Sunday, April 25, 2010

Grilled Chicken & Asparagus with roasted Kumara & Creme Fraiche

So here it is: another really delicious, easy midweek meal, this one is also pretty healthy and this is definitely my favourite way of cooking asparagus, it brings out the sweetness of the asparagus but brings a level of smokiness and interest to it. I have discovered Kumara (orange sweet potato) and just love the gorgeous colour. I used Thyme to season the kumara while roasting it and decided to flavour the crème fraiche with it too. You can get this all done within 40 minutes - the longest cooking time is the kumara so get that going first and while it is roasting you can get the rest of the dish done. I have been reading some of my cook books lately and it occurred to me that none of the recipes really explain how to get a whole meal ready at the same time - this comes with experience so if you are a novice cook, this can be the most daunting part of cooking, so throughout my menus and recipes I tend to try and explain how to get the timing thing going!!

For this meal if you get your oven pre-heated and a pot of water boiling before you do anything else you will be halfway to finishing within 40 minutes

To prepare the Kumara:
Preheat your oven to 220C.
I use 1 large Kumara per person
Peel the kumara or sweet potato - you may notice the sweet potato /kumara tends to turn black quite quickly so place the peeled kumara in some water with a little lemon juice to prevent this discolouration - slice the kumara/sweet potato in half lengthways and then into wedges, toss them in the lemon water and then pat dry on kitchen towel. My newest favourite thing is to cook on some baking parchment so I don't have to wash the roasting tray.
Toss them in a splash of extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with fresh thyme and Maldon salt and then pop them into the hot oven and roast 30 - 40 minutes or until soft and golden. I usually turn the kumara only once during roasting about 30 minutes into the cooking time.

Use about 5 - 7 spears of asparagus per person
Once the kumara is safely in the oven and your water is boiling slice about 1cm off the ends of the asparagus and then place them in the boiling water (you are blanching them) and cook for 3 minutes, take them out the water and drain under cold running water
and set them aside - we will grill them just before serving.

Get a griddle pan onto the stove to begin heating up - it needs to be smoking hot. This should take around 5 - 7 minutes. If you don't have a griddle - a pan will do

I usually work on 1 breast per lady and 2 per man, rub them with a little olive oil and season lightly with salt and black pepper - About 20 minutes before the kumara is ready place the chicken breast onto the griddle pan and DO NOT turn them or even try and move them until they are well browned - a good 4 minutes. Turn them over and grill another 4 minutes. They will probably still be a bit pink in the middle so at this point the kumara should have about 10 minutes to go - I then put the breasts into the same tray as the kumara to finish them off and turn the kumara. Now place the asparagus onto the griddle pan and allow to brown all over. Chop a little fresh thyme and add to a tub of crème fraiche - a little squeeze of fresh lemon or lime adds a nice twang.

At this point everything should be ready - You can either plate up individually or place everything in the roasting tray and place it in the centre of the table for everyone to dish up for themselves. The creme fraiche is great for dipping the kumara in!!


  1. Everything sounds great and looked very appealing. I like your math for the chicken and how much to cook, I always stumble here. Want to have more than enough and not run short.