How to Cook Cajun Chicken and Beetroot Salad

Hello. I know it’s been a long time. It’s been almost a year. But what I’m intending to do is send a video episode once every three or four weeks, and I want it to be decided by you guys. I want the content to be decided by you guys. I want there to be a competition in the show as well, and a really interesting recipe. So if you are watching this and you’ve got any ideas or things that you just want to see, please let me know.

At the moment, the way the format is is a little introduction by me, I’ll do a little recipe, and at the end, if you were good enough to enter your name into the hat, which you can do by leaving a review on either Google or Facebook, then at the end of each session, we’re going to do a little prize draw. And so look out for that one.

The reason why I haven’t done a show for so long is because we have moved premises, and we’ve spent quite a lot of time and effort setting it up. And I’m about to take you around on a tour. After that, we’re going to do our first recipe, which is a spicy Cajun chicken salad with spring onions and roasted beetroot, and then we’ll do the prize draw. I hope you enjoy this. It is for you. Please let me have any feedback.

So let me give you a tour of the kitchen. There’s going to be a step to the camera, or bounce down. And the first thing is, too, I’m just going to point over there. So we’ve got a concertina partition, which can in theory divide the space, so we can have two venues, two events, rather, going on at the same time. I’m going to take you down to the first kitchen, now.

If you’re doing a team builder cookery session, this space lends itself. Although it’s only set for 20, at the moment, we can have three sections in here and can comfortably do 30. That’s in this section. Next door, we do another 30, and that’s actually a bigger kitchen.

I’ll just show you, if you come down, this is the dining area, and it also has got plenty of flat screen TVs. It can double up as a conference and meeting venue. And quite a lot of contract caterers use this space in the mornings, when we haven’t got corporate team building events on.

This kitchen is much bigger. You can easily get a dozen people in this kitchen beavering away. And similarly, over here, working in pairs and
[inaudible 02:49], we can do certainly a dozen round here in the food prep area behind the setup for pasta making. So that is now how the underground cookery school is looking circa . . . well, in actual fact, in 2013.

Hello. I am going to show you how to make . . . it’s a spicy Cajun chicken salad with roasted beetroot. Certainly the spicy chicken part you can do when you get home from work, and it will take no time at all. The beetroot, a little longer. You’re going to have to put this in. You can add something else if you like. Maybe some [inaudible 03:26], which you can blanch up in water. But I’m going to show you how to do this, because I was at the market this morning, and they just looked very nice. This little beetroot.

So first job is I’m going to get my towel. I’ve got a pan of hot water on the go, and I’m just going to shove these beetroots in that pan. And we’re going to leave them there, and we’re going to forget about them for maybe about five or six minutes. The golden rule whenever you boil anything: put a lid back on, otherwise it takes forever.

And whilst we’re waiting for that, what I’m going to do is show you how to bone out a chicken thigh, and what we’re then going to do is dress it with a Cajun spice. Very, very simple. All you do is just cut, work as close as you can to the bone, working really against it, and then place it on its side and get the bone off. And we’ll do that one more time. And believe you me, it’s that simple. You just straighten it out. Now, the knife is quite important. Try and use a boning knife, something which is quite solid, not flexible, which has got a long point. Because you can really use that point just to probe. There we go.

And there you have your two chicken thighs which have been boned out. Those will go into a bowl. I’m going to add some olive oil. And you know you get those little packets of spice? I mean, this is just a Cajun spice. And just really rub the spice into that. Just give it a bit of flavor. Now, ideally you would leave this possibly overnight. Come back from work the next day and then just pop them straight on the griddle, which is what I’m going to do here.

There are two ways of cooking this. So those go on. You can, I mean, it gets quite smoky. I’ve got an industrial extractor, so it’s fine. But if you just want to put a bit of color on them and finish them off in the oven, you may find that stops your smoke alarm from going off. But all I’m doing here is just getting a bit of color on, like so. And because we’re going to be filming the rest of the dish, it might get a little bit distracting. I’m just going to put everything in here and let’s just cook everything on the [lattice] this, so I’m going to switch it by 90 degrees, just to give it that nice pattern. But this pattern [inaudible 06:19] for morning action, so [inaudible 06:21]. And that goes 90 degrees like that, just to give it that lattice. And look at that. You have that, and turn it over like that. Get those off. Well done. And then we’ll just put those in the oven.

