Pesto-stuffed Chicken Breasts with Rustic Mixed Potatoes
I always make my own pesto, which literally takes minutes, with basil, toasted pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan and olive oil (see the recipe on page 228), or buy a good-quality one. These ultra trendy potato slices not only go well with these pesto-stuffed chicken breasts, but are great as a side dish for a barbecue. They can be made in large quantities in trays and simply reheated as necessary. Serves 4
125g (4 ½oz) ball of mozzarella, torn into small pieces
4 tbsp basil pesto (page 228 or shop bought)
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast fillets
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
8 smoked streaky bacon rashers, rinds removed
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
steamed French green beans, to serve
Rustic mixed potatoes: 450g (1lb) Rooster potatoes, scrubbed 225g
(8oz) sweet potatoes, scrubbed
3 garlic cloves, lightly crushed (skin still on)
1 fresh rosemary sprig, broken into tiny sprigs
sea salt flakes
2 tbsp olive oil
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F/gas mark 6).
Mix together the mozzarella and pesto. Cut a slit into the side of each chicken breast and then stuff with the pesto-covered cheese. Place 2 halved cherry tomatoes in each breast. Wrap each stuffed chicken breast with 2 bacon rashers – not too tightly, but enough to hold the chicken together. Season with salt and pepper.
To make the rustic mixed potatoes, cut the potatoes and sweet potatoes into 5mm (¼in) slices – a Japanese mandolin is perfect for doing this – and arrange in a single layer on a large roasting tray lined with parchment paper. Add the garlic and rosemary and season with salt. Drizzle over the oil and toss until evenly coated.
Nestle the pesto-stuffed chicken breasts in the potatoes and roast for 20–25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the bacon is crispy. Remove the chicken from the oven and rest in a warm place for 5 minutes. Return the potatoes to the oven in that time for a final crisp-up.
To serve, arrange the pesto-stuffed chicken breasts on warmed serving plates with steamed French green beans and the rustic mixed potatoes.