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Recipe: Diana Henry ‘A Bird in the Hand’

Mustard chicken, black beans and avocado salsa
Hot, spicy chicken, avocado, black beans and cheese too… almost a chicken version of a great chilli.  Different, but glorious. Serve with tortillas, soured cream and feta, Wensleydale or mild goat’s cheese.serves 6

for the chicken
12 skin-on bone-in chickenbith
125ml (4fl oz) olive oil
60ml (2¼fl oz) cider vinegar
½ tbsp ground cumin
3½ tbsp Dijon mustard
6 tbsp runny honey
4 red chillies, fi nely chopped
juice of 1 lime
4 garlic cloves, grated
4 tbsp chopped coriander

for the beans
2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, fi nely chopped
2 red peppers, chopped
3 garlic cloves, fi nely chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
2 chillies, deseeded, sliced
fi nely grated zest of ½ orange
150ml (5fl oz) chicken stock
50ml (2fl oz) orange juice
2 x 400g cans of black beans
juice of ½–1 lime
for the avocado salsa
250g (9oz) tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
2 spring onions
3 red chillies, deseeded
3 avocados, roughly chopped
1½ tsp ground cumin
juice of ½ lime
4 tbsp chopped coriander
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Make little incisions all over the underside side of the thighs; don’t pierce the skin. Make the marinade by mixing everything else in a dish that will hold all the chicken. Put the thighs in, turn, cover with cling fi lm and put in the fridge. Leave for at least four hours – overnight is even better – turning a couple of times. Bring to room temperature before cooking.

When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/gas mark 5. Remove the chicken from the marinade and put into a roasting tin or ovenproof dish where it can lie in a single layer.  Put into the oven and roast for 35–40 minutes, or until cooked
through, basting every so often. The chicken should end up a deep golden colour.

It’s really quick to make the beans and salsa, so prepare them while the chicken is cooking. For the beans, heat the olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and sauté the onion and peppers together, reducing the heat, until the onion is pale gold and the peppers are beginning to soften. Add the garlic and cook for another minute, then add the cumin, chillies and orange zest and cook for another two minutes. Pour in the stock, orange juice and seasoning and cook over a low heat until the vegetables are soft.

Carefully rinse the black beans and stir into the peppers. Season and heat through for a few minutes. You want the beans to pick up the fl avours of the other ingredients; in fact they benefit from sitting in the juices and being reheated at the last minute. Add lime juice to taste, it heightens and freshens the fl avours.

To make the salsa, fi nely chop the tomatoes, garlic, spring onions and chillies. Mix with the other ingredients and season well, but don’t make this more than an hour ahead of serving as it discolours. Once you’ve made it, cover the salsa and let the flavours infuse.

Serve the chicken on a platter with sprigs of coriander, along with the beans, salsa and some cheese and soured cream.

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