Finger-clicking good chicken to optimise your time

Lilly Higgins: A no-fuss, quick and easy midweek dinner for all the family

Chicken with mushrooms and marjoram

Chicken with mushrooms and marjoram

 

Recipes are filed in a certain way in my mind much like the way Google search engine optimisation works.

Some recipes are weekend, brunch or indulgent but the key words here are “one tray”, “convenient” and “delicious”.

It’s what we all want midweek; a gorgeous dinner that everyone will eat with minimum fuss.

It just takes a few tweaks to make a recipe work for you. Cook something a few times, get to know it and then make it your own.

This recipe is one such dish. It’s got familiar flavours but is created a different way.

Chicken and mushrooms are undoubtedly great together but they always seem to be served the same way. Chicken and mushroom pie, casserole, risotto or pasta bake.

It’s all usually smothered in a creamy sauce with white wine and a dash of dijon mustard.

It’s hard to shy away from these classic recipes and they’re classic because they work.

But it’s not always possible to spend an hour rolling pastry and whisking up a roux for the perfect pie from scratch – so this quick and easy chicken and mushroom supper is what I turn to.

It’s just as nice but without the time-consuming frills. You can always reduce down the cooking juices and whisk in a little double cream and mustard for a more indulgent sauce.

To speed up the cooking time, I half each chicken breast horizontally, like a paillarde, this way it will absorb even more of the delicious cooking liquor.

The chicken is transformed in the oven, basted in mushrooms and herbs. It never dries out cooked this way.

For even more flavour and convenience, prepare the mushroom mix the night before and place it in a Ziploc bag in the fridge with the chicken.

Simply tumble the contents into the baking dish half an hour before dinner.

You can easily double or triple this recipe when feeding a crowd.

I like to serve it with plenty of greens such as steamed spinach or shredded cabbage.

It’s also lovely with the last of the homegrown tomatoes this time of year, just place them all in a single layer in a roasting tin whilst the chicken cooks, drizzle with a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar for sweetness.

If you’re lucky enough to have access to French tarragon then use it here in place of the marjoram. Tarragon is divine with the chicken, it’s aniseed sweetness lifts the earthiness of the mushrooms.

I’ve just used regular button mushrooms here but a mix of exotic mushrooms like chanterelle and oyster would really make this dish into something special.

CHICKEN WITH MUSHROOMS AND MARJORAM

Ingredients
3 chicken breasts
250g mushrooms, thickly sliced
Zest of ½ lemon
1 clove of garlic, crushed
2tbs finely chopped chives
2tbs chopped marjoram leaves
2tbs pesto 2tbs
Lemon juice
Olive oil
Sea salt

To serve
Additional chives, marjoram or parsley
Steamed spinach or rice

Method
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees. Mix the lemon zest, garlic, herbs and 3 tbs olive oil in a large oven proof dish.

Add a generous pinch of salt and the sliced mushrooms. Mix well to coat the mushrooms.

Place each chicken breast on the chopping board and flatten with your hand. Carefully slice in half horizontally.

Place the chicken into the baking dish and spoon the mushroom mixture on top of each chicken piece.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the mushrooms are darkened.

Mix the pesto with the lemon juice till smooth.

Scatter the chicken with fresh herbs and drizzle with the pesto, serve right away with steamed spinach or rice.

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