After her own experiences of stress and fatigue, eating well, but not spending too much time in the kitchen, became even more important to cookery writer and chef Katriona MacGregor.
Drawing on her experiences of fresh ingredients from the British Isle’s bountiful larder, Katriona's new collection of recipes are simple, but still imaginative and delicious, putting good ingredients and wholesome food centre stage…
Pork, Courgette and Broccoli Stir-Fry
This takes only minutes to throw together and makes for a light and healthy after-work/ school meal. Turkey or beef work equally well if you want a variation from pork.
Serves 4 – Ready in 20 minutes
285g/10oz Tenderstem broccoli/broccolini
sesame oil, for cooking
450g/1lb minced/ground pork
4 tbsp soy sauce, plus extra to taste
285g/10oz baby courgettes/zucchini, sliced into thin lengths
bunch of spring onions/scallions, sliced
200g/7oz shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1 red chilli, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
5cm/2in piece of root ginger, peeled and grated
12 Thai basil leaves (or coriander/cilantro if you can’t find this), shredded
juice of ½ lime
sea salt and freshly ground
steamed rice or udon noodles, to serve
Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the broccoli/broccolini for about 3 minutes until just tender. Drain then cool under cold running water. Leave to one side.
Heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in a large wok or frying pan and once hot, add the pork. Break it up with a spoon or spatula, stirring continuously for about 5 minutes until it turns opaque. Add the soy sauce, mix well and cook for a further minute. Tip the pork into a dish and leave to one side.
Add a little more oil to the pan and when hot, add the courgettes/zucchini, spring onions/scallions and mushrooms and cook for 2–3 minutes, shaking the pan and stir-frying the ingredients over the heat. Add the chilli, garlic and ginger and stir-fry for another 2 minutes before adding the broccoli/broccolini.
Return the pork to the pan, stir thoroughly and add the Thai basil and lime juice. Taste, adding some black pepper and extra soy sauce if needed. Serve with steamed rice or udon noodles.
Credit Pork, Courgette and Broccoli Stir Fry images as:
© Nourish Books 2016, commissioned photography by David Rose
Spicy, sweet and salty, this classic Italian sauce is full of taste bud-pleasing flavours that will liven up a pack of chicken thighs. Serve with spaghetti, rice or fluffy mashed potatoes and some green vegetables.
Serves 4 – Ready in 30 minutes
rapeseed/canola oil, for cooking
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
8 chicken thigh fillets, halved
2 tsp tomato purée/paste
4 anchovies, chopped
400g/14oz canned chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp capers
150ml/5fl oz chicken or vegetable stock
2 tbsp pitted purple olives
brown sugar, to taste (optional)
freshly ground black pepper
handful of basil leaves, roughly torn, for sprinkling
Heat a little oil in a deep frying pan and add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes until softened, then add the garlic and chilli and cook for another 5 minutes.
Push the onion and garlic to the sides of the pan, turn up the heat a little and add the chicken pieces. Cook for 3–4 minutes, turning until the chicken colours a little and is sealed on all sides. Stir in the tomato purée/paste, followed by the anchovies, tomatoes, capers and stock and bring to the boil.
Place a lid loosely on top of the pan and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through. Add the olives, some black pepper (the capers and anchovies mean you won’t need to add salt) and taste to check the seasoning – add a pinch of sugar if there is any bitterness. Serve with the basil leaves scattered over.
NOTE: If you have leftover cooked chicken from a roast, then use this in place of the raw chicken thighs. Make the sauce as above and add the cooked chicken in the final few minutes.
Image credit for Chicken Puttanesca and One Pot Chicken with Bacon, Leeks and Peas
© Nourish Books 2016, commissioned photography by Andrew Crowley.
One-Pot Chicken with Bacon, Leeks and Peas
This one-pot chicken dish is full of the flavours of spring and takes only 40 minutes to cook. Be generous with the herbs and feel free to add your favourite green vegetables: asparagus tips, sliced baby courgettes/zucchini or broad/fava beans could all be added along with the peas.
Serves 4 – Ready in 40 minutes
rapeseed/canola oil, for cooking
8 skinless chicken thighs
100g/3½oz smoked streaky bacon, sliced
2 leeks, finely sliced
300ml/10½fl oz chicken stock
300g/10½ oz frozen peas
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 Little Gem lettuce, halved and finely shredded
large handful of tarragon, chopped
large handful of parsley, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
steamed wild or brown rice and crème fraîche, to serve
Heat a little oil in a large casserole dish or lidded pan. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and cook on both sides for 3–4 minutes until browned. Do this in two batches, removing the chicken pieces and reserving in a separate dish until later.
Put the bacon in the pan and cook for 1–2 minutes until crispy. Next, add the leeks and turn the heat down slightly, stirring frequently until the leeks have wilted and softened but are still bright green.
In a separate pan, heat the chicken stock until warm. Place the chicken pieces back into the pan with the leeks and pour over the warm stock. Stir well, bring to a gentle simmer, add the lid, and leave to bubble away for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through. Add the frozen peas, stir well, replace the lid and simmer gently for another 5 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Add the Dijon mustard, lettuce, tarragon and parsley and add plenty of black pepper. Stir well, bring back to a simmer, turn off the heat and replace the lid. Leave to stand for a minute or two before tasting to check the seasoning. I serve this in deep bowls with steamed wild or brown rice and a dollop of crème fraîche on top.
NOTE: Chicken thighs (bone in or out) are best for this recipe as they have so much flavour, but you can use four chicken breasts, cut in half if you prefer, or even a whole, jointed chicken. Pheasant or guinea fowl would also work well but be careful not to cook for too long as the meat can dry out very quickly.
Katriona MacGregor is a chef, cookery writer and journalist. Scottish by birth, her first foray into the kitchen was under the helm of Clarissa Dickson-Wright of Two Fat Ladies fame, in her café near Edinburgh. She quickly found herself cooking privately all over Scotland in shooting lodges, private homes and restaurants and fell in love with the Highlands, such a melting pot of wonderful seafood, game and bold flavours where she still draws culinary inspiration from today.
All recipes extracted from: Healthy Speedy Suppers by Katriona MacGregor © Katriona MacGregor 2016 published by Nourish Books, London, Hardback, £16.99