Sometimes I just make up a dish based on the ingredients I happen to have at hand. So it was here when I had planned to make a chicken broth of leftover bones and carcasses I had kept in the freezer. I had bought some chicken thighs to add to the stock but the broth went well enough without the fresh meat.
In the fridge, I had a jar of Sicilian citrus jelly – cédrat – brought by a friend, while in the larder I still had a broken package of “Japanese pearls”, tiny beads of manioc and some Piment d’Espelette – Basque peppers. That brought me to the following very nice and delicate dish.
- 4 chicken thighs
- 4 pieces of ham
- Chicken stock
- 200 grams of manioc beads
- 4 spoons of cedrat
- Basque pepper
- Kitchen string
- Have homemade chicken broth on the fire or make 1.5 litres of stock with hot water and a cube or sachet of chicken stock.
- Debone the thighs by opening the meat at one side only, remove any cartilage or bone fragments and lay flat on the skin side.
- Put a piece of ham and a spoon of cedrat on the thighs and roll them up. Tie it up with string. Add pepper and salt.
- Put one litre of stock in a skillet and bring to the boil, turn the heat down and add the manioc beads, turn with a spoon and let it cook for 40 minutes, turning regularly, until the “pearls” have become translucent.
- Heat butter in a pan and braise the thighs for 10 minutes, turning regularly to brown on all sides. Add two ladleful’s of stock and cook with the lid on for another 20 minutes. Turn from time to time and sprinkle with the Basque pepper at the end. Set aside.
- Shortly before presenting, take the thighs from the pan and put them on a carving board, remove the string and cut in two or three pieces.
- Put some of the pearls on the bottom of a serving dish or plate, with a slotted spoon, and put the thigh pieces on top.