Here is a really good chicken recipe from Lee, who I love. Soon after I’d cooked this I did some rummaging around on the internet and I discovered that she had recently published her autobiography. I snapped it up, raced through it and heartily enjoyed it. Lee was blacklisted for years during the McCarthy era and beyond, and it’s fascinating stuff to read about.
Malibu was obviously THE place to live for the movie crowd in the 1960s and 1970s – is it still? Here’s what Lee says about it in the book:
“I loved Malibu. I loved the informality, and the beautiful fruit and vegetables in my Malibu market. The easiness folks had with one another. The old shorts and shoes and the bare feet. The Colony was a small town where everyone kind of knew one another. There were no rules to break there.”
Roll on my retirement and / or my lottery win. I’m hot footing it to Malibu.
Lee obviously loved cooking for a big crowd. There’s a great story in the book about her hosting a cast party, cooking hundreds of chicken legs and wings with a paper bag over her head with eye-holes cut out because of the splattering fat… So this recipe is for a big party I reckon – Lee says this serves 12. I made half of this for me and Mr R with lovely leftovers for the week. It had a really interesting mild curry flavour, and it was very festive-looking because of the of the carrot and green peppers combo. A winner.
Lee begins her recipe with directions to wash then dry the chicken pieces, but as the new thinking on this is not to wash chicken, so I have left that out. You don’t want to mess with campylobacter do you? She also recommends refrigerating for the fat to congeal so you can skim that off. You could make this a day ahead of when you want to serve it. I just ate mine on the day I made it, but ’tis true, the left overs were a bit gelatinous (ha ha!). So next time I make it (and I am sure I will), I’ll do it just as Lee recommends.
Lee Grant’s Chicken Malibu
2 broiler-fryer chickens, each cut into 8 pieces
8 chicken wings
1/2 cup olive oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
2 large green peppers, chopped
1 large clove garlic, pressed
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
2 or 3 tablespoons curry powder
2 or 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
4 tablespoons flour
2 cans (13 3/4 oz size) chicken broth [about 780ml in total]
Pinch thyme leaves
2 bay leaves
Hot cooked rice
1 – Heat oil in large skillet [frying pan] or Dutch oven [casserole dish – you’ll need a massive one if doing the whole recipe!], brown chicken quickly on both sides, remove to drain on paper towels to absorb excessive fat.
2 – Add onion, green pepper, garlic and carrot to pan drippings, saute vegetables until limp, stirring over low heat.
3 – Cook mushrooms slowly in butter in another skillet, adding salt, white pepper and curry, until mushrooms are browned and seasonings are well blended.
4 – Add mushroom curry mixture to skillet along with chicken. Add parsley, bay leaves and thyme. Pour in chicken broth, enough to cover vegetables and chicken pieces, adding water if necessary.
5 – Cover skillet and bake in preheated oven about 40 minutes until chicken is tender. Remove from oven. Refrigerate until fat congeals on top. Skim off chicken fat with a large spoon.
6 – Make gravy, using flour blended with a little chicken broth, forming smooth paste before adding to the main pot. Reheat chicken, stirring to blend and thicken gravy. Taste for correct seasonings. Serve over hot cooked rice.
We had ours with veggies – it was really good!
I purchased the Cooking With Columbo book and I love it. I made Lee Grant’s Malibu Chicken but I was unsure regarding the instructions for the gravy. Was I supposed to skim the fat and discard or incorporate the fat into the gravy? Thanks.
Hi Stephanie, so pleased that you like the book. I agree that Lee’s instructions for the gravy are a bit vague. When I made it, I skipped the step about refrigerating and skimming off the fat. I was eating some of the dish on the day I made it so I just took some of the stock out of the cooking pot and mixed in some flour to thicken. I think if you are cooking it ahead, and taking off the congealed fat, that should just be discarded. Did you enjoy Lee’s chicken? Now I have reread the blog post I feel like making it again!
So sorry I didn’t respond in a timely fashion. I was looking over my notes for each dish I have made so far, causing me to remember I asked you a question. Thanks for responding. Yes, we enjoyed Lee’s chicken very much. My husband and I are working our way through your wonderful book by making each dish and watching the corresponding Columbo episode. We have made 5 so far and declare all excellent. We skipped Eddie Albert’s Butterfly Lamb because we couldn’t obtain the lamb but hope to order it from a local butcher soon. Thanks again!!!
Oh, Stephanie! This has absolutely made my day. Thank you so much for dropping by and letting me know that you are enjoying recipes from the book. It makes my heart glad! Would love to know which other ones you have made. Best wishes from a heatwave in London – Jenny x
This may be a duplicate reply but the other one I thought I left hasn’t appeared. My husband and I started with the first one in the book and have gone in order except for skipping Eddie Albert’s Butterfly Lamb as we couldn’t obtain the lamb. This week we made Ross Martin’s Beef in Anchovy Cream and it was delicious. I was a little wary of the anchovies but decided it was all or nothing. I will be making this one again, including the anchovies. We’ve made 5 recipes so far – each one very good and enjoyed watching the corresponding episodes while devouring the recipes. Sorry about the heatwave and hope it ends soon. We live in Nashville, TN so our entire summer is mostly one long heatwave. Thanks for giving us an enjoyable & unique way to try new recipes and watch Columbo. – Stephanie.
PS – I love hearing about readers making these movie star dishes so do please keep in touch about others that you make. It really makes my day. Jx
We are making the recipes in the same order as the book except Eddie Albert’s Butterfly Lamb since we couldn’t find the lamb. This week we made Ross Martin’s Beef in Anchovy Cream which makes the 5th recipe we have completed. I was a little concerned about the anchovies but decided it was all or nothing. I definitely plan to make it again, including the anchovies. We live in Nashville, Tennessee so for the most part we have a heatwave for the entire summer. Hopefully your heatwave will end soon. – Stephanie
Oh Stephanie, that is fabulous! Ross’s Beef in Anchovy Cream is one of my absolute favourites. So delicious. You’ve got a weird one up next! Susan Clark’s Shrimp Curry is very strange, but actually I liked it! It’s been a bit cooler here over the last couple of days which has been lovely. More sun to come though!