Baked Pesto Chicken with Root Vegetables – Pesto Princess

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Pesto Princess makes fabulous fresh Pestos which are available in food stores and supermarkets.  They have a fabulous monthly newsletter in which there are some interesting dishes using the Pesto Princess products on offer.  This was a recent recipe.  If you would like to get the newsletter, email caitlin@pesto.co.za.

4 chicken breast fillets (no skin, no bones)
1 jar Pesto Princess Basil Pesto*
½ cup grated mozzarella cheese

*Our photographer & stylist, Sam Linsell of Drizzle and Dip, suggested that Thai Pesto could be used in place of the Basil to create a spicy version of this dish. Remember that the pesto can be diluted with 30 ml of boiling water, which will make it easier to spread over the chicken, and also make the dish a little less rich, if you prefer.

Slice each chicken fillet into 2 or 3 strips. This way the chicken will soak up plenty of pesto flavour. Choose an oven-proof casserole into which the chicken will fit snugly in a single layer. Grease the casserole with olive oil or butter and spread half of the pesto (diluted if you wish) over the bottom of the dish. Pack the chicken fillets on top of the pesto in a single layer, and finish the dish by spreading the remaining pesto over the chicken pieces. Cover the dish with foil, to prevent the chicken from drying out, and bake in the oven, along with the roasted vegetables for 25 minutes, until just cooked through.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle over the mozzarella. Return for a last blast of about 5 minutes in the oven, this time without the foil. Finally put the dish under the grill for a few minutes until it smells tantalising, and a golden-brown crust has formed.

You may need something to soak up those delicious juices that will have collected at the bottom of the dish. Serve with the roasted vegetables, and perhaps some crusty bread, good old mashed potato, or cauliflower mash for the complete low carb, high fat alternative.

Roasted Root Vegetables

The vegetables will take roughly 10 minutes longer to cook than the chicken dish, so best to get those into the oven first, while you prepare the chicken. We used a combination of baby leeks, carrots, parsnips and golden beets, all available at Woolworths. What’s good about these babies is that they can be roasted in their skins, but any combination of root vegetables that you have on hand will work just as well.

Preheat the oven to 190°C, and grease a baking tray or two. Toss the washed vegetables lightly in olive oil, season with salt and pepper and lay on the prepared baking trays, with enough space between them to prevent their steaming rather than roasting. Sprinkle over some sprigs of fresh thyme and roast for about 40 minutes until cooked through and caramelised on the edges.

Michael’s Wine Recommendation – click here

De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc 2014

De Grendel Sauvignon Blanc 2014

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