Guys, if your idea of a good meal is going out to inhale all the pies and steak you possibly can, you need to read this story. Making your own hearty, delicious man-meals at home actually isn't that hard. Promise.
Whether you consider yourself a novice or a pro, these recipes from the Dude Food cookbook are guaranteed to be a crowd (and stomach) pleaser. Just get yourself in the kitchen and whip up some of these bad boys. Either invite your mates over for a big feast, or surprise your other half with a date at home.
Chicken avo pie
You don't have to go the nearest bakery to get your meat pie fix. Grab some puff pastry from the supermarket, quickly cook some tasty fillings, put them in the oven for half an hour and you've got fresh, hearty pies for you and your mates (or keep them for yourself for work).
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
- 1 tablespoon olive/macadamia oil
- 125g boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
- 2 1/2 cups trimmed green beans
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/3 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/4 cup grated tasty cheese (like cheddar), plus extra for sprinkling (optional)
- 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
- 2 sheets puff pastry
- 1 egg, beaten
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
- Place the sweet potato in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook the sweet potato until just soft. Use a skewer to check -- if it goes through with little resistance, it is perfect. Drain and allow to cool.
- In a frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until lightly golden on all sides. Remove the chicken and add the onion and garlic to the pan; cook until lightly golden. Add the green beans and continue to stir for two minutes more. Return the chicken to the pan and add the cooked sweet potato, mushrooms, tarragon, and thyme. Continue to stir as you add the stock and cook for one minute more before adding the wine and coconut milk. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Gradually add the cheese. This mixture can then be refrigerated and used at a later time, for example, if you come back late from work.
- Divide the mixture evenly among oven proof hot-pot bowls and top with the avocado slices. Sprinkle with extra cheese, if you’d like, and cover with the puff pastry. Using your knife, trim the pastry, making sure to leave a 2cm overhang on all sides. Press the pastry against the edge of the bowl to seal. Using a fork, prick the pastry to allow steam to escape. Brush the pastry with egg and bake for 30 minutes.
Herbed chicken wrap
Wraps don't have to be bland and un-filling. Cooking chicken with herbs gives these wraps a big hit of flavour, while the cottage cheese and sweet potato beefs up the dish to keep you full.
Makes eight wraps.
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- Salt and black pepper
- 800g boneless, skinless chicken breast, diced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra as needed
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into small cubes
- 1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and sliced
- 8 wraps (found in the supermarket bread aisle)
- Low-fat cottage cheese
- Handful of rocket
- In a bowl, mix the lemon juice, thyme, oregano, and marjoram with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the bowl and toss to coat.
- In a frying pan, heat one tablespoon of the oil over high heat. Add the chicken and cook until tender, 2-3 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
- Add the remaining one tablespoon of the oil to the same pan. Add the sweet potato, sprinkle with some salt and pepper, and stir until the cubes are soft, for 5-6 minutes. You may need to add a little more oil as you go depending on your pan. This will help transfer more heat to the cubes.
- Divide the avocado evenly among the wraps. Place two teaspoons of cottage cheese on top, along with a handful of rocket. Next, evenly divide the sweet potato and chicken among the wraps.
- Fold the two ends of the wrap together and then roll the wrap up like a burrito, tucking the sides in as you go. You can either have it as-is or put it in a sandwich press for two minutes to toast it. Alternatively, you can also toast it under the broiler.
Peri-Peri roast chicken
Make Nando's at home with this roast chicken with peri-peri seasoning. Serve with wedges or chips if you're feeling extra ravenous.
- 1 cup couscous
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme, or 3 sprigs fresh thyme, chopped
- Juice of 1/2 lemon, squeezed, flesh reserved
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 (1.5-2 kg) whole chicken
- 4 tablespoons macadamia or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 cm-thick circles
- 3 zucchini, trimmed, halved crosswise, and cut lengthwise into 1 cm-thick pieces
- 3 Spanish onions, quartered
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped, plus 4 whole peeled garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons chilli flakes
- Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
- To make the stuffing, place the couscous in a large bowl, as per instructions. Use a mortar and pestle to crush the coriander and fennel seeds into a fine powder and add them to the bowl with the couscous. Add the thyme, lemon juice, olive oil, and warm water and mix well. To stuff the chicken, hold the bird so that the cavity is facing upward, which makes it easier to spoon the mixture in. Fill the bird with the couscous. Use your hands to squash the stuffing down. Plug the end with the reserved juiced lemon half.
- Pour two tablespoons of the oil over a roasting pan and set the chicken in the centre of the pan. Surround it with the sweet potato, zucchini, and onions. Place the whole garlic cloves around the vegetables and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Using a knife, cut three slashes into the chicken legs, as this will allow them to cook at the same time as the breast.
- In a bowl, mix the chopped garlic, paprika, chilli flakes, and the remaining salt, pepper, and two tablespoons of oil. Pour the mixture over the chicken and use your hands to coat the entire surface. You can also use a brush, but I find hands are much easier -- just wash them well when you’re done.
- Roast the chicken for 1 1/4 hours. To check if it is ready, cut in between the leg and the breast. If the juices that run out are clear, the chicken is ready to be devoured. Spoon the couscous stuffing from the cavity into a dish and serve it alongside the chicken.
San choy bow
Packed with flavour and protein, this san choy bow is a great starter for a hungry lot. Simply cook up the filling and lay it out on a table with the lettuce cups, and everyone can tuck in.
- 2 teaspoons peanut oil
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1kg beef mince
- 1 zucchini, julienned
- 1 (225g) can water chestnuts, drained
- 1 (225g) can bamboo shoots, drained
- 2 long red chillies, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons oyster sauce
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- Large handful of bean sprouts
- 1 head iceberg lettuce, leaves separated and kept whole, for serving
- Heat a wok or large frying pan over high heat. Add the peanut oil and the ginger and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until golden. Add the beef mince and cook, stirring, until it has browned.
- Add the zucchini, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and chillies and cook, stirring, for one minute. Add the fish sauce, oyster sauce, and soy sauce and mix well. Turn off the heat and stir the bean sprouts into the mixture before spooning it into the lettuce cups.
Recipes from Dude Food: A Guy's Guide to Cooking Kick-Ass Food by Dan Churchill (Simon & Schuster) RRP $24.99