Lemon Chicken with Olives

Lemon Chicken with Olives

Lemon Chicken with Olives is a simple stew, enhanced by saffron, ginger and cinnamon. It is based on a traditional Moroccan recipe which uses preserved lemons, rather than fresh lemons. The spices are warm, fragrant and gentle and the olives give an extra dimension of flavour to the sauce. The lemon is a fantastic flavour partner for rather than chicken and adds a freshness and vibrancy to the finished dish.

This is one of those brilliant recipes which are easy to prepare, can be made in advance and which are great for a weeknight supper but are also not out of place if you are entertaining. All you need to add is some couscous to soak up the delicious sauce and maybe some green vegetables such as beans, peas or broccoli.

Lemon chicken

What you need to know about Lemon Chicken with Olives

  • Make sure that you cook the onions slowly at the start of the recipe to ensure that they are sweet and caramelised. This will add depth of flavour to your finished dish.
  • The chicken pieces do not need to be browned before you add liquid to the casserole. When I make other chicken stews, I will brown the chicken as I have been taught that this will enhance the flavour. However, I was told many years ago in Morocco that this is not the usual practice when making this type of stew. Removing this stage makes this stew even quicker and easier and so I never do it when making this Moroccan-style stew.
  • The difference between having a so-so chicken stew and a rich and delicious chicken stew is making sure that you reduce the sauce (step 7). At this point you remove the chicken pieces and set them aside so that they do not become overcooked while the sauce is reducing.
  • You can make this recipe in advance and re-heat it.
Lemon chicken

Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

Other simple suppers

This recipe for Lemon Chicken with Olives is one of my regular weeknight supper options. It is easy, tasty and uncomplicated and can be made in under an hour. It can also be made in advance and then quickly re-heated. Although it is simple to make, it is also special enough to serve if I am entertaining. Here are some of my other simple supper recipes.

  • Macaroni Cheese – this is a brilliant make-ahead vegetarian recipe which has a secret layer of caramelised onions and a bit of cayenne to balance its rich cheesiness. Topped with a layer of crisp breadcrumbs it is perfect served with a simple green salad.
  • Creamy Mushroom Pasta – this is simple vegetarian sauce combines mushrooms and chestnuts and lots of garlic. It can be used with any kind of pasta but I prefer it with short pasta such as gigli or penne.
  • Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon – this simple recipe can be made in 15 minutes. Smoked salmon trimmings are combined with fennel and chives and a squeeze of lemon.
  • Moroccan-style Seafood Stew – this simple but luxurious stew combines warm spices with seafood of your choice (prawns, mussels, clams or white fish). Serve with couscous to mop up the delicious juices.

Lemon Chicken with Olives

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Lemon chicken

Lemon Chicken with Olives

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 45
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Stew

Description

This easy Lemon Chicken with Olives and warm spices  is the perfect simple supper recipe.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 2 onions
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves (crushed)
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 kilo free-range chicken legs and thighs
  • A handful of green olives
  • Juice of one lemon

Lemon chicken

 

 


Instructions

  1. If using oven, set to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4 (see point 6)
  2. Peel and chop the onions.
  3. Heat the olive oil in your casserole and add the chopped onions.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook gently for around 10 minutes until the onions have softened.
  4. Add the crushed garlic cloves, saffron, ginger and cinnamon  to the onions. Then add the chicken pieces.
  5. Add sufficient water to almost cover the chicken pieces and bring to the boil.
  6. You can now either transfer the casserole to your oven or cover it and continue to allow it to simmer gently on the top of your stove.   In either case, the chicken will be cooked in 30 minutes. 
  7. Then remove the chicken pieces from the casserole and place in another bowl.  Remove the lid from your casserole and add the lemon juice and olives.  Simmer uncovered on the top of your stove until the liquid has reduced to half its volume.  This will take around 15 minutes.  It will have thickened slightly and will taste rich and tangy. 
  8. Put the chicken pieces back into the casserole and reheat.

Lemon chicken


Keywords: stew, chicken, Moroccan, lemon, olives

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Recipes Made Easy and #Fiesta Friday with Fiesta Friday and  Mollie @ Frugal Hausfrau

Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

Lemon chicken

Seafood Stew

Seafood Stew – Quick and easy Moroccan-style recipe

This Moroccan-style Seafood Stew is one of my favourite recipes. It is extremely easy to make and tastes delicious. I find its cheerful yellow colour always puts me in a good mood. It combines warm spices – cumin, coriander and turmeric – with a bit of heat from cayenne in a rich, creamy sauce brightened with fresh lemon.

