Sunday, 27 October 2013

Recipe: Chicken Español

This recipe was reverse-engineered from a Tesco ready-meal.

Ingredients

3Chicken breasts
2T Olive oil
2t Paprika
9 slices Thinly sliced choritzo
120g Cheddar cheese, grated
420g Cream cheese
Salt
Ground pepper
For the sauce:
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Cloves garlic, crushed
3T Olive oil
1 Tin of chopped tomatoes (440g)
pinch Sage, dried
pinch Thyme, dried
pinch Oregano, dried
250ml Red wine
Salt
Ground pepper
(1T = one tablespoon = 15ml; 1t = one teaspoon = 5ml)

Method

On the day before you want to cook this, first make a sideways slit in each chicken breast, making a kind of pocket. Then put the chicken breasts in a plastic bag with the olive oil, paprika and a few grinds of salt and pepper. Squidge this around until the breasts are all covered with this marinade then tie the bag and leave it in the fridge overnight.

To make the sauce, fry the onion and garlic in olive oil over a medium heat until the onion is turning brown. Add the chopped tomato, sage, thyme and oregano. Then add the red wine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for around 30 minutes until thickened. (Reduce heat as necessary. Blend with a hand-blender if you want it to be smoother.)

While that is going on, assemble the chicken with its other ingredients. Each chicken breast cooks in the oven in its own container, which should be about twice as big as the breast itself. (Replicating in some sense the original ready-meal experience.) Assemble each container as follows: first put 100g cream cheese in the base. On top of that, sprinkle 20g of grated cheddar and a couple of grinds of salt and pepper. Now take a breast and into the "pocket", place 40g cream cheese mixed with 20g grated cheddar. Place the breast in the container and cover it with 3 slices of choritzo. Place the containers in an oven pre-heated to to 200°C (= gas mark 6 = 400°F) and cook for around 30 minutes.

To serve, lift out each breast onto a plate, stir around the creamy sauce in its container and pour this sauce around the breast. Beside this, place a similar quantity of the tomato-and-wine sauce. (For a vegetable, steamed spinach works very well and makes a nice colour combination.)

Discussion

You will find that you have too much of the tomato-and-wine sauce: the above quantity would work for twice as much chicken. However, it's less fiddly to make a bigger batch. For convenience you can make the sauce well ahead of time and even freeze it and re-heat it. Although it's probably not necessary to give each breast its own little container, I think it probably is necessary to confine the area over which the creamy sauce can spread, so that it doesn't burn and the breasts don't dry out.

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