Sunday, December 03, 2006

Roasted chicken breast wrapped in pancetta with leeks and thyme

Chicken breast wrapped in pancetta or bacon is one of my favourite dishes to cook - incredibly easy, tasty, and very presentable. My brother Stuart kick-started this some years ago with a lovely chicken breast smeared with Boursin, wrapped in bacon and braised in a mix of stock, red wine and sugar. I can't remember where he got the recipe from, but it quickly became a family favourite. Since then I have experimented with quite a few versions - I like one with parmesan stuffed into the breast and cooked in Marsala and cream; one stuffed with sundried tomatoes, mozzarella and basil and baked; one with roasted peppers inside... the list goes on. I also like chicken saltimbocca with sage and proscuitto. In fact, I don't think I've ever disliked a stuffed chicken breast recipe, so I knew Jamie's version would go down a treat. Funnily enough this recipe attracted Stuart's attention too -he doesn't own this book, but there is a copy floating around his workplace, which he appears to peruse in his coffee breaks, before coming back and bossily asking why I haven't tried x y z recipe yet. This recipe was ideal for Saturday night (easy and accessible) and it enabled me to watch the X factor without too much cooking time, which is a good bonus.

The method is simple and serves 1; I doubled it. Put chicken breast in a large bowl with a trimmed leek sliced into 0.5cm pieces, leaves from a few sprigs of fresh thyme, a good glug of olive oil, a small knob of butter, and a small swig of white wine and toss together. Tip all but the chicken into a small roasting dish or tray and wrap the chicken breast in six or seven slices of pancetta. Drizzle with olive oil, place a couple of thyme sprigs on top and cook in an oven preheated to 200 C for 25 to 35 minutes.


You can see from the above pic that this is another of those nifty dishes that comes out of the oven looking really nice. It would make a great dinner party dish because you just shove it in the oven and leave it and because when you take it out, you could just take the dish to the table. (Well, I could. I suspect Gary Rhodes would not). I served this with cheesey peas, which I described in the previous post.

This was another lovely dinner, simple but really nice. I ought to confess that when I doubled the suggested 'small swig of wine', it became less a large swig or 2 small swigs than a mini flood. This didn't seem to hurt the final result though - it was v nice. I think next time I might stuff the chicken breast too, not with cheese, I think, but maybe with roasted peppers and basil, or artichoke hearts. There will definitely be a next time, though, and I will be recommending it to the rest of my family as a new version of our old favourite.

35 comments:

FreyaE said...

Hi Kathryn! Both the chicken and the peas look completely yumaroo! The chicken looks particularly effective if you have guests coming around (or just for the two of you!). I'd have them followed by that gorgeous chocolate tart (I assume that you're sending me one in the post...!).
I am impressed daily by your diligence with cooking through this book! You should let them know over at jamieoliver.com what you're doing - you might get some freebies!
Freya x

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