It is a regular week-night supper in our house. However, it is also perfect if you are entertaining as it can be made in advance. It is also one of those dishes that people always think are much more complicated and time-consuming than they actually are.

This recipe is based on one that I tried many years ago in Morocco. It is Moroccan-style but I have tinkered with it over the years. I am pretty sure that my version would not be considered authentic by anyone who is Moroccan but I think it tastes pretty good.

Seafood Stew
What you need to know about this Morrocan-style Seafood Stew
  • This stew contains warm spices – coriander, turmeric and cumin – which add a depth of flavour without without much heat. My recipe also includes half a teaspoon of cayenne. If you want something with a bit more spicy heat, you can increase the amount of cayenne to one teaspoon.
  • You can make this stew with lots of different types of seafood depending on what you like and what is available. I generally use a combination of prawns and clams. However, other variations include:
    • Substituting the clams for the same weight of mussels.
    • Just using prawns (in which case you would need to double the quantity to 700 g).
    • Making the dish with white fish (such as cod or monkfish) – you would need 700 g if you serving it on its own or 350 g if you are combining it with another ingredient.
  • I think of this as a “store cupboard” recipe. I buy packs of frozen clams and mussels at the supermarket which I keep in the freezer and use for a range of recipes. Similarly, I generally have frozen uncooked prawns and frozen fish fillets in the freezer. Seafood will defrost quickly so you are ready to go with this recipe within a couple of hours.
  • It is an incredibly quick and easy recipe. Although it sounds quite luxurious (and it certainly tastes like a more complicated dish) it can be thrown together in just over half an hour and is pretty much fool-proof. I often make it as a week-day supper when I am tired, and possibly a bit grumpy, after work and it is guaranteed to improve my mood! All it needs is a bowl of plain couscous – which just involves pouring boiling water over the grains and leaving for a couple of minutes – and maybe some steamed green vegetables.
  • You can make the recipe ahead of time up to step 5. Then when you are ready to eat, you just need to add the seafood and finish with the cream and lemon juice and you are good to go. This makes it a great option when you are entertaining as you can actually spend time with your guests rather than fiddling around for hours in the kitchen. It also looks quite glamorous with its bright yellow colour.
  • You can also freeze the sauce at step 5 point and defrost when required and then add the seafood, cream and lemon juice.
Seafood Stew
Other “week-night” suppers

This Seafood Stew is a store-cupboard recipe which is great for a quick “week-night” supper but is also special enough for entertaining. You might like the following recipes if you are looking for meals that are easy to make when you get home from work but are tasty enough to cheer you up after a long day.

If you need to eat within an hour, then pasta is a good way to go and Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon or Creamy Mushroom and Chestnut Pasta are good options. Alternatively, you may feel like a hit of crisp, buttery pastry such as Asparagus and Herb Cheese Tart or Shallot Tart both of which use ready-made puff pasty and are very quick and easy.

If you have time to prepare ahead of time, the following dishes can be made the day before, kept in the fridge and then warmed through when you get home. Luxurious Macaroni Cheese with Caramelised Onions is a great thing to have waiting for your supper. Similarly, you cannot go wrong with a quiche or tart, such as Feta Quiche with Roasted Peppers, Asparagus Quiche, Beetroot Tart, Butternut Squash Tart with Chilli and Sage, Caramelised Onion Tart, Carrot Tart, Garlic Tart or Smoked Salmon Tart with Prawns.

Moroccan-style Seafood Stew recipe
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Seafood Stew

Seafood Stew

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Stew
  • Cuisine: Moroccan

Description

This Moroccan-style Seafood Stew can be made in just over half an hour.  Its creamy sauce, flavoured with warm spices and freshened with lemon, is both exotic and comforting.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 50 g (2 oz) butter
  • 2 onions
  • 1 bulb of fennel
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • Half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons plain flour
  • 600 ml  (1 pint) fish or vegetable stock
  • 350 g  (12 oz) raw shelled prawns
  • 500 g (1 lb) clams
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons of double cream

Seafood Stew


Instructions

  1. Melt the butter in a large, heavy based frying pan or casserole.
  2. Chop the onions and fennel and add to the pan.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook slowly for 15 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
  3. Add the coriander, turmeric, cumin and cayenne and cook for two minutes.
  4. Add the plain flour, stir to combine and cook for a further three minutes.
  5. Add the stock to the pan and heat gently until the sauce thickens.  This should take about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the raw prawns and clams to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes.
  7. Add the lemon juice and cream just before serving.

