09 January 2011

Chicken & Onion Clove Baguette

On Thursday I read the "Onion and Clove" part of Niki Segnit's Flavour Thesaurus, and loved the idea of slow-frying onions with a hint of clove and piling them in a baguette with slices of roasted chicken. From there hatched a three-day wait and a plan to make French bread from scratch.

I followed the ingredients exactly, but I wonder if there's something different about Korean yeast vs. Western yeast. My bread was slightly heavy, tragically, but I can't figure out why that would have happened. Sorry that I can't offer any more pointers! It was still delicious. The onion, clove, chicken and bacon mixture had an amazing subtle flavour to it, although I was surprised that it lacked richness. I added mayonnaise to my sandwich. I think that if you added cream rather than milk to the onion mixture, that might solve it.

Original bread recipe is a video.

(Printable Recipe)
Makes 2 small loaves

4 cups flour, divided
2 pinches of salt
1 tablespoon yeast
2 cups warm water
1 beaten egg or 1/2 cup water
1 oven-proof bowl half-full of boiling water

Dissolve the yeast in the water and add two cups of flour with one pinch of salt. Mix with your hands to form a sticky dough. Cover and leave to rise at room temperature for three hours.

Before rising.

After rising.
Work the extra two cups of flour and another pinch of salt into the dough, and knead for ten minutes. The dough should become very elastic. Shape it into a ball and leave to rise for another hour.

After the hour has passed, divide the dough into two and knead each half for a few minutes before rolling into a baguette-shaped log. My oven is tiny so I made the baguettes quite thick and small. You could also make two thin, full-length loaves with this dough if your oven is big enough.

Let the baguettes rise for another half hour.

Make four slashes on the top of each baguette and brush lightly with egg wash or water. Heat the oven to 250 degrees (480 Fahrenheit) and put the bowl of boiling water on the lowest shelf. Heavily grease some baking paper and sprinkle with a little more flour. Place the baguettes on the baking paper and put on the middle or highest shelf in the oven for fifteen minutes.

After fifteen minutes, remove the water (carefully! Steam burns!) and turn the temperature down to 220 degrees (430 Fahrenheit). Bake the bread for a further twenty-five minutes before turning it over and baking with the bottom side uppermost for another five. Let the bread cool slightly and eat.

Chicken & Onion Clove Filling
(Printable Recipe)
Serves 2, or 4 with a side

3 chicken breasts
3 rashers of bacon

2 onions
1 tablespoon butter
1 scant teaspoon of ground cloves
1 tablespoon white wine
1 tablespoon milk
Lime or lemon juice

Slice the chicken breasts lengthways in half through the middle, as if to make a sandwich, and place a rasher of bacon in each cavity. Put the top half of the chicken back on. Cover the chicken with herbs and a little bit of clove spice, season, and bake at 200 degrees (390 Fahrenheit) for twenty five minutes.

In the meantime, melt the butter with some oil in a pan and thinly slice your onions into half-moons. Fry the onions on a very low heat in the butter and oil with the teaspoon of ground cloves, stirring regularly. Once the onions are soft, after ten to fifteen minutes, add the wine and milk (or cream). This will make the mixture just barely into a sauce.

Taste the onions and add a squeeze of lime or lemon juice if necessary.

When everything is cooked, pile the baguettes with onions and lay carved chicken slices on top. Cut the baguette in half and serve - either one baguette per person, or half a baguette per person with a salad or some chips, is more than enough.

Drink white wine while you eat. Yum.