Last week I did a review of Joe Wicks Lean In 15 followed by me trialing 3 different recipes. This week, I will be doing my review of the Hairy Bikers: Hairy Dieters Book 1. I could not wait to dig my little claws into this book as I absolutely ADORE the Hairy Bikers. I drove my husband mad when I was pregnant as they were pretty much all I would watch. I think this contributed to my daughters mad giggles when she sees them on TV, sorry not sorry.
The first recipe I chose to make was the Spanish Style Chicken Bake. This made my belly rumble when I read the recipe because not only does it include my favourite meat but also chorizo. I haven’t cooked with chorizo since I moved to the UK nearly 6 years ago, partly out of fear that it wouldn’t taste the same as it did back in America. After making this, I don’t care if it doesn’t taste the same. Welcome back to my palette, chorizo! Aside from that, for only 370 calories per serving including potatoes you genuinely cannot go wrong.
This is quite a simple recipe for as nice as it looks. I always associate really nice food to be complicated and time consuming. Granted, this was time consuming. I started prepping the food around 6:15pm and didn’t eat until just after 8pm. Totally worth it though! With that said, this is definitely a weekend meal when I have the time to set aside for it undisturbed.
The recipe calls for the following ingredients:
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into wedges
- 1 medium red onion, cut into wedges
- 500g new potatoes, quartered lengthways
- 8 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled
- 8 medium tomatoes, quartered
- 75g chorizo
- 8 boneless chicken thighs
- 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into strips
- salt and pepper
You know me by now, some substitutions were taken. I did use chicken thighs, mostly, but they were bone in. I wasn’t about to spend an arm and a leg at my local store to get boneless chicken thighs, so I bought a bag of 6 thighs that were bone in. All this meant was it was a bit more difficult to eat. I also tossed in 2 chicken breasts to make up the missing 2 chicken thighs. I would suggest using boneless if you can, or all chicken breast, as it got annoying trying to pick the meat off the bone. I also didn’t read the directions correctly when prepping and peeled the garlic, but this didn’t cause a problem as we love garlic in our house and ate it happily whole. My smoked paprika also wasn’t sweet and frankly I don’t think this mattered at all.
All that aside, time to dig in! I read the recipe ahead of time, as you do, and knew this had a few steps through the cooking process. So I set off into the kitchen around 6:15 to start prepping and preheated the oven to 200c. I’ll take 5 minutes off the time for the fact I sliced my thumb open when chopping the onions and required a plaster so I didn’t bleed on everything. The first step of the recipe is to throw all the veggies, bar the pepper, into the roasting pan and toss in the oven for 20 minutes. This timed nicely with story time before Naomi went to sleep, bonus.
After a few books and kisses, I came back downstairs to prep up the chorizo and chicken. Chorizo prep was fine, take the skin off and slice it up. The sliced chorizo then got mixed in with the now roasted veggies. Now to the raw chicken, ew. I’ve said before that I hate handling raw meat. Chicken is the worst, especially when it has skin on. I was gagging away while I “slashed” my chicken as requested. Once that was done, the chicken went on top of the veg and back in the oven for another 20 minutes.
At this point I was whinging to the mister about how pointless it was spending this much time on a meal I couldn’t taste. Regardless, back in the kitchen I went to finish the last step of the recipe. I spooned the juices from the pan over the chicken. I was tempted to shove my face in the pan at this point. I didn’t though, I don’t fancy contracting salmonella along with this cold from hell. Finally, I cranked the oven up to 220c, tucked the sliced green pepper with the veg and put it all back in the oven for, you guessed it, another 20 minutes.
When I pulled the roasting tray out of the oven I was blown away. Okay yes, from the heat of my fan assisted oven, but also from the look of the meal. It just looked picture perfect. It’s not often my food comes out looking as good as it tastes and I got a bit worried I had it reversed and it was going to look better than it tasted. I was wrong, it tasted as good as it looked! Well, I say tasted, I still cannot taste a thing. The hubs, however, said it tasted amazing. Even though my taste buds have gone AWOL, the way it ate was fantastic and I could tell it tasted great. I actually felt I was eating a restaurant meal, minus the toy cluttered lounge and rugby on the telly.
The only downside for me was how long it took to make. Mind you, I love cooking so I wasn’t that bothered by it. I suppose I was more annoyed that I was limited on when I could make this meal. For us, weekday meals need to take less than 45 minutes from prep to shoveling in our gobs for the fact we’re battling against when we get home from work and getting to bed at a decent hour. This is definitely a Saturday night only meal for us. On the other hand, this was worth every minute it took for me to make. Swings and roundabouts, am I right?