Last night I decided to try two new recipes from the new cookbook that Alberto bought me for Christmas.
The herb and cheese stuffed chicken sounded really tasty and I don’t think I’ve ever actually cooked butter beans before so that seemed like a good thing to try. I love a bit of butternut squash and the recipe listed here, with a sherry vinegar salad dressing sounded like it would go well with the chicken. Sadly my local Sainsbury’s didn’t have the fresh oregano that the recipe suggested so I opted for fresh sage instead which I already had in the fridge. It seemed to work just as well.
For the chicken: (serves 4)
1 chicken breast per person, skin on
150g of cream cheese
2 tablespoons of grated Parmesan or Parmiggiano
Grated zest of 1 lemon and a squeeze of juice
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
For the beans:
1 large onion, finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
200g of streaky bacon, cut into strips (I actually used some chopped chorizo, partly ’cause I had some in the fridge and partly ’cause I like chorizo.)
2 x 410 tins of butter beans, drained and rinsed
110ml of dry cider
100ml of hot chicken stock
3 tablespoons of creme fraiche
A handful of fresh parsley leaves, chopped
For the squash:
1 medium squash, deseeded and cut into wedges
Olive oil, 6 fat cloves of garlic, unpeeled
1 teaspoon of dried, crushed chillies
Fresh oregano leaves (or torn up sage leaves in my case)
100g of feta cheese, crumbled
30g of walnut halves
100g of salad leaves
2 tablespoons of sherry vinegar
A pinch of caster sugar
5 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 200.
Both the chicken and the squash take the same amount of time to cook so prepare them both so that you can pop ’em in the oven together.
Mix the cream cheese, Parmesan, thyme, lemon zest and lemon juice together and season with salt and pepper.
The recipe says to put a quarter of the cream cheese mix between the flesh and the skin of each chicken breast, however I cut a pouch into the flesh of the chicken and popped the cream cheese mix in there instead.
Place the squash wedges in a roasting tin along with a little olive oil, the fresh oregano (or sage) leaves and the unpeeled garlic cloves. Sprinkle with the dried chillies. Season and shake the tin well to combine.
Pop the breasts in a roasting dish, drizzle with olive oil, season and pop in the oven for 30 minutes until cooked and golden.
Pop the roasting tin containing the squash into the oven at the same time as the chicken – they’ll both take about 30 minutes. 5 minutes before the squash is due to be cooked scatter the walnut halves over the squash and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Make the salad dressing for the squash by whisking together all the ingredients and popping it into a serving jug.
When the chicken and squash have about 12 minutes to go start making the bean stew. Heat some olive oil in a pan and fry the onions until slightly softened. Add the chopped garlic and cook for a further minute. Add the bacon (or chorizo) and fry until crisp. Stir in the beans and cider, bring to the boil and simmer over a medium heat for 5 minutes until the liquid has reduced a bit and the beans are tender. Add the hot stock and simmer for a further 2-3 minutes.
Stir in the parsley and the creme fraiche.
Pile the bean stew on the plate and place the cooked chicken breast on top.
Pop the squash and walnuts on the plate, scatter over the crumbled feta and drizzle with the salad dressing.
Absolutely delicious. I shall certainly be cooking this one again. Give it a go!