Two ways to liven up boring chicken breasts

The ubiquitous chicken breast gets a makeover and is transformed into something altogether more interesting

This easy tarragon chicken one-pot with sweet and juicy sunblush tomatoes  suits entertaining

This easy tarragon chicken one-pot with sweet and juicy sunblush tomatoes suits entertaining

 

VANESSA’S WAY... CHICKEN WITH TARRAGON, SUNBLUSH TOMATOES AND STAR ANISE

I couldn’t live without chicken breasts in the fridge, whether for whipping up stir fries or homemade goujons for the kids. But this doesn’t preclude them being transformed into elegant dinner party dishes. Chicken breasts are easy to slice open and stuff with goat’s cheese or black pudding, then they can be wrapped up in prosciutto slices and baked in the oven.

This easy tarragon chicken one-pot with sweet and juicy sunblush tomatoes (widely available from supermarket deli counters) suits entertaining if you want something that can be prepared in advance. It can be marinated and even cooked the day before you want to eat it. The star anise accentuates the flavour of the tarragon.

GARY’S WAY... CHICKEN PICCATA

Ah, chicken piccata ... the first thing I ever cooked wee Netty, my now wife. I met Netty three weeks after Viewmount House, where I work, opened. Our first three dates were three nights in a row, but sadly we had one bad meal after another in restaurants.

The killer came when on one of the nights we’d both ordered some kind of goat’s cheese starter and while mine was lovely and gooey, Netty’s was cold and hard. After swapping plates – the gentlemanly thing to do – I explained to her what had happened in the kitchen, but I also declared that the following Monday, when Viewmount would be closed, instead of going out to eat, I’d be cooking for her.

My go-to dish of choice was this chicken piccata. I love acidity and a slight sharpness in dishes and with the lemon and capers, you get that in abundance here. What’s key when cooking this is to be sure you add the butter when the wine has sufficiently reduced. Too soon and it won’t emulsify properly, too late and you’re left with simply melted butter.

It’s a great dish. Just make sure he or she is “the one” before cooking it. You’ve seen what happened to me ...

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