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Smoked Paprika Chicken Marylands

Chef and clean-living advocate Pete Evans shares this tasty reicpe. He explains why we can have our chicken and eat the skin too!

Smoked Paprika Chicken Marylands

Get super excited when the cooler months of the year come around as this is when I find cooking the most fun. Winter is when we bring out our stock pots, casserole and braising dishes, and cook meals that take little time to prepare but require longer in the oven or on the stovetop. The aromas that fill the kitchen are tantalising.

I have mentioned before that saturated fat is good. Unfortunately, we have been brainwashed over the last 50 years to avoid fat like the plague but guess what? Chicken skin is back
on the menu. 

Dr Walter Willett from Harvard Medical School recently announced he is trying to re-educate people on how the “eating low fat to be healthy” message is a myth – in fact, if we consume healthy fats we are doing our health a huge favour. 

Willett goes on to state that if you are serving chicken then there is absolutely no reason to remove the skin. So I thought I would share with you one of my all-time favourite recipes for a simple, yet impressive, chicken dinner.  

My advice when eating any animal is to search out and find animals that have had a diet that is natural for them – I can’t overemphasise how important this is for your health. Evolving farming practices over the last few decades have seen a dramatic rise in animals being raised/farmed in a way that goes against nature: aquaculture and caged chickens, for example. 

There are a number of issues with this type of farming that I don’t have enough room on this page to explore, but just think about this for a minute: when we contain an animal in an environment that is foreign and unnatural for them and then feed them a diet they are not designed for, then problems start to arise and the animals get sick.

Then they are pumped full of antibiotics and hormones to keep them alive. And guess what? We are the ones who get to consume this tainted meat.

We need to encourage and support farmers and fishermen who raise healthy animals that have the healthy flesh and fats that are beneficial for our own health.

Serves 4

4 organic free-range chicken marylands (about 1kg)

2 lemons – 1 juiced, 1 cut into wedges 

2 tbsp duck fat, coconut oil or other good-quality fat, melted 

1½ tsp coriander seeds, crushed

1½ tsp smoked paprika 

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic, crushed

3 baby fennel bulbs, cut into wedges

2 carrots, cut lengthwise

1 large brown onion, cut into wedges  

½ cup chicken stock or water 

¼ bunch kale, stalks removed and leaves torn 

Season chicken marylands with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place them into a large bowl and set aside.

In another bowl, add lemon juice, duck fat, coriander seeds, smoked paprika, balsamic vinegar and garlic; mix until well combined. Pour marinade over chicken and rub into the skins. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to marinate.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Arrange fennel, carrots, onions and lemon wedges in a single layer in a deep roasting pan. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place marinated chicken on top, and pour marinade and chicken stock over the chicken marylands.

Roast chicken for 35-40 minutes, occasionally basting the chicken with the pan juices until it is cooked through and golden.

Eight minutes before the chicken is ready, gently toss the kale through, mixing it with the juices from the pan to ensure it is well covered and will not dry out and burn. Season and return to oven. 

Serve with cauliflower puree or other accompaniments of your choice.

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