Monday, 2 June 2014

Chicken with Grapefruit Sauce - a throwback to the 1970s

As a child growing up in the 1970s I was exposed to all kinds of weird, wonderful and, dare I say, exciting food...Angel Delight, Dream Topping, Vesta Chow Mein, Arctic Roll and Smash instant mashed potato to name a few. I've come to the conclusion that being fed these instant foods explains why I now crave good, home cooked food that doesn't contain a whole lot of additives and E numbers. I probably overdosed on them as a child!

Despite my memories of all these dehydrated foods (just add water) I do think that the 1970s was the decade where good, interesting food began to emerge and started to capture the imagination of the masses.  Although I don't remember any of these dishes making it to our dinner table until the '80s at least, I wanted to share just a few of the foods that were really popular at the time and that, for me, define 1970s cuisine:

Duck a l'orange
Trout with Almonds
Prawn Cocktail
Beef stroganoff
Chicken Kiev
Scampi (with chips in a basket)
Coq au Vin
Baked Alaska
Black Forest Gateau
Vol au Vents
Lobster Thermidor (but only if you were particularly well-heeled)
And who could forget... cheese and pineapple on cocktail sticks stuck into a potato or an orange covered in aluminium foil!

This recipe has something about it that takes me back to the days when pairings of meat and fruit were seen as the height of sophistication. It isn't from a 1970s cookbook - I have adapted it from one that appears in one of my favourite cookbooks 'Cooking Outside the Box' by Keith Abel (of Abel & Cole fame) from 2006. The original recipe uses blood oranges to flavour the sauce but I've made it with grapefruit instead. The sauce is sharp and fruity and goes really well with pan-fried chicken - delicious! 

If you would like to try this, make sure to get the full experience by putting on some music from c1976 to listen to while you eat it!

Chicken with Grapefruit Sauce

Serves 2

1 tbsp butter
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 tsp flour
50ml white wine
Juice of 2 grapefruit
Salt and pepper
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil

1. Make the sauce first by melting the butter in a frying pan and gently fry the onion until it is translucent. Stir in the flour and cook for a further minute then add the wine and the grapefruit juice.

2. Season with salt and pepper and allow to simmer for approximately 10 minutes until it thickens. Remove from the heat and keep warm.

3. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and fry them in the olive oil for 6-8 minutes per side, or until they are thoroughly cooked through. This will depend upon the size of the breasts. 

4. Once cooked, transfer to serving plates, carve and serve with the grapefruit sauce poured over.

Delicious with spinach, sauteed potatoes or buttered cabbage.

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