Sunday, 9 July 2017

Strawberry chicken-a recipe.

What quite a few of you won't know is that before I became a horticulturist I was a chef.....
I started off in restaurants and ended up in an exclusive nursing home cooking for 40 elderly and mainly lovely older people who had chosen to spend the last years of their lives somewhere they would be looked after properly and well. I helped out in the gardens too and ran a little gardening club.....

Anyway every year we held events for the residents, their families and the friends of the home group, and one year we decided on a strawberry themed event. 
Easy I hear you say but not that easy when you've promised an entire menu that includes strawberries in every course! What on earth do you serve as a main with the knowledge that most older people aren't keen on salad?
And then Hugh Fernley Whittingstall came to the rescue! Strawberry chicken was a recipe on one of the early River Cottage series and so I decided to trial it in the menu to see how it went down.
Older folk tend not to like anything new so there was only a small take up but my usual guinea pigs took up the challenge. I had already trialled it with some of the care staff who had definitely enjoyed it so off we went. 
The guinea pigs lapped it up, especially my dear old pal Frank who was always up for trying something new, and so we decided that it would go on the strawberry lunch menu.
So how do you make it? Well it's very easy. 
Take enough chicken breasts to feed however many people you're feeding and roast in the oven, making sure it's well seasoned. You can use chicken quarters too.
Once they're cooked, pop the chicken on a plate and cover with foil to keep hot and then make a gravy using the juices in the pan, mixing in some chicken stock at about 150ml per person, and thickening it with some cornflour. Once it's thickened to your personal preference, put the chicken back in along with a good slug of cream, a pinch of salt and plenty of black pepper. Leave it on the hob on a really low heat, just enough to keep it all hot, and slice some strawberries. I usually used 4/5 fruits per person. Once sliced pop them into the gravy and just allow them to heat through, and then serve. 
Now what is important in this dish is the seasoning is correct. It needs a good whack of black pepper to cut through the sweetness of the fruit. It's just a great combination and don't scoff until you've tried it!
Firstly a massive thank you to Richard Chivers of who recently wrote a blog around 10 best strawberry recipe,and gave me the idea to write this blog. If you haven't already you should subscribe to his blog. 
I'm going to start posting a few more recipes here too. Sharing things I love and make regularly as well as recipes for preserves, pickles and other things I enjoy. Let me know if there's anything you'd like me to focus on!!



  1. For some curious reason "Strawberry Chicken" made me think of the sketch on Monty Python's Flying Circus with the newsreader Richard Baker saying in a really straight-faced way "Lemon curry?" - do you remember that? BTW I have noticed lots of the dishes in the recent series of The Great British Menu have combined strawberries with fish, which I suspect is repellent!

    1. I'm not sure about strawberries with fish but i did see that too. might give it a miss!! And yes-I do remember that sketch!! Sheer brilliance.