Lee Grant’s Chicken Malibu

Here is a really good chicken recipe from Lee, who I love.  Soon after I’d cooked this I did some rummaging around on the internet and I discovered that she had recently published her autobiography.  I snapped it up, raced through it and heartily enjoyed it.  Lee was blacklisted for years during the McCarthy era and beyond, and it’s fascinating stuff to read about.

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Malibu was obviously THE place to live for the movie crowd in the 1960s and 1970s – is it still?  Here’s what Lee says about it in the book:

“I loved Malibu.  I loved the informality, and the beautiful fruit and vegetables in my Malibu market.  The easiness folks had with one another.  The old shorts and shoes and the bare feet.  The Colony was a small town where everyone kind of knew one another.  There were no rules to break there.”

Roll on my retirement and / or my lottery win.  I’m hot footing it to Malibu.

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Lee obviously loved cooking for a big crowd.  There’s a great story in the book about her hosting a cast party, cooking hundreds of chicken legs and wings with a paper bag over her head with eye-holes cut out because of the splattering fat…  So this recipe is for a big party I reckon – Lee says this serves 12.  I made half of this for me and Mr R with lovely leftovers for the week.  It had a really interesting mild curry flavour, and it was very festive-looking because of the of the carrot and green peppers combo.  A winner.

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Lee begins her recipe with directions to wash then dry the chicken pieces, but as the new thinking on this is not to wash chicken, so I have left that out.  You don’t want to mess with campylobacter do you?  She also recommends refrigerating for the fat to congeal so you can skim that off.  You could make this a day ahead of when you want to serve it.  I just ate mine on the day I made it, but ’tis true, the left overs were a bit gelatinous (ha ha!).  So next time I make it (and I am sure I will), I’ll do it just as Lee recommends.

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Lee Grant’s Chicken Malibu

2 broiler-fryer chickens, each cut into 8 pieces

8 chicken wings

1/2 cup olive oil

2 onions, peeled and chopped

2 large green peppers, chopped

1 large clove garlic, pressed

2 carrots, peeled and grated

1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced

4 tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

2 or 3 tablespoons curry powder

2 or 3 tablespoons chopped parsley

4 tablespoons flour

2 cans (13 3/4 oz size) chicken broth [about 780ml in total]

Pinch thyme leaves

2 bay leaves

Hot cooked rice

1 – Heat oil in large skillet [frying pan] or Dutch oven [casserole dish – you’ll need a massive one if doing the whole recipe!], brown chicken quickly on both sides, remove to drain on paper towels to absorb excessive fat. 

2 – Add onion, green pepper, garlic and carrot to pan drippings, saute vegetables until limp, stirring over low heat.

3 – Cook mushrooms slowly in butter in another skillet, adding salt, white pepper and curry, until mushrooms are browned and seasonings are well blended.

4 – Add mushroom curry mixture to skillet along with chicken.  Add parsley, bay leaves and thyme.  Pour in chicken broth, enough to cover vegetables and chicken pieces, adding water if necessary.

5 – Cover skillet and bake in preheated oven about 40 minutes until chicken is tender.  Remove from oven.  Refrigerate until fat congeals on top.  Skim off chicken fat with a large spoon.

6 – Make gravy, using flour blended with a little chicken broth, forming smooth paste before adding to the main pot.  Reheat chicken, stirring to blend and thicken gravy.  Taste for correct seasonings.  Serve over hot cooked rice.

We had ours with veggies – it was really good!

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