Seafood Stew


Notes

You can use other combinations of seafood if you prefer.   You can use just prawns or substitute white fish (such as cod or monkfish).

You can make this recipe ahead up to step 5 and add the seafood, cream and lemon just before you are ready to eat.

Keywords: seafood, moroccan, prawns, clams, spiced

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with the Peachicks Bakery and #Fiesta Friday with Fiesta Friday 

Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

Asparagus Quiche

Asparagus Quiche with Fresh Herbs

This Asparagus Quiche with Fresh Herbs is the perfect early summer lunch or supper recipe. In May and early June, bunches of seasonal fresh asparagus start to appear in the shops and it is time to look up recipes that make the most of it. It is the time of year when the weather becomes warmer and having a picnic or eating outside in the garden become more realistic prospects. It is also the time of year when outdoor concerts or plays, village fetes and sporting events start to take place. If you are looking for the perfect dish to take along to any of these, something easy, seasonal but luxurious, look no further than home-made Asparagus Quiche.

Asparagus Quiche

What you need to know about Asparagus Quiche with Fresh Herbs

  • I generally make my own pastry. It took me many years to realise how easy it is and I do think it tastes better than ready-made pastry. However, if making pastry is not your thing, or you have limited time, you can use ready-made shortcrust pastry. This will make this quiche even quicker and easier to make.
  • Make sure you use fresh asparagus. There are lots of different varieties, particularly if you go to a farmers market or farm shop, and any would be good in this recipe.
  • A great technique when you are preparing asparagus is to remove the base of each spear by bending it until it snaps. It will naturally break at the point where the woody and unpalatable stem meets the edible part of the spear.
  • Make sure you do not overcook the asparagus. This is the basic rule of cooking asparagus. You need to make sure it has a little “bite” and retains its unique flavour.
  • I generally flavour this quiche with a combination of dill and chives. However, you can choose any non-woody herbs that you prefer. Tarragon and lemon balm would also be excellent choices.
  • Mature cheddar is my cheese of choice in this quiche as I think it adds a bit of oomph to the asparagus without overpowering it. You can try other cheeses but I would steer clear of blue cheese.
  • You can eat this quiche either hot, warm or at room temperature. We will sometimes eat it hot with buttery boiled new potatoes for supper. It also is great at room temperature as part of a summer buffet or in a lunch box. If you are making it ahead of time, you can keep it in the fridge for a couple of days. Make sure that you bring it out of the fridge at least half an hour before you plan to eat it as it is not at its best if it is icy cold.
Asparagus Quiche

Other asparagus recipes

Every year, I look forward to early summer when fresh asparagus is in season. Nowadays, you can buy it all year round but I am a strong believer in eating seasonal, local food. This means that early summer is the time when I get to indulge my love of fresh asparagus. It is great treated simply, just steamed for a few minutes and then either eaten hot with butter or at room temperature with a simple olive oil and vinegar dressing.

However, it is also a fantastic basis for quiches and savoury tarts. In addition to this Asparagus Quiche, I also make an Asparagus Tart, using ready-made puff pastry, which is fantastic quick and easy lunch or supper dish. I also make a cold Asparagus and Pea Soup with Chervil which is great on a hot summer day either as a light lunch or as a starter for a dinner party.

There are many different types of asparagus with variation in colour, the most common is green asparagus but you can get purple and white, and also the thickness of the stems. If you look in your local farmers’ market or farm-shop at this time of year, you might be lucky and find a variety of different types.

Asparagus and Pea Soup with Chervil
Other quiche and tart recipes

Savoury tarts and quiches are a fantastic, cook-ahead simple supper or lunch. They are easy to make and are great either hot or at room temperature. They can also be easily divided into portions if you are feeding a large number of people. Easily transportable, they also make a good addition to lunch-boxes or basis for a picnic. Some of my favourites are listed below.

Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

Asparagus Quiche with Fresh Herbs recipe

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Asparagus Quiche

Asparagus Quiche

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 68 1x
  • Category: Quiche
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Asparagus Quiche with Fresh Herbs is the perfect early summer lunch, supper or picnic recipe – easy, seasonal, luxurious and great eaten hot or cold. 

Asparagus Quiche


Ingredients

Scale

For the pastry:

  • 275 g (10 oz) plain flour
  • 125 g fat (5 oz) I use a mix of half butter and half Trex as I think this makes the lightest pastry)
  • Salt
  • A little water

For the filling:

  • 15 asparagus spears
  • a large bunch of fresh dill or herb fennel (2 tablespoons when chopped)
  • a large bunch of fresh chives (2 tablespoons when chopped)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 100 ml (4 fl oz) double cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 75 g (3 oz) Cheddar or other full-flavoured cheese

Asparagus Quiche


Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Make the pastry. Put the flour in a bowl.  Add the fat and combine –  either by “rubbing in” by hand or processing – until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add a little cold water (2-3 tbsp) and shape the mixture into a dough.
  3. Roll out your pastry and use it to line a 25 cm quiche or flan dish.   Bake for 15 minutes in the oven to allow the pastry to “set”.  This will stop the filling making it soggy and ensure that the base is crisp.
  4.  Next, prepare the asparagus spears.  Remove the base of each spear by bending it until it snaps.  It will naturally snap at the point where the thicker, less palatable base section starts. 
  5. Either steam the asparagus spears for three minutes or plunge them into boiling water for the same amount of time.  This will partially cook the spears but retain their crunch and flavour.
  6.  Place the part-cooked asparagus spears in the pastry case. 
  7. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, add the cream, and beat until combined.  Grate the cheese and add to the mixture.  Then finely chop the dill (or herb fennel) and chives and also add to the bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and then pour it into the pastry case.  
  8. Place your quiche or flan dish in the oven and cook for 25 minutes.

Notes

This Asparagus Quiche can be eaten hot, warm or at room temperature.

Keywords: asparagus, quiche, dill, chives

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with the Peachicks Bakery and #Fiesta Friday with Fiesta Friday 

Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

Savoury Pancakes with Garlic Mushrooms

Savoury Pancakes with Garlic Mushrooms

Savoury Pancakes are a fantastic make-ahead vegetarian supper. In this recipe, I have made a simple filling of garlic-flavoured mushrooms and have included some fresh chives in the pancake batter. The pancakes are rolled around the filling, topped with grated cheese and then heated through in the oven. The finished dish is a bit like a baked pasta dish – lasagne or cannelloni – but using pancakes make it less heavy. The other advantage of using pancakes rather than pasta is that you can put additional flavourings, such as the chives, into the batter.

I love all kinds of pancakes – both sweet and savoury. They are so quick and easy to make and so versatile. You get an almost instant hit of that “home-baked” satisfaction! When it comes to sweet pancakes or crepes, I have very traditional tastes – lemon and sugar is the only topping that I like – but I am a bit more flexible when it comes to savoury pancakes. If mushrooms are not your thing you could try ricotta and spinach or vegetarian or meat-based bolognese sauce.

Mushrooms, lovely mushrooms…

I am a huge mushroom lover. There is something about mushrooms, a savoury almost meaty flavour, which seems to please both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. As I cater to a household with a range of food preferences, I tend to use a lot of mushrooms! In my recipes, you can pretty much use any type of mushroom, or combination of mushrooms, that you happen to have available. However, there are a few rules of mushroom cooking that I think are worth bearing in mind.

  • First off, generally the larger the mushroom, the stronger the flavour. If you want a milder mushroom taste, stick to button mushrooms.
  • Secondly, make sure your mushrooms are fresh and perky. No one (and really, I mean no one) likes a slimy mushroom that has been sitting in your fridge for a couple of weeks. If you are going to keep your mushrooms for a few days, make sure that they can “breathe” – if they are wrapped in plastic, remove the covering.
  • Thirdly, (with reference to my second point), do not over-cook your mushrooms. They need to be cooked through and firm with a bit of a bite not sad, flaccid things which have been stewed for hours.
  • And finally, make sure you season them well – with salt and pepper and any herbs and spices that your like – in order to bring out their flavour. No one likes a bland mushroom. I think garlic is a particular friend to all types of mushrooms but they also go well with thyme and nutmeg.
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Savoury pancakes

Savoury Pancakes with Garlic Mushrooms

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Pancakes
  • Cuisine: English

Description

These savoury pancakes, filled with garlic mushrooms topped with sour cream and chives, are the perfect vegetarian supper.


