Life Food & Drink

Sunday 26 January 2020

Chicken shank with Pumpkin Croque Monsieur, and a Pecan and flower salad

Chicken shank with Pumpkin Croque Monsieur, and a Pecan and flower salad
Chicken shank with Pumpkin Croque Monsieur, and a Pecan and flower salad

From Tim Anderson, MasterChef 2011 champion. Preparation time: 40 minutes. Cooking time: 35-40 minutes. Serves four.


For the shanks 4 chicken legs

Salt and white pepper

Pinch smoked paprika

Pinch ground coriander

1 tbsp avocado oil

Knob of unsalted butter For the sauce 150g/5½oz cherries, pitted

300ml/10fl oz chicken stock

4 tbsps Bourbon or rye whiskey

3 tbsps dry white vermouth

3 tbsps red vermouth

4 tsps orange juice For the croque monsieur 350g/12oz pumpkin, peeled,

deseeded, and diced

1 tbsp avocado oil

4 slices white sandwich bread

2 slices of Iberian ham

2 slices Pont L'Eveque cheese

25g/scant 1oz unsalted butter, softened For the crackling 250g (9oz) lard

Reserved chicken leg skins For the salad 50g/1¾oz roasted pecans

Small handful chervil

Small handful dill

Small handful sage

Small handful edible flowers

2 tsp avocado oil

1 tsp lemon juice


Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Skin the chicken (reserving the skins) and trim to reveal the bottom portion of the bone. Rub the salt, spices, oil, and butter into the chicken.

Bake for 15 minutes or until browned and just cooked through. Remove from the oven and leave to rest.

For the sauce, put the cherries and stock in a saucepan, bring to the boil and reduce by half. Press through a fine sieve.

Combine the whiskey and vermouths, heat in a small pan, and flambe until the flames die down. Add the orange juice and reduce by two-thirds.

Combine the whiskey mixture with the stock mixture and reduce by a further one-third until glossy.

Now make the croque monsieur. Toss the pumpkin in the oil and season with salt. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or until completely tender.

Blitz in a food processor into a thick puree, leaving some chunks.

Make sandwiches with the ham, cheese, and pumpkin puree, buttering both sides of the bread with the softened butter.

Trim the crusts from the sandwiches and pre-heat a griddle over high heat. Griddle the sandwiches for two minutes on each side until golden, and the cheese has melted and is beginning to ooze out.

Cut each sandwich into four small triangles and serve two triangles per person.

Prepare the crackling. Melt the lard in a saucepan. Fry the reserved chicken leg skins until crisp and golden. Drain on kitchen paper, then break into small pieces.

When ready to serve, make the salad. Halve the pecans and tear the chervil, dill and sage, then combine in a bowl with the edible flowers.

Toss with the avocado oil and lemon juice and season with a little salt.

To assemble the dish, spoon a ring of sauce on to four serving plates. Place a triangle of croque monsieur in the middle of each plate and place the chicken on top of it.

Scatter tiny bits of salad and crackling around the edge in a delicate pattern.

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