I'm becoming increasingly lazy with weekend cooking. Also, my new thing is to marinade things (mostly chicken) in plastic bags left in the fridge. This has always been my mother's thing, and she's getting increasingly indignant that Mary Berry and Nigella seem to have stolen it from her. Also, did you know that you can also freeze chicken in its marinade. Yes to marinading absolutely everything in a bag, overnight.
Fairly recently, the team at Absolute Spice got in touch with me about giving some of their spices a spin. Luckily for them, I was about to place an online order with my usual merchant, so I agreed to trying out some of theirs instead. I can happily report that the ground turmeric and chilli powder I asked for just because I was running low are of good quality. However, what I really wanted to try from Absolute Spice as I've not been all too happy with the ones I've been picking up in the supermarket were their spice blends. Believe it or not, my usually beloved Spice Mountain don't stock a Cajun Spice blend (which I use in my chilli). Also, while I was browsing the Absolute Spice website I stumbled across their Taco Seasoning (which I figured might make a good substitute for the dried herbs and spices when I'm making my Homemade Chicken Fajitas and feeling particularly lazy), and their Peri Peri Spice (because I've always wanted to try Piri Piri Chicken).
So, I suppose I'm supposed to use this space to review Absolute Spice as a place to order your spices. Well, I have no complaints about the service, and you get a good amount of spice for your money. As I said, I like the basic spices, and I think my only complaint is that they come in little plastic packets, which mean you have to have a little jar or container to decant them into once you've opened them. Ironically, I had a few empty Spice Mountain tubs to hand. I've yet to try the Cajun blend (I'll keep you updated), but the Taco Seasoning made a delicious pan of fajitas on a Saturday night with one too many beer margaritas and lime cheesecake to finish. Sadly, I think there were some people at the table who preferred them to my own recipe!
As for the Piri Piri Spice, blended with a bit of oil and a bit or red wine vinegar, it makes for a perfect (and totally delicious) way to do slightly spicy chicken for lazy people. Okay, you might not get the same effect as you would if you were to mince raw chilli and raw garlic for the marinade, but the again who wants to get raw, mushed chilli and garlic all over the fingers? Add to that that chicken wings are really, really cheap.
I will admit to shamelessly lifting the recipe for the Caramelized Garlic Yogurt here from Simply Nigella. I will also admit to still being absolutely obsessed with that book, I've cooked more recipes from it this year than I have anything else. You can cook the garlic by itself before the chicken in the oven, but I just threw it, foil wrapped into the AGA while I was cooking my weekend Full English. The same would go with any hot oven cooking something else. The measurements I've put below make a little bit extra; it is delicious with any marinaded chicken or pork which has been bathing in garlic for a couple of hours.
For the Piri Piri Chicken
- 1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
- 4 tbsp Light Olive Oil
- 3 tbsp Piri Piri Spice
- 8 Chicken Wings
For the Caramelized Garlic Yogurt
- 200g (7 oz) 0% Greek Yogurt
- 1/2 Garlic Bulb
- Sea Salt
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil and piri piri spice. Transfer the chicken wings to a large plastic bag, and pour over the marinade. Press any air from the bag and tie a knot in the top. Massage the bag to make sure all of the chicken is well coated in the marinade, and stash in the fridge for at least an hour, but preferably overnight.
Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees (430 farignheight). Wrap the garlic, still in its skin in a piece of tin foil, with the top still poking out of the top a little. Roast the garlic package for 45 minutes. The little bits poking out of the top should have started to char. Remove from the oven, open the foil and allow to cool a little.
Meanwhile, remove the chicken from the fridge to bring it up to room temperature, and spread the wings out across a foil lined (read: washing up dodging) baking tray.
Once you've taken the garlic out, put the chicken in the oven for 20 minutes, until the skin is golden and slightly crispy, and the juices from the chicken run clear if you stick a sharp knife into the fattest part. Let these sit for 5 minutes before serving so you don't burn your fingers!
When the garlic is cool enough to touch, squeeze the soft, caramelized garlic out of its skin clove by clove into the yogurt. Beat well with a spoon until the yogurt is as smooth as possible. Season to taste with sea salt.
Serve with the yogurt on the side garnished with a few grinds of black pepper, and with a scattering of fresh coriander leaves over the chicken if you have any. Remember to serve with some napkins for your fingers, and preferably a couple of cold beers.
In other marinading chicken in bags news, if you live somewhere where it is barbecue weather right now, can I recommend my Skinny Sticky Storecupboard Barbecue Chicken, or my Whole Lemon & Honey Barbecue Chicken Skewers? And for the rest of us who are still stuck inside because in spite of all the of the daffodils and snowdrops poking their heads of of the ground it is still below 10 degrees, these Sticky Pomegranate Molasses Chicken Wings I made for Borough Market's Market Life newspaper last Spring are much more suitable.