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Bread, it's such a wonderful food.
It's so nutritious and versatile, so versatile that you don't have to eat it fresh,
it can be used slightly stale in such terrific dishes as the Consuming Passions Chicken in a Box.
A sort of pie without pastry. First to the bread.
A large loaf of bread has the crusts cut off. And look for a real bread, one that has weight and substance.
And the crusts may be made into breadcrumbs. Nothing is wasted.
Once de-crusted, the bread is cut into large cubes, one per person.
Then I cut in a square, into each one leaving a centimeter or so all around and I pull out the centers.
Scraping out the breadcrumbs which will be used in the recipe.
Now you could try doing this with fresh bread but you might find the whole thing falling apart on you.
Try not to cut right through to the board you still need to leave the base on the bottom of the box.
Now the cavities don't have to be too neat.
Once done the box is coated with a little oil, olive oil preferably, either by brushing or you could use one of those clever sprays.
And they are put into the oven, about 200 degrees c until they are just brown and crispy on the outside.
To the chicken, I use boneless skinless meat from the leg which I cut into small pieces.
And that is ready for cooking.
Now into a pan I put a mixture of milk and chicken stock. 50 50 mixture and I heat it up.
Then I add very finely chopped onion, a few cloves just 3 or 4.
And I cook for a few minutes to reduce. Then I add breadcrumbs, the breadcrumbs I scraped out of the boxes.
Crumbling them in just like this.
This will make a sauce just like a traditional bread sauce which used to be served with chicken and turkey in old England.
In fact bread was commonly used as a thickener for sauces. And I stir in a good quantity of finely chopped parsley.
You could use thyme or marjoram or even a mixture.
Now to the chicken pieces, they could cook in the bread sauce but to keep more control over the cooking the chicken, I like to either pan fry or steam.
Pan frying in a little oil.
And I also like to put in a little reduced salt soy sauce for color and flavor.
It's best to not overcook the chicken nor should it be undercooked.
Check it from time to time.
Now of course you could just about put anything in one of these little boxes for instance fish or even some stir fried vegetalbes.
They work very well indeed.
Now once I'm happy the sauce is thickened enough for my liking I look for the cloves and remove them.
If you find that the sauce is not as thick as you would like it you can always add a little corn flour mixed first with some cold milk.
Stir in the chicken pieces and then fill the boxes hot from the oven.
And that's Chicken in a Box.
Degree of difficulty, low to medium.
Preparation time, about 25 minutes including cooking.
Keepability, best eaten immediately.
Time to serve, I put down on a warm plate a bed of mash potatoes, topped with chicken in a box.
And some extra chicken and some extra sauce, possibly a garnish of a little parsley.
And there it is, great energy food, terrific for children, high in carbohydrate, high in protein and for grownups only, why not a glass of a dry Australian white wine.
It would be absolutely perfect, from Consuming Passions, till next time, Bon Appetit.