Potato cakes like the ones featured in this recipe usually contain some form of white fish and are often coated in breadcrumbs before being shallow or deep fried. Chicken however works equally well as the principal ingredient, or even simply a selection of chopped vegetables. It is vital to ensure the potato and any other previously cooked ingredients are allowed to cool completely before the cakes are formed or they will simply break apart during the cooking process. While flour is normally added to the mix to firm up the cakes, this is not necessary provided the potatoes are allowed to dry out properly after boiling and the cakes are handled with all due care at each stage of the procedure.
Roast chicken and chili potato cakes on bacon medallions with spicy tomatoes
Ingredients (Serves 1)
- 2 medium to large baking potatoes
- 2 whole chicken thighs
- Black pepper
- ¼ stick (1 ounce) butter
- ½ cup of rapeseed (or olive) oil, plus extra for frying
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- Few splashes of Tabasco sauce
- 2 medium to large ripe tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon freshly chopped cilantro (coriander leaf), plus extra to garnish
- 1 large, medium strength red chili
- 3 back bacon medallions*
*Bacon medallions form the larger, meatier part of typical British bacon and are approximately circular in shape. If you don't have access to them, a couple of strips of US bacon could be used in lieu of each one or they could simply be omitted from the recipe altogether.
Peel the potatoes and chop them in to approximately one and a half inch chunks. Put the pieces in to a large pot with plenty of cold water and some salt. Bring the water to a simmer for fifteen to twenty minutes until the potatoes are just softened.
When the potatoes are done, drain them at your sink through a colander and leave them uncovered for about ten minutes until you can no longer see them steaming. This is very important as if you omit this part, your mash will contain too much water, it will be soggy and you will not be able to form the potato cakes.
When the potatoes are on to cook, preheat your oven to 400F/200C/Gas Mark 6. Season the chicken thighs on their flesh sides with salt and pepper and lay them on a lightly oiled oven tray. Cook in the oven for thirty minutes.
When the thighs come out of the oven, pierce them at their thickest part to ensure no red or pink traces remain in the juices and set them aside on a covered plate to cool completely.
As soon as the steam has stopped rising from the potatoes but while they are still warm, return them to the pot and add the butter. Mash with a hand masher until smooth, cover and leave to cool.
Pour the half cup of rapeseed oil in to a large, flat bottomed bowl or similar and add the Worcestershire and Tabasco sauces. Whisk lightly to combine with a small hand whisk or even a fork.
Slice the tomatoes fairly thinly (you will need nine slices to serve) and lay them in to the seasoned oil to marinate, ensuring all the slices are covered.
Peel the skin from the cooled chicken thighs and discard. Pick all the flesh off the bones, at which point the bones can also be discarded.
Moderately finely chop the chicken meat and add it to the mashed potato, along with the tablespoon of chopped cilantro. Seed and finely dice the chili before also adding it to the pot. Season with a little salt and plenty of black pepper.
Stir the potato cake ingredients with a wooden spoon until they are all fully and evenly combined.
Separate the potato mix in to three equal quantities before using your hands to roll each portion in to a ball.
Pour a couple of tablespoons of rapeseed oil in to a non-stick frying pan and bring it up to a fairly high heat. Carefully flatten the potato balls between the palms of your hands in to patties around an inch thick before laying them gently in the hot oil. Leave them alone to fry for five or six minutes.
A spatula or fish slice should be used to turn the potato cakes to fry for a further five or six minutes on their second sides. Great care should be exercised as they will be very delicate and can easily break up if not treated with respect.
Add some more oil to a second frying pan and fry the bacon medallions (or slices) for a couple of minutes each side until done. They should ideally not be cooked to the stage of becoming crispy.
Arrange the bacon medallions on a serving plate at equidistant intervals and lift a potato cake on top of each.
Fold over a few sheets of kitchen paper and lay them on a plate. Lift the tomato slices on to the paper in a single layer to drain off for ten to twenty seconds. The tops can carefully be patted with another sheet or two.
Arrange three slices of tomato overlapping as shown on top of each potato cake and garnish with the remaining cilantro.