Tag Archives: chicken

simple lemon basil and garlic chicken supper

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The main appeal about this meal, when it was in the planning stages, was how super simple it is, because after a long weekend of doing not very much at all I was in a ‘can’t-really-be-fagged-to-cook’ mood. So I just put chopped chicken beasts into a roasting tray and applied a hastily conceived (based on what was in the fridge) marinade then left it in the fridge for a couple of hours while I went to Pilates. The plan was to griddle the chicken on the stove top, which would have been delicious, but as an experiment – borne mainly from laziness – I just shoved the whole tin of chicken, marinade and all, into the oven. And happily, despite the lazy roots, the results were really delicious and the chicken was noticeably tender (left to their own devices, chicken beasts can suffer from being dry, tough and boring but marinading really, really helps).

While it was in the oven and we were drinking Prosecco to say farewell to another Bank Holiday weekend nearly ended (sob!), I fried up some mushrooms in butter, then added spinach and also roasted some asparagus in oil salt and pepper for about 12 minutes on 180 degrees. Roasted asparagus, by the way, are this week’s big discovery: no par-boiling needed; uncommonly delicious. We ate it all with a dollop of my trusty home made mayo, and suddenly it didn’t seem like the end of the world any more that Bank Holiday was nearly over and real life, it was returnin’.

Lemon, basil and garlic chicken beasts

4 chicken beasts

olive oil

4-6 garlic cloves, peeled and gently smashed

fresh basil, loosely chopped

juice of 1 large lemon (sieved)

Chop the beasts into chunks. Place the garlic, some liberal splashes of olive oil and the lemon juice  into the tin then arrange the chicken on top of it and stir. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for as long as you can but at least three hours. Take it out of the fridge half an hour before you cook it, to bring it up to room temperature. Then cook at 180 degrees for about 40 minutes, depending on the size of your chunks (I’m sure there’s no need to suggest this, but if in doubt, cut one in half before you eat to make sure there is no pinkness to be seen).

Stuffed chicken breasts wrapped in proscuitto

chicken stuffed with artichoke basil and garlicchicken stuffed with artichoke basil and garlic 2

 

I have come to accept that I really really don’t like saying the word breast and, perhaps for that reason, chicken breasts are always known as ‘beasts’ in our house. But  beasts on their own can be a bit dull, dry and almost like a job-of-work to get through, I find. Stuffed beasts, however, open a doorway to an exciting new world of gorgeous beastliness. But I had forgotten the joy they can bring until the other night, when our supermarket delivery turned up without the legs’n’thighs I had ordered and chicken fillets instead. Since we were marooned in the middle of Suffolk, we had to make do.

As luck would have it, we also had some parma ham to wrap them in which is quite crucial to this concept, if you want to stuff each beast so full that the filling is bursting out and needs containing (just to clarify, that is exactly what you want to do).

And the good thing about these is that the filling can consist, pretty much, of whatever blitz-able stuff you happen to have in your fridge or cupboard. With this in mind I try always to have a jar of M&S artichokes, which have no added sugar, and which are good for this (as well as antipasti and salads). I have gone down the sun-dried tomatoes. basil and cheese route which works very well too.  I’m sure there are as-yet-undiscovered options and I will of course keep you posted.

You can serve these with whatever you like but a dollop of home-made mayo and a green salad with a really mustardy dressing is a pretty good bet.

Stuffed beasts (serves 2-4 depending on greed levels)

4 chicken breast fillets

parma ham (allow 2 pieces per fillet)

1/2 to 3/4 jar artichokes

large chunk cheddar or smoked cheddar or gruyere (to taste)

handful of mushrooms

2 spring onions

3 cloves garlic

Sorry to say that this really is so much easier If you have a food processor BUT I have done it by hand in the absence of one – it is just a bit more laborious.

Put the oven on to 200 and then put all the ingredients (bar the chicken and parma ham) into your food processor and blitz into a very fine paste.

Use a very sharp knife to cut a slit lengthways across each chicken fillet then scoop a couple of spoons of the filling inside. It will try to fall out but don’t let it! Then firmly bind  each stuffed fillet with two slices of parma ham wrapped side-by-side. It’s easiest to complete the whole process one-by-one.

Put a liberal splash of oil into a roasting pan then baste either side of each wrapped chicken in the oil and cook for 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your beasts.

Serve with whatever veg/salad/mayo combo floats your boat.