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A Taste of the Winter Sun

I was talking to a friend the other day and we were both saying how long this winter has been. Not joking, it started in October. I think I actually mentioned that in an October post of mine. We had our last day of summer and then winter decided to race ahead of autumn and show it's cold, white face.

Ugh winter. I'm very much ready for spring now. Longer days, pretty flowers, dare I tempt it by saying more sun! Our hot March time jaunt can't come soon enough. I have to say though, I will miss the great veg we get during the winter. Don't get me wrong, I will gorge on aubergines and courgettes and oh so many berries this summer, but I will miss the sprouts and the cavolo nero and the purple sprouting broccoli. Who am I?! I just said I would miss Brussel Sprouts!!!!!

Oh Lordy. Anyway, winter veg makes amazing coleslaw. It's all so crunchy! And so full of chlorophyll. So much so that you can actually taste the chlorophyll. No? Just me? Well I'll go with it because nothing makes me feel healthier. So what do I pair this with? Crispy fried chicken. Oh yea.

To be fair, it's so much healthier eating fried chicken with a good, healthy slaw than with equally fried chips. And, in all seriousness, the chicken tastes better. The freshness of the slaw cuts through any of the grease left over from the frying process and you're not reaching for your sugary, fizzy drink every two bites. I mean, I don't need much of an excuse to eat fried chicken, but this combination gives me a reason to.

Fried Chicken and Winter Slaw

For the chicken:

  • 10 chicken thighs and drumsticks

  • 2 cups buttermilk

  • 1 cup dry polenta

  • 1 cup self raising flour

  • 1 tbsp salt

  • 1 tbsp pepper

  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt

  • 4 cloves garlic, skin on and smashed

  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary

  • 1 bottle vegetable oil

For the slaw:

  • 10 large brussel sprouts

  • 4 spring onions

  • 4 sticks purple sprouting broccoli

  • 4 large carrots

  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

  • 3 tbsp olive oil

  • 1 tsp honey

Soak the chicken in the buttermilk for at least two hours. If you leave it overnight, all the better. This is the kind of recipe where you can almost do everything at the same time.

Pour the oil into a large heavy bottomed saucepan. Put in the rosemary and garlic while the oil is still cold and turn the heat on. I would use a sugar/oil thermometer here. Heat the oil until it hits 180 degrees C.

While the oil is heating up, bread the chicken. On a large tray, mix the flour, polenta, salt and pepper. Coat each piece of chicken well with the dry mixture and set aside until the oil is hot enough. When the oil has reached temperature, take out the aromatics and place the first bits of chicken in. I did three small pieces and two large pieces at a time. Fry for 8-10 minutes ensuring that the chicken is completely cooked when you take it out (use a meat thermometer to look for 75+ degrees C or cut through to the bone to make sure there are no pink bits or red juices).

While the chicken is cooking make the slaw. Peel the carrots and then use the vegetable peeler to make nice thin ribbons of carrot (this is so much easier and prettier than grating it) and put them in a large mixing bowl. Finely slice the broccoli and spring onions and add them to the bowl too. Peel the outer leaves off the sprouts and take the bottom core off, then finely slice them and add them to the bowl. Toss everything together.

In a jar, add the rest of the salad ingredients and shake 'em up good. Pour the dressing over the slaw and mix it all well together.

You can have bread with this meal if you want or you can dig straight in and enjoy - like I did.


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