Thursday, 10 March 2016

Rhubarb Triangle 2: Baked chicken thighs in sherry and rhubarb

Despite my profane critique of the 1970s in an earlier blog recipe, there was actually quite a lot to enjoy about that decade. I had a great time growing up then, though hindsight suggests that's as much to do with the fact that I didn't manage to get onto Jim'll Fix It to meet R2D2 and C3P0 as I asked for in a letter. Talk about a lucky escape.

One of the best things I remember was that five minute slot that was the bookend of the children's programmes on BBC1, just before the news on schooldays. That had some truly wonderful animated shorts like The Magic Roundabout, Ivor the Engine, or my particular favourite: Roobarb and Custard. Whereas the Magic Roundabout was suggested to have been influenced by psychedelia and LSD, you could had to suspect a hint of amphetamine, crack cocaine or possibly methamphetamine use in Roobarb and Custard, with it's wobbly, seizure-inducing animation and bright colours. It's got fuck all to do the rhubarb the vegetable, beyond the name.

So here's side 2 of my Rhubarb Triangle (side 1 here). This is based on a dish that Mrs Sweary does with chicken thighs, lemon and white wine that's then roasted in the oven so the chicken skin gets nice and crispy, while the meat is braised in the wine and stays really moist. It's the most easy recipe I think I've made. Apart from toast. Or Pot Noodles.

1tsp runny honey
150ml fino sherry
Juice of half a lemon and the husk sliced into 1cm strips
1 tbsp olive oil
4 garlic cloves, crushed
 ½ a red onion, sliced
2 sticks rhubarb, leaves trimmed off and finely sliced
4-6 chicken thighs with skin on
Salt and pepper

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 2 hours

Combine the sherry, lemon juice, olive oil, honey and pour into a shallow oven-proof dish or baking tin (it needs to be big enough so the liquid is deep enough for the thighs to wallow in)

Add the garlic, red onion, rhubarb, lemon rind and garlic

Mix so that there is an even distribution of ingredients

Place the thighs in, skin side up into the liquid

Lightly drizzle a little olive oil on the skin of each thigh (the chicken's, not your own you fuckwit) and a little salt and pepper

Cover the dish with foil and place in a heated oven at 150°C for 1½ hours

Remove the foil and turn up the heat in the oven to 200°C for15-20 minutes to crisp the skin.

Serve the chicken thighs with the braising sauce along with baked, sauteed or Hasselback potatoes (recipe to follow). Alternatively, it makes a good meat addition if you're doing a range of tapas.

With Hasselback spuds and asparagus


Roobarb and Custard was one of the animations made by Bob Godfrey in his very long career. He made various other films for kids like Noah and Nelly and Henry's Cat which all had the same simple artwork, multi-layered humour and great voicework (Roobarb and Custard was voiced by the late Richard Briers). Besides this, he also made animations for the more mature audience like Kama Sutra Rides Again, a humourous take on kinky sex; and Great, an animation about Isambard Kingdom Brunel, which won an Oscar.

Mrs Sweary's original version of this is pretty good too. The major difference is use a full lemon (juice and segments) and throw in a handful of whole garlic cloves in their skins, replace the sherry for a nice dry white wine and leave out the honey and red onion. Mrs S would probably also use less oil (but that's just her way, so I wouldn't). Cook it exactly the same way. Serve with bread so you can spread the cooked garlic cloves on it.

The sherry needs to be decent stuff. Dry and pale. It also makes a good aperitif while you wait for the chicken to cook.

If you have any left over cooked thighs, they are great cold for lunch the next day.

As great as the cartoon Roobarb and Custard was, it was no excuse for this piece of shite rave tune from 1992 which sampled the theme tune

There's another rhubarb triangle recipe in the pipeline and will be posted soon.

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