The other day I made myself a lunch which was so incredibly delicious, I actually surprised myself.
I was working from home and as I tucked in I actually let out a little gasp. Yup an actual gasp. It was that good. Either that, or I am actually beginning to go mad.
So there I was gasping, on my own, eating a lunch fit for a king and marveling in wonderment at my own concoction. Maybe I need to get out more. Maybe.
But as I sit here and think about that lunch time (which was only yesterday and it has already been too long since I last
made ate it), I actually think this would draw gasps from even the more muted of eaters amongst you.
So, not only is this dish Delicious….(that delicious with a capital D, incase you missed it). It’s also deceptively easy, honestly it took me less than 20 minutes to whip up from start to finish. It is also really healthy as it isn’t bulked out with heavy carbs and it tastes so fresh and summery.
Make this for yourself when you need to give yourself an extra special pat on the back, or whip it up for friends who will marvel at your kitchen skills. It also doesn’t hurt that this dish happens to look as pretty as a picture. But far more yummy than a picture. Unless it was a picture of this dish….
Anyway, I digress and without further ado I will tell you how to reach edible nirvana.
- 4 good quality chicken breasts, with their skin still on – get these from your butcher and I promise you will taste the difference
- 1 butternut squash
- 120g pancetta cubes
- 40g pine nuts
- 2 handfuls of rocket leaves
- Knob of butter
- Tablespoon of Greek yoghurt
- Salt, pepper
- Coconut oil
- Homemade pesto
- Simply preheat your oven to 200C.
- Then pop the kettle on. Peel your butternut squash, scoop out the seeds and discard them. Then chop into little cubes.
- Once the kettle has boiled, make yourself a cup of tea and then pour water into a pan and add the butternut squash. Cook them until they are gorgeously squishy and soft which should take about 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, take a non stick pan which has a handle that can go in the oven. Add a spoon of coconut oil and let it get hot. Really hot.
- Sprinkle some sea salt on the skin of your chicken and when the pan is smoking hot, lay the chicken pieces skin side down. Don’t touch them for a couple of minutes so that you allow time for the skin to get wonderfully crispy. Then when the skin has crackled and is a gorgeous golden colour flip the breasts over, sprinkle the pancetta into the pan and then pop the whole lot into the oven for about 10 minutes.
- Gently toast the pinenuts in a frying pan. There is no need to add any oil to the pan, just add the nuts and let them slowly change colour. This will take about a minute, watch them because they can burn seriously quickly. Once they are toasted tip them into a bowl so that they don’t continue cooking.
- Whizz up the pesto. I tell you how to do it here, just substitute the rocket for basil, so simple and quick!
- Now the butternut squash should be soft by now, so test it with a knife and then drain. Tip into a food processor and blitz until silky smooth. Add a little knob of butter and a spoon of greek yoghurt. Season well with salt and pepper and blitz again. Taste. Try not to eat the whole thing right out of the food processor.
- Now, time to test your chicken. If you aren’t confident in the art of poking a piece of meat with your finger to see how well done it is, don’t panic. When you think the chicken might be done, and looks done, simply remove the pan from the oven and slice one breast in half to see if all the pinkness has gone. There is no shame in doing this – all the breasts will be served sliced in two anyway, so no one need ever know! Far better to check, than to risk serving raw chicken.
- Slice the chicken in the middle but on a sharp angle. Then you can flip the thinner side around and arrange it pointing upwards. This makes it look prettier and far more cheffy. And we like things to look pretty and cheffy.
- Now you can plate up. Spoon a couple of spoons of the butternut onto the middle of each plate in a little mound. Place the cheffy looking chicken onto the top and watch as the butternut squash sort of squishes outwards. Perfection. Scatter the crispy pancetta and pinenuts around the edge of the plate. Sprinkle on a few rocket leaves and then drizzle the pesto over the top. How pretty does that look?
- Now, I defy you not to let out a little squeak of pleasure as you tuck into this.
Easy, simple, beautiful, delicious. What a tag line.