Ingredients

Scale

For the filling

  • 2 onions
  • 50 g butter
  • 475 g mushrooms (I generally use chestnut mushrooms but you can use any sort)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Salt and pepper

For the pancakes

  • 100 g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 275 ml milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh chives
  • A little vegetable oil

To serve

  • A little butter 
  • 150 ml sour cream
  • 100 g strong cheese (eg cheddar)

Savoury Pancakes with Garlic Mushrooms


Instructions

  1. First make the garlic mushroom filling as follows.
  2. Peel and chop the onion.  Heat the butter in a heavy-based pan, add the chopped onion and cook gently for 10 minutes until it is soft and golden.
  3. While the onion is cooking, remove the stalks from the mushrooms and chop them finely.  Slice the mushroom caps.
  4. After 10 minutes, peel and crush the garlic and add it to the pan together with the chopped and sliced mushrooms.  Cook for a further 5 minutes and then take off the heat and set aside.
  5. Next make the pancakes as follows.
  6. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl.  Make a well in the centre and break the egg into it.   Stir the mixture and gradually incorporate the flour with the egg.  Then gradually add the milk and stir until all the flour is combined with it.  You will then have a thin batter with the consistency of double cream.   Season with salt and pepper.  Finely chop the fresh chives and add them to the batter.
  7. Heat a little vegetable oil in a heavy-based non-stick frying pan.  Then, using a ladle or large spoon, pour a portion of the batter into the pan.  Tip the pan so that it covers all of the base.   Leave to cook for around four minutes.  Then using a spatula or blunt knife, flip the pancake over to cook the other side and allow to cook for a further minute.  Then slide the pancake onto a plate.   Repeat until you have used all the batter.  There should be enough to make six medium-sized pancakes.
  8.  At this point, you have a choice.  Either you can simply put a tablespoonful  of the mushroom mixture on top of each pancake, add a teaspoon of sour cream and a few chopped chives, roll up the pancake and eat it as it is.   Or you can put the filled pancakes into a greased, oven-proof dish, top with grated cheese and bake in the oven set at 180 C (400 F or Gas Mark 4) for 10 minutes.   If you are eating them immediately, I would recommend the former and if you are making them ahead, I would recommend the latter.

Savoury Pancakes with Garlic Mushrooms


Keywords: pancakes, savoury, mushrooms, garlic, vegetarian, supper

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with A Strong Coffee  and #FiestaFriday with Fiesta Friday  and Jhuls at the Not So Creative Cook

Loved this recipe? You may also like the following recipes. Or checkout the Recipe Index.

Easy Macaroni Cheese

Macaroni Cheese

This Easy Macaroni Cheese is the perfect make-ahead supper dish. It is topped with crispy breadcrumbs and has a bit of extra cayenne spice to cut through the richness of the sauce and a secret layer of sweet caramelised onions. If you have never made this dish from scratch, then I would encourage you to give it a go. It is really easy. It is rich, creamy and cheesy and will be equally popular with vegetarians and non-veggies alike.

A traditional family recipe

In my family, serving this Macaroni Cheese has become a Christmas Eve tradition. On the day before Christmas, when everyone is gathering, I have to feed a range of vegetarian and non-vegetarians of all ages and a spectrum of general food pickiness. This dish seems to hit the spot as it is warming and comforting and also has a simplicity that is welcome when we all know we are going to have a blow-out meal the next day. I serve it with a green salad dressed with a sharp vinaigrette to balance the cheesy richness of the pasta.

We also eat it on lots of other occasions, in both winter and summer, as it so popular and can be made ahead of time. If like me you are more of a “kitchen-supper” rather than dinner party style of host, it is a great dish to serve. Everything is done in advance – you just need to put it in the oven to warm through – so you can focus on talking to your guests rather than doing complicated things in the kitchen.

Macaroni Cheese
What makes this recipe different?

There are many, many recipes for Macaroni Cheese. This one, which has developed over the years, has three elements that I think sets it apart from others.

First off, it is topped with breadcrumbs and grated cheese which means that it has a fantastic crispy top. This adds texture and flavour to the soft, creamy pasta.

