 September 2014

Fancy Chicken And Salad

As well as being the first birthday of eat quaff laugh this week, I've also had my parents over to stay, so it's been a great chance to cook up some nice meals and open some lovely wines.

I picked up the recipe for last night's dinner years ago, and I've finally got around to making it.

The vincotto and orange glaze on the chicken was beautiful - slightly sweet, but with a hint of bitterness as well. Served with the rocket, feta, red grape and caramelised walnut salad, it was just delicious. I ended up only needed a very small amount of the glaze, so you could either make half the recipe, or put it in the fridge to use another time.

I think this recipe is definitely going to become my go-to dinner in summer. While the walnuts do take a bit more time to prepare, you can make them in advance. I didn't use up all of mine in the salad, as I thought it might make it too sweet, so now I have leftovers to make a fancy dessert. Never a bad thing!

For a more interesting salad to take to a BBQ or gathering, make the salad by itself, without the chicken. Much more interesting than potato salad or coleslaw. Instead of chicken, you could always use lamb or pork. Crispy skinned duck fillets would be fantastic too.

With the warmer weather on the way, now is the perfect time to try this for a weekend lunch or dinner.

Vincotto Chicken With Rocket, Grape and Caramelised Walnut Salad

Caramelised Walnuts
100g walnuts
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/4 cup water

Cover a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper.
Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan.
Stir over low heat until the sugar has dissolved, then simmer over medium heat without stirring.
Watch the mixture carefully as it can easily turn from clear to burnt in the blink of an eye!
Remove from the heat when it turns golden brown, add the walnuts and stir to coat in the caramel.
Quickly pour the walnuts and caramel onto the baking tray and spread out into a single layer.
Allow to cool, then break into small pieces.

1/2 cup vincotto
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 Tbs honey
1 galric clove, finely chopped
1 tsp soy sauce (or to taste)

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan over low heat.
Stir until the honey dissolves, then increase the heat and simmer for about 1 minute.
Taste and add extra soy sauce, if needed.

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 Tbs verjuice or white wine vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine.

4 chicken breasts
3 cups of rocket leaves
1 medium bunch of red grapes, stems removed
100g soft feta (Danish is perfect), diced

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Using a meat mallet, beat the chicken into roughly 1 1/2cm thick pieces.
Place chicken on a baking tray and brush liberally with the glaze. Turn and brush the other side.
Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
During cooking, brush with the glaze another couple of times.

In a large bowl, combine rocket, grapes and feta.
Gently toss to combine with the dressing.

To serve, place salad on the plates, top with a handful of walnuts and one piece of chicken.


And To Drink....

Last night we were a bit greedy and decided to open two bottles of wine. A bit fancy on a school night,  I know!

Mum and Dad live interstate, so I don't get the chance to see them very often, so opening good wine when they visit makes perfect sense. Champagne is obligatory for family dinners and what better bottle to open than a Champagne Jacquesson Cuvee no 735. This wine was based on fruit from 2007, so had a few years of extra complexity to it.

This Champagne was delicious! Yeasty and toasty with some acidity and lemony flavours. It wasn't overly heavy and was the perfect aperitif to have with some cheese before dinner. 

I could certainly drink a lot of this Champagne!

The second bottle we opened was a Turkey Flat limited release 5 month skin contact Roussanne. This wine was only released to the public last week and I managed to snap up three bottles, which were delivered yesterday. The fruit came from the Barossa Valley in South Australia.

Having 5 months skin contact, made this a lovely golden colour with beautiful stone fruit, honey and quince characteristics. There was still some acidity, but the overwhelming flavour was of being in an orchard at spring time. The sweetness perfectly complemented the glaze on the chicken, the caramelised walnuts and the salty feta.

This was a wonderful wine combination, that I hadn't even planned. I'm so glad I have another two bottles left to experiment with on another occasion.


  1. Amazing combination of flavours - I'm always looking for ways to use Vino Cotto as I love it and will definitely give this one a try. Sounds delicious.

  2. Yum yum. This would be sensational. Have you tried making your own vincotto? I heard a rumour that it's just reduced grape juice x

  3. I've never tried making my own vincotto, but would be interested in finding a recipe now. I hope you enjoy this salad as much as I did. It was delicious!

  4. Congratulations on your first birthday! I love a good chicken salad, can't wait to try this one. Thank you for linking up with us for Fabulous Foodie Fridays, I hope you are having a great weekend.

  5. The roussanne sounds delish. Not enough being done in Australia I say! I took a bottle of '09 Tahbilk to a blinded wine club and peeps of all different levels of wine nerdery love it.

  6. Rousssanne is lovely and this one was a little bit different to the usual sorts. Tahbilk make some wonderful wines. I love their Marsanne too.