Saturday, 28 March 2015

Smoked Pancetta wrapped Chicken Breast & Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables

It's been a while since i've posted - after all the extravagance at xmas, I fancied a long break from blogging, call it a severe lack of motivation from an overindulgence in roast duck!

Right now, the days are getting longer and warmer and soon it'll be acceptable to head back out onto the patio for a meal. This dish stems from my love of roasted peppers, and the desire to do something a little different with them. The quantities of ingredients can all be easily purchased for around £12 from your local supermarket (in my case, Aldi), and will feed four people with ease.

You will need the following ingredients:

Four Mixed Bell Peppers (Red/Yellow/Orange)
Two Courgettes (Zucchini)
A large, waxy Lemon
Cherry or Piccolo Tomatoes on the vine
Four Chicken Breasts
Two packs of Smoked Pancetta
Olive Oil
Garlic Paste

Utensils Needed:

Chefs Knife
Wooden Chopping Board
Three Ceramic or Pyrex Glass Dishes
Fine Cheese Grater or Lemon zester
Glass Jar

First off, pre-heat your oven to Gas Mark 7 (425° Fahrenheit / 220° Celsius) - as with the lamb breast recipe from last year, you need it as hot as you can get - you do after all, want nice roast veggies.

Honestly, there's not a lot of prep required, but to start with, make up a simple dressing. Get a clean, empty glass jar and add two heaped teaspoons of garlic paste to it. Add two tablespoons of olive oil, put the lid on and shake vigorously.

Chop the peppers in half, remove the stalk, white parts & seeds. Cut them in half lengthwise, and then laterally, so you end up with sizeable triangular chunks. Top & tail your courgettes, and slice into half inch thick chunks. Slice too thin and they'll burn, slice too thick and they won't cook properly.

Take the lemon and remove the zest with either a lemon zester, or the fine blades on a cheese grater - just make sure not to get any pith in with the zest. Once zested, quarter the lemon and add it, and the courgettes to the dish along with the peppers. Mix through to distribute evenly and place your vine tomatoes on top. Drizzle around 3/4 of your garlic oil over the veggies. Sprinkle over a level teaspoon of thyme, the lemon zest & season it with a big grind of sea salt.

At this point, take the chicken breasts, and ensure they're all reasonably equally sized. If you have a large chicken breast that dwarfs the others - halve it. Wrap the strips of pancetta around the chicken breasts (2 strips per breast, as a general rule). Place in a separate dish (or if like me you don't have the oven space, two smaller dishes).

You should end up with something that looks like this:

Place in the oven for 15 minutes, at which point turn the temperature down to Gas Mark 5 (375° Fahrenheit / 190° Celsius) and cook for a further 30 minutes. In the meantime, I like to prepare some light, fluffy basmati rice to accompany it. All in all, it should take you around an hour from start to finish.

It should look like this, when removing from the oven:

As you can see from the plate, that's more than enough for one person!

So in short, something incredibly easy to prepare that's delicious and not altogether unhealthy for you - i'd call that a winner!

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