The Scandalised Chicken Shred

Chicken kebabs

“Chicken is a blank canvas, it’s there to be interfered with…….it needs to be…it needs to be brutalised and scandalised……I need to brutalise and scandalise my chicken Rory – lets go to work”

Tony slid off the bags of flour stacked 4 tall in the dry store above the Kitchen, stubbed his Marbolo Red on the chest freezer lid and flicked it deftly over the wall onto the street behind the restaurant. The dry store was  were we lurked during service breaks played cards, formulated recipes and developed unique ways to piss off the boat owners in the town (another story for another time). The dry store was warm, clean, cosy and filled with non-perishables on an industrial scale – the stacked bags of flour provided a safe haven for amorous Waiting and Kitchen staff post service……….’nuff said right……..?

Tony’s words lingered in my mind as I ‘puppied’ after him down the treacherous steps to the kitchen back door.

“Never molly-coddle Chicken man, it wont respect you for it – it needs a good ravaging if you want it to sing on a customer’s plate… treat it like a 2 dollar hooker and it’ll dance right outta the kitchen for ya”

I wondered where Tony had gained experience of  these ‘2’ dollar Hookers..that seemed pretty cheap… probably New York. He landed at the Kitchen door 2 months previously wearing a WW2 Army jacket and sporting a Brooklyn drawl which was weird because he was from Co. Sligo in the West of Ireland.

2 hours until service, the Kitchen was empty, warm and clean.

“Pick one”

Tony set 10 Kilner jars on the Kitchen Pass in front of me, a universe of worldly spices in powder and seed form.

“All spice”

“Nice one boyo, I’ll take Coriander seed – go again”

We picked 6 between us – both seed and powder and combined them in a dry frying pan over  a low heat until they gave up their essentials. The Kitchen slowly filled with the heady aroma of warming exotic spices – until then I had only ever  slung salt onto chicken but Tony ‘The Alchemist’ Brennan introduced me to the dangerous and mysterious world of ‘spicing’ something that has stuck with me over the last 25 years.

This recipe is NOT a rule, this is suggestion and an encouragement to scandalise your chicken……….and if you have any flour bags in your store cupboard…..well……knock yourself out 😉


♠The Chicken Shred♣

Prep time: 20mins ♦  Cook Time: 2-3 mins ♦ Total time 25mins (ish) ♦ Serves 2


2 free range chicken breasts and 2 thighs

1 tps All spice

1 tps sweet Paprika

1 tps Corinader seeds

1 tps Cayene pepper

1 tbs rapeseed oil

2 tps salt flakes

For The Shred

1 large carrot – shredded

Red cabbage – finely sliced

5-6 medium broccoli florettes-shaved

Fresh coriander – roughly chopped

Juice of 1/2 lemon

1 tps cayenne pepper (or 1/2 that if you like milder)

2 lugs of olive oil

1 Avocado – peeled and cubed

3 medium, ripe tomatoes seeded and diced

1 small red onion finely diced


Step 1:

Cube the chicken – about 1 inch each and season with the spice and salt. Set aside in the fridge for at least 20 minutes

Step 2:

Make ‘The Shred’ by combining the raw ingredients and seasoning

Step 3:

Thread the chicken onto 2 long skewers and cook under a screaming hot grill for about 3-4 minutes per side – cut into the chicken to be exact.

Step 4:

Serve the chicken right on The Shred and away you go!



12 thoughts on “The Scandalised Chicken Shred

  1. “treat it like a 2 dollar hooker and it’ll dance right outta the kitchen for ya” 🙂 I love this. I have to agree with Tony, chicken can be sooo dull, it needs so many flavours to make it sing. Stunning colours here.

    1. Thansk again Donne :0) The first time I was in a Middle eastern place I was 9 and it was Islington, North London. My Aunt had taken me to a place called Lennies that was Palestinian (like Little Jerusalem) and I just remember the colours where absolutely knock out – that stuck……that and this crazy assed dip call Taramasalata!!

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