In my previous post I told you about the arrival on my doorstep of a Hotel Chocolat Adventurous Chef's Collection hamper and my adventures with the sweet items included in the box. This time, it's the turn of the savoury items.
First up is their Cocoa Honey & Mustard Dressing, which is a classic mix of honey, dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar with the addition of some crushed cocoa nibs.
I used this in a salad recipe I found on the label, which combined salad leaves with cooked chicken and peppers. This turned out really well and the dressing added great flavour to the dish, although it was quite heavy on the mustard.
Next up was a jar of Chocolate & Chiptole Chilli Sauce, a ready-t0-use sauce that be used in a number of ways - in hot dishes, as a salad dressing, in sandwiches etc.
I used this first of all as a dip to accompany some grilled pork steaks with roasted vegetables and potato wedges. The sauce had lots of smoky, spicy flavour and really added interest to an otherwise quite plain dinner.
I also added it to a marinade for chicken that I found in Thomasina Miers' book, Mexican Made Easy, together with a sprinkling of the cocoa bean shavings that were also included in the box. The marinade gave the chicken loads of delicious flavour and I could definitely taste the smoky chilli sauce in the background.
Chicken Adobado (Marinated Chicken)
(adapted from Mexican Made Simple by Thomasina Miers)
For the marinade
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
8 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 heaped tablespoons tomato puree
juice of 2 oranges
45ml red wine vinegar
2 chiles de arbol, finely chopped
1 tablespoon Chocolate & Chipotle Chilli Sauce
30ml soy sauce
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
30g brown sugar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon cocoa bean shavings
a few teaspoons of sea salt and some black pepper
1 medium-sized free range chicken, segmented, or 12 chicken pieces
1) Whiz all the marinade ingredients together in a blender and pour over the chicken pieces. Marinate overnight or for at least a few house in the fridge. Remove the chicken from the fridge at least half an hour before cooking to allow it to come to room temperature.
2) Either grill or barbeque the chicken until cooked through and nicely coloured (approx 6 minutes on each side).
Finally, I tried out the Chilli & Cocoa Glaze for Fish & Poultry. At first I thought this would be a sauce but it is simply unsweetened cacao chocolate with added chillies. It was very straightforward to use - I just added a tablespoon or so to the fish cooking in the frying pan and it melted away into a smooth sauce.
To be honest this was probably my least favourite item in the box as I found the flavour a little too dark and spicy for my tastes however my other half tells me he liked it.
Overall, this collection of goodies would make an excellent gift for any keen chef, especially one who likes their food with a bit of extra kick.
A big thanks to Hotel Chocolat for providing me with this fantastic selection to sample.