Mise En Place

I love the citrusy fragrance lemon thyme imparts on to your fingers when you gently squeeze its leaves. I have not cooked with lemon thyme until now in Nairobi because the veggie store where I do most of my herb shopping does not stock it, recently in serendiptious circumstances I found myself foraging through the herb section at the supermarket looking for the other thyme. My last encounter with the herb in Nairobi was at Mediterraneo, the roast duck dish I ate then had a fresh herb garnish that included lemon thyme. I seriously thought of swiping the herbs & taking them home with me, the only thing that stopped me is that waitperson was always hovering around. He was doing his job too well. Back to the supermarket, I found lemon thyme & bought a bunch pronto.

The preparations of lemon thyme were inspired by flavour ideas I got from Karen Page & Andrew Dornenbug’s Flavor Bible, which is a favourite cookbook of mine because It has no recipes, only just a massive reference guide on flavour combinations. The other great thing about this book, you work with the ingredients you have and the techniques you want. In a conventional cookbook you have to work according to the recipe.

I decided to do a lemon thyme risotto with lemon thyme roasted carrots & lemon thyme roasted chicken. I wanted to do quick & hearty meal, with all cooking done simultaneously. It took about 15 minutes to prep, and 30 minutes to cook.

About the flavours, lemon thyme with the carrots really popped for me, also did the lemon thyme with the chicken. The rice was beautifully scented by the herb. Even though the herb was similar was the same across the risotto, chicken & carrots, the lemon thyme brought different flavour nuances to each item.

In my plain (kenyan)english, this one ingredient obsession meal tasted really really great.

The recipes are below. Give it a go & tell me how it goes….

Lemon Thyme Roasted Carrots

  • 2 carrots, diced.
  • 4 lemon thyme sprigs
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & white pepper

Lemon Thyme Carrots

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a hot saute pan.
  3. Add the carrots & lemon thyme sprigs, saute for about 2 minutes.
  4. Season with salt & pepper.
  5. Transfer to oven and roast for 15 minutes.
  6. Once cooked set aside.

Lemon Thyme Risotto

This recipe serves 4.

  • 200 grams carnolli rice (arborio is alright too).
  • 1 litre chicken stock or vegetable stock.
  • 1 onion, chopped.
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped.
  • 2 tbsp lemon thyme leaves only.
  • 25 grams parmesan cheese, grated.
  • Olive oil.
  • Salt & white pepper.

Mise En Place

  1. You will need two sauce pans. Bring the stock to a boil in one of the saucepans, the reduce heat to a gentle simmer.
  2. In the other sauce pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat then add the chopped onion & chopped garlic. Sweat them until they are soft.
  3. Season with salt & pepper.
  4. Add the rice and cook until the rice is slightly toasted.
  5. Add a ladle of stock and cook by stirring frequently. When all the stock is arbsorbed add another ladle & continue stirring, repeat this until the rice is al dente, this will take about 15 – 20 minutes.
  6. Stir in the roasted carrots & thyme leaves.
  7. Check seasoning, add salt & pepper if needed.
  8. To finish the risotto, turn off the heat. Add 4 tbsps of olive oil while stirring vigorously, then add the parmesan cheese & give risotto a few stirs.
  9. Cover the saucepan & set risotto aside to rest for about 5 minutes.

Lemon Thyme Roasted Chicken Thigh

  • 4 Chicken thighs.
  • 2 tbsp lemon thyme leaves only.
  • Olive oil.
  • Salt & white pepper.

Mise En Place

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius (you can cook the chicken simultaneously with the carrots
  2. De-bone the chicken thighs & trim of any excess fat.
  3. Lay the thighs skin side down, sprinkle the lemon thyme leaves into the centre of each fillet then season them with salt & pepper.
  4. Roll the thigh fillets into cylinder form, then secure using kitchen twine. Season the skin side with salt & pepper.
  5. Heat the olive oil in hot saute pan, sear the chicken thighs until they are golden brown.
  6. On a roasting tray, make a bed with the remaining lemon thyme sprigs. Transfer the chicken on to it. You can also lay some lemon thyme sprigs on top of the chicken.
  7. Roast in oven for about 20 minutes.
  8. When done, take it out from oven & set it aside to rest for 5 minutes.

Roast Chicken

Assembly

  1. Slice the chicken thigh fillets into 2.5 cm(1 inch) pieces.
  2. Spoon the risotto on to your plate.
  3. Add chicken slices on top of the risotto, drizzle a little olive oil on top of chicken.
  4. Garnish with lemon thyme leaves.

Lemon Thyme & Carrot Risotto with Roast Chicken

As Gordon Ramsay would say, “Lemon thyme risotto with lemon thyme roasted carrots & lemon thyme roasted chicken, DONE!”

Lemon Thyme & Carrot Risotto with Roast Chicken