Right. We’re going to take those beetroot off, because they’ve been cooking now for two or three minutes. As [Keith Floyd] once said, “Everybody knows”
I won’t do the accent, but you cook beetroot off with the skins on. And actually, I didn’t know that until he said it, so I felt a bit inadequate. So I’m just going to peel those. If you can wear gloves, or even marigolds, it stops your hands from burning, but also going a funny color.

So what’s going to happen is this. I’m not going to do all of these, because I actually want you to watch this video. But once you peel the beetroot, what you then do is cut it into little wedges, like so, and then place in the bowl. So I’m going to finish these ones off, and then we’re going to stick them in the oven.

I finished off all those beetroot, so actually, what I’m going to do now is add a bit of olive oil, some black pepper. I tend to put salt in at the end of the dish. I’ll taste it when I take it out of the oven, and if I think it needs it, I’ll put it in. Some chopped thyme. Give that an old toss. In the pan it goes, like that. And already, actually, that looks delicious. We’ll slow cook it in the oven for about an hour at 150 degrees. See what it looks like after that.

So I’m just going to finish this dish off now. One of the benefits of doing it, and I have shown this on previous videos, but I do think it’s always worth doing, but I want you to understand how to make the salad dressing on your own. Before we do that, I’m just going to prepare some of these spring onions, which are just bang in season. Give those a little slice on the angle, like that. Set those aside. Add a nice little crunch to the salad.

Right. We’re going to take two things out of the oven. Those are the roasted beetroot, and I’ve also got the Cajun chicken. Now, what we’re going to do is make the salad dressing before we do anything else. And so the salad dressing is going to be some olive oil, probably about 40 tablespoons, maybe one and a half tablespoons of red wine vinegar, and you want plenty of mustard to emulsify the dressing. But before we add that, I’m just going to put a little bit of lemon juice. I’ll take the pits out, because we don’t want those in. And then, finally, that mustard. Let’s give it a good old stir.

So I always think that if you’re doing a salad, put the dressing in first, mix the leaves in, and then go in with everything else. I’ve got plenty of leaves here. Just make sure that they’re nicely ripped up, or even chopped. They can go in, and then I’m going to add those spring onion slices. I’m going to add a little bit of some capers. I mean, these beetroot came out absolutely beautifully. It’s a lovely recipe, this, and you can use it to accompany any dish. Like I said, the only reason I’m putting these in is I think it’ll go nicely with the chicken, but also, I was just at the greengrocer this morning, and I saw them and just thought, fantastic.

Oops. I’m going to use my yellow board. Yellow is for cooked meat. And what we’re going to do is just cut some of this chicken, beautifully cooked, on the angle. That probably was a couple minutes on the griddle and maybe two or three minutes . . . no, not two or three minutes. It was about a minute and a half on the griddle and about 12 minutes in the oven. I’m not going to use all of the chicken. There you are.

So then that goes in. And like I said, this is, for me, a really great way of mixing. Now, you wouldn’t necessarily put the beetroot in this salad if you were cooking this straight after work. And that’s, of course, you made it the day before. But the rest of the things, that’s a meal that you can prepare in minutes. And look at all those chicken pan juices. Well, they can go in as well. For my money, that’s the whole fun of cooking. I should say that with a smile, really, shouldn’t I?

So I’m going to plate up, and then you have your Cajun chicken with roasted beetroot and spring onion salad. And there you have your spicy Cajun chicken salad with roasted beetroot and spring onion. Enjoy.

So, the moment you’ve all been waiting for. We’re going to do a quick prize draw to see who’s won the free pasta machine. Just to remind you, those of you that don’t know, if you leave a review on either Google or Facebook, you go in here. And the winner is, oh, it’s Matthew Migler. Thank you, Matthew. Da-da-da-da! On the next show, should be in about three weeks’
time, we will be doing a very simple girol mushroom dish. Hope to see you then, and thank you very much for watching.