Sunday, 3 April 2011

Baked Chicken Maryland - kind of

I love cook books and have quite a lot... unfortunately I'm currently at the stage where I've run out of space for new ones: saying that I will be buying Fuschia Dunlop's Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook as soon as possible - I currently have it on loan from the library and am really looking forward to trying a few recipes next week: she's a genius.

Anyway, the point is that I've been looking back over a few of the older books on the shelves looking for things to try out that I may not have on first reading.  One of which is Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Dinners.  I like Jamie's books - I think it's pretty unfashionable to say so these days ("He's not a real chef", "Where are the Michelin stars" grumble grumble) but in my opinion he's very good at doing what he does: putting together pretty simple recipes that work.

On Friday night then I opted to give the tray baked Chicken Maryland a whirl.  Well sort of - chicken breast, check; corn on the cob, check; white wine, check (well, obviously)... ermmm no banana, no cannellini or butter beans (4 tins of borlotti and 2 of pinto mind, what is that all about?), no cream, no streaky bacon, no mint. Luckily Waitrose had reduced a packet of good Parma ham (49p!) which I'd snapped up earlier in the day and there was also some cream cheese in the fridge so all was not entirely lost....

Baked Chicken Maryland
Serves 1

1 chicken breast, skin removed
1 fresh corn on the cob
1 tbsp cream cheese
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 small wine glass of white wine (I'd suggest having a gulp of this as otherwise it's probably a little too much)
couple splashes of milk
2 slices Parma ham
a small handful of basil, leaves picked

Preheat the oven to about 200c (gas mark 6).

Stand the corn cob on its end (large flat end) and run the blade of your knife down the length of the cob to slice off the kernels. Continue around the cob until all the corn is off.  Add the corn to an oven-proof dish and season well with salt and pepper.

Using a small sharp knife, carefully make a pocket in the chicken breast - you will notice that the breast has a little flap of meat down one side that can be pushed back and gives you the start of a pocket anyway, cut into that.  Into the pocket squish in the cream cheese and fold the flap back.  Season with a little salt and a generous grind of pepper.

Turn the chicken upside down (so the slightly scruffier side of the breast is facing you) and place it on the corn in the dish.  Tip over the wine and a couple of splashes of milk then drape the Parma ham slices over the chicken.

Cook in the preheated oven for around 30 minutes.  It should be cooked through but check by inserting a skewer into a fat bit of chicken and make sure the juices run clear.  Scatter over the basil leaves and serve with steamed broccoli.

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