Oatmeal with chicken skin & leeks

Oatmeal with chicken skin & leeks

Andrew Montgomery

This dish contains some of my favourite ingredients: crispy, salty chicken skin; young, tender, buttery sweet leek, with its silk-on-the-teeth texture; intense, creamy and comforting pinhead oatmeal, cooked a little like risotto rice and rich like the best bread sauce; and, if you can find them, English summer truffles, with their subtle, earthy aroma. (A scant trickle of good truffle oil would be good as well.) In truth, this is a simple and a rather humble plate of food.


Quantity Ingredient
50g pinhead oatmeal
4 free-range chicken breasts
1 shallot
or 1/2 small onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
1 bay leaf
3-4 thyme sprigs
splash cider, (optional)
300ml Oysters in chicken stock with chives, plus extra for loosening, if necessary
1 tablespoon grated hard cheese, such as Cheddar or Parmesan
2 knobs butter
2 small leeks, trimmed
few shavings fresh truffle, (optional)
freshly ground black pepper


  1. Heat the oven to 180°C. Place the oatmeal in a bowl and cover with water. Set aside to soak while you crisp up the chicken skin. Line a large roasting tray with baking parchment and lay over your chicken skins, neatly and evenly spaced. Season with salt and pepper, then place in the oven for 15–20 minutes (or a bit longer if necessary), until crisp. Remove the skins to a rack to cool.
  2. Pour 1 tablespoon of the fat from the tray into a medium heavy-based pan. Place the pan over a medium heat and add the shallot or onion, garlic, bay leaf and thyme leaves. Cook, stirring regularly, for 3–5 minutes, until the shallot is soft but not coloured. Drain the softened oatmeal through a sieve and add it to the pan. Stir well, then pour in the cider (if using) and bring to a simmer over a medium–low heat. Pour in half the stock, then allow the mixture to simmer, stirring regularly, until the stock is nearly all absorbed. Add the remaining stock and stir well. Cook for about 15–20 minutes, until you have a relatively loose porridge and the oatmeal has lost its nutty bite. Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese and 1 knob of butter, allowing them to melt into the mixture, then season well to taste and set aside.
  3. Place the remaining butter and 100ml water in a large heavy-based pan. Lay the leeks in the pan, season well and place a lid on top. Cook for 10–15 minutes, or until tender.
  4. To serve, warm the oatmeal through (you may need to loosen it with a little extra hot stock), then divide it equally between two plates. Place a warm leek on each plate along with some shards of crisp chicken skin and a few shavings of truffle, if using. Serve straight away.
River Cottage
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