Secondly, it is a bit spicy. We discovered that adding a lot of cayenne was a good thing when my daughter made this recipe when she was quite young and mistook a dessert spoon for a teaspoon. We ate the first mouthful with trepidation but discovered that actually having a bit of heat cuts through the richness of the cheese sauce and improves the flavour of the dish.

The third and final element is that there is a delicious secret hidden within this traditional-looking Macaroni Cheese. In the middle of the dish is a layer of sweet, soft caramelised onions which work brilliantly to lift flavour of the cheesy pasta.

Macaroni Cheese

Other simple pasta suppers

I love pasta so much that I sometimes wonder if I might have some unknown Italian ancestor! It is so easy, versatile and so universally liked – by adults, children, vegetarians and meat-eaters – that it appears on our table several times each week.

This recipe for Prawn Pasta is a great week-night supper option. It is easy, tasty and uncomplicated and can be made in ten minutes. Here are some of my other simple pasta supper recipes.

  • Basic Tomato Sauce – this is an easy recipe for a rich sauce using store-cupboard ingredients. Delicious stirred into pasta as it is and open to lots of variations and additions!
  • Creamy Mushroom Pasta – this is simple vegetarian sauce combines mushrooms and chestnuts and lots of garlic. It can be used with any kind of pasta but I prefer it with short pasta such as gigli or penne.
  • Spaghetti with Smoked Salmon – this simple recipe can be made in 15 minutes. Smoked salmon trimmings are combined with fennel and chives and a squeeze of lemon.
  • Prawn Pasta with Herb Butter – this is made-in-minutes pasta supper

Loved this recipe? Checkout the Recipe Index.

Step-by-step guide to making this recipe

Easy Macaroni Cheese with Caramelised Onions

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Macaroni Cheese

Easy Macaroni Cheese

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Easy Macaroni Cheese recipe combines rich, creamy pasta with a crunchy topping, a dash of cayenne heat and a secret layer of caramelised onions.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 125 g  (5 oz) butter – 25 g (1 oz)  plus 100 g (4 oz)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 large onions
  • 1 teaspoon soft brown sugar
  • 350 g (12 oz) dried macaroni
  • 50 g (2 oz) plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne
  • 860 ml (2 pints) milk
  • 350 g (12 oz) strong, hard cheese  such as mature cheddar
  • salt and pepper 
  • 50 g (2 oz) fresh breadcrumbs

Macaroni Cheese


Instructions

  1. Put 25 g of the butter and the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan and place over a very low heat.  
  2. Peel and roughly chop the onions and add them to the pan.   Cook the onions very gently for around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  The aim is to caramelise the onions so that they are a light golden colour and their natural sweetness is enhanced.   When the onions are done, season with salt and stir in the soft brown sugar.  Set aside until required.
  3.  While the onions are gently cooking, cook the macaroni in a pan of salted, boiling water according to the instructions on the packet.  This would normally take around 10-15 minutes.   When it is cooked, drain the hot water from the pasta and put it back in the saucepan covered with cold water to prevent it clumping together.
  4. Make the cheese sauce by melting the remaining 100 g of butter in a heavy-based saucepan.  Add the flour, mix it into the butter and cook gently for 2 minutes.   Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir the milk into the butter and flour mixture.  Put the saucepan back onto the heat and stir until the sauce has thickened.   Grate the cheese and add 300 g to the sauce.   Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Drain the cooked macaroni and add it to the cheese sauce.
  6. Pour half of the mixture into a rectangular dish of approximately 40 cm x 25 cm.   Spread the caramelised onions on top and then add the other half of the mixture.
  7. Sprinkle the remaining 50 g of grated cheese on top together with the breadcrumbs.    
  8. Heat your oven to 200 C, 400 F or Gas Mark 6 and bake the macaroni cheese for 30 minutes.   When it is done, it will be hot all through and the top will be crisp and golden.

Macaroni Cheese


Notes

It is very easy to make your own breadcrumbs by whizzing stale bread in a food processor for a few minutes.  They can then be stored in the fridge for several days or frozen for several months.

You can make the macaroni cheese a day in advance up until step 7 and keep it in the fridge.  Make sure that you allow it to come back up to room temperature before heating in the oven. 

Keywords: macaroni, cheese, pasta bake, vegetarian

This recipe has been shared on #CookBlogShare with Lost in Food and #FiestaFriday with Fiesta Friday and Zeba at Food for the Soul