Crispy, tender, healthy and easy to prepare
A friend recently drew my attention to the fact that there are not a lot of meat dishes on the blog so far (the specific wording was “Where is the meat?”), so I figured it was time to change that. And voilà, there you have a beautiful tender chicken breast, filled with mediteranean flavors and crispy bacon. Add soft on the inside and crispy on the outside oven-roasted thyme potatoes and buttered spinach and you have a balanced and delicious meal. Also, it’s a really simple recipe, so I don’t think it’s possible to mess it up. Having said that, the afore statement is NOT intended as a challenge to prove me wrong 😛
Typically, I would make this dish for lunch on a Saturday for my sister or a friend or for the whole family (just double the amounts).
I think general wisdom is that anything wrapped in bacon is awesome and I have to agree, bacon is petty rad. However, in this case the bacon has a practical function as well: keep the filling where it belongs, which is in the chicken breast. I really love filled chicken breast and I’ve tried a lot of different variations, but keeping the filling from falling out when turning to the other side while frying was always a challenge. But fear no more, bacon is the solution! 🙂
For the chicken breasts
2 chicken breasts, cut through horizontally leaving one side attached
4 sun-dried tomatoes
6 rashers of bacon
50g feta cheese
4 large basil leaves
olive oil extra vergine
1 pinch of cayenne pepper
zest of half a lemon
For the thyme potatoes
4 medium-sized potatoes, washed and cubed (ca. 2x2cm)
3 cloves, peeled and crushed
a few springs fresh thyme, leaves picked
a big knob of butter
olive oil extra vergine
For the butter spinach
150g fresh baby spinach leaves, washed
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
a knob of butter
1. Preheat your oven to 200°C.
2. Place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with cold water, add salt and put on the stove and heat up. Bring to boil and cook for about 5-10 minutes so they are parboiled then drain in a colander and leave to stream dry for a few minues.
3. In the meantime, put a generous lug of olive oil and a big knob of butter in an ovenproof dish along with the crushed garlic cloves and the thyme springs (this allows butter and olive oil to absorb the flavor). Once the butter is bubbling, remove from the oven and add the parboiled potatoes. Mix well until the potatoes are coved in the melted butter / olive oil mix. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pop into the hot oven and roast for around 30-35 minutes stirring every once in a while until cooked to your liking.
4. Next prepare the chicken: Lightly season with pepper, cayenne pepper and lemon zest (note that I didn’t add any salt, because feta and bacon add enough salt for my taste) inside and out. Fold apart and place two basil leaves, two dried tomatoes and half the feta on the bottom half of your chicken, then fold up and lightly press on the bottom half.
5. Then carefully wrap the chicken in three rashers of bacon until the whole chicken breast is covered. It’s easiest if you place the middle of the bacon rasher on top of the open side of the chicken breast to make sure the filling doesn’t fall out.
6. Heat a lug of olive oil in a pan and fry the chicken at high heat for 2 minutes on each side. Take off the heat and put the chicken breast in an oven proof dish. Add a little bit of water to the hot pan. Quite a lot of it will evaporate immediately, but the rest will absorb all the flavors from the fried chicken and makes a nice sauce. Season with salt and pepper and add to your chicken before placing it in the oven along with the potatoes. Roast for about 15-20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
7. While potatoes and chicken are in the oven, melt a big knob of butter in a saucepan and gently fry the chopped garlic at low heat until translucent. Add the fresh spinach leaves. After about 5 minutes the spinach will have wilted down and you have nice and dark intensely flavored spinach with a hint of butter. At this point, season to taste with salt and pepper.
8. Once the chicken’s bacon wrap is crispy and potatoes are ready, remove from the oven, serve right away with your butter spinach and enjoy a delicious meal with a friend or your family!