Summer Lunch for 4 for under €20
1 large onion, with its skin, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1cm lengths
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 sprig of thyme
2 bay leaves
stalks cut from 1 bunch of parsley
Put the chicken into a large saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients and 2 litres of water. Cover, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
Turn of the heat and let the saucepan cool (if you have time). When its content are warm, but not scalding, remove the chicken and let it drain in a colander over a bowl. Put the chicken aside and pour the rest of the saucepan contents through the colander into a bowl. This liquid is no a superb chicken stock.
Now, get the chicken gratin organised. You will need….
PREPARING THE GRATIN:
The chicken, skinned, meat removed from bones, cut or torn into bite-sized pieces.
And the sauce, which goes like this.
a knob of butter
2 onions, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, firmly squashed
250g button mushrooms, sliced
500ml double cream
1 tsp – 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard (according to taste)
50g Parmesan, grated
Preheat the oven to 190ºC, gas mark 5.
Melt the butter in the pan, add the onions and garlic; turn the heat down and cook gently until soft but not browning. Now add the mushrooms, turn up the heat and toss for 2 – 3 minutes.
Add the cream and cook for 3 minutes or until the cream slightly thickens. Now add the mustard and cook for 1 minute. Add the chicken, and allow to heat through. Season with salt and pepper, then pour into a shallow ovenproof dish. If the mixture is too thick or too dry, just add more cream or stock.
Mix the breadcrumbs and Parmesan together and sprinkle evenly over the top.
When you’re ready, pop it into the oven for 15 – 20 minutes, or until browned and bubbling.
MAKING THE WHOLE LEMON TART:
200g plain flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 unwaxed lemons
Make the pastry. Put the flour into a mixing bowl and add the butter, cut into little cubes. With your fingers, mix the two together until it resembles sand. Stir in the caster sugar followed by the egg. Mix together and roll into a ball. If the mixture is too dry, add a teaspoon or two of water. Wrap in clingfilm and put in the fridge for an hour or, ideally, overnight.
To make the filling, slice the lemons thinly, remove the pips and put into a saucepan with the water. Simmer, covered, for 30 – 40 minutes or until very tender. Uncover and when cool blitz in a food processor until quite smooth. Add the eggs and the sugar and pulse until thoroughly mixed.
Take the pastry from the fridge, roll it out and line a 24 cm tart tin (ideally one with a removable bottom), cover with greaseproof paper, fill with baking beans or rice and bake for 10 minutes.
Remove the greaseproof paper and the baking beans. Pour the filling into the case, reduce the oven temperature to 160ºC, gas mark 3.
Bake the tart on the middle shelf for 30 – 40 minutes until the filling has risen and is just starting to colour.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool. This tart is best served warm rather than hot or stone cold, with lightly whipped cream or some crème fraiche.
MAKING THE SOUP:
You will need: the stock from the chicken
50g Serrano ham, cut into very fine ribbons
leaves from the bunch of parsley
Hard-boil the egg. Boil the stock until reduced to about 1 litre. Meanwhile, shell and finely chop the egg. Chop the parsley finely (if you have a mezzaluna, use it). Now, add all of these ingredients to the stock, check the seasoning and divide between four bowls. Serve right away.