I LOVE my butcher. Every Sunday from around 12pm, he sells all the meat in his window for 50% off. I’m always there, menu plan in hand, ready to stock up on his great quality meat for the week ahead. Inevitably, I buy chicken breasts. I’m a big fan of shredded poached chicken wrapped in an iceburg lettuce leaf and dunked in sweet chili sauce for lunch, and must have at least one poached breast ready at all times.
But for dinner, I’m always stuck. Chicken breasts just don’t have the flavour of the thigh meat (our butter chicken or chicken curry just wouldn’t be the same with breast), and I’m always a little disappointed at the ‘meh-ness’ of a meal based on the breast. Until now. First, it was the amazing Chicken Kiev as whipped up by Michelle and now, coming in close behind it, and, dare I say, maybe even surpassing it only due to it’s ease and speed to make is this, Chicken cooked in tomato with a bucket load of garlic.
As I served this up, flamboyantly sprinkling fresh basil over the top, I felt capable. I felt like a chef. It looked beautiful and it tasted incredible. The chicken breasts remained moist (I have now failed in my mission to write this post and not use the word ‘moist’. ‘Un-dry’ just doesn’t cut it.) and the simple sauce just worked. I had cooked rice to go with the meal, but, having not sat down to an entire chicken breast cooked restaurant style for quite some time, I forgot how filling it was! In the end I went with some spinach and mushrooms cooked in some butter then sprinkled with lemon and salt as our side. Any green veg would be wonderful with this.
This recipe calls for three breasts: one for each adult and one, in theory, for a child. In reality, the child portion was sliced and halved, and the leftovers kept for seconds or lunch the next day. You could cook as many as you like, just use a larger pan and increase the tomato and garlic quantities accordingly.
Better yet, drop the kids at Nana’s, and enjoy a ‘grown up’ meal with the one you love.
1 x 400g tin diced tomatoes
3 or 4 garlic cloves – finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 or 3 chicken breast fillets – trimmed and tidied up
salt and pepper to taste (I actually forgot to add either and it was fine!)
Fresh basil – extra points if you sprinkle it with much flourish and pomp!
Prepare your chicken breasts and garlic.
Heat oil and butter in a large frypan that has a lid (I use my cast iron pot lid over a regular ‘lidless’ frypan!)
Add the chicken and cook, browning, over high heat. Turn once.
Add the garlic around the chicken and give it a stir. Don’t let it sit as it will burn. Keep it moving.
Add the tin of tomatoes and bring to the boil.
Lower the heat and simmer, covered for 5 minutes (I set a timer!).
Remove the lid and turn the breasts.
Cook, uncovered, for a further 12 minutes (or longer depending on the size of the breasts.)
Sprinkle with basil and serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from ‘Under the Walnut Tree’ by Anna Bergenström and Fanny Bergenström.