Sunday, 10 April 2011

Pesto Chicken on Garlic Potatoes

This is so delicious and comforting, and it really isn’t hard to put together at all. I often cook chicken breasts with pesto (more about that here). I tend to add a bit of extra oil to the pesto as it makes it more of a marinade that way. You can buy pesto in most grocery stores these days but it is also quite easy to make from scratch. Pesto is most often made with basil, but more and more people are experimenting with other herbs like tarragon and even cilantro and mint. I use tarragon pesto in this recipe most of the time, although there is nothing wrong with good old basil either! And although pine nuts are generally used for traditional pesto, you can use walnuts, almonds or just about any other nut in their place as well. Variety is, after all, the spice of life!

This is a great way to use up leftover potatoes, but it’s such a yummy recipe, it is worth cooking them specially too!

4 chicken breasts
¼ cup pesto of your choice
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
½ cup chopped pancetta or bacon
2 cups small potatoes, washed and scrubbed but not peeled
1 to 2 garlic cloves
1 red pepper, de-seeded and chopped (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Put the potatoes in cold water and bring to a boil on the stove top.  Parboil for ten minutes, then drain and set aside. When they have cooled slightly, slice each potato in two to three slices.

Mix the pesto with about 1 tablespoon of the oil and brush it on the chicken breasts. Put them in the oven at about 375 (190) and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes until no pink remains inside.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a frying pan and gently sauté the onion for a few minutes. Grate in the garlic, add the bacon and continue to fry. Add the red pepper, if using. Now toss in the potatoes and continue to cook until they are tender and lightly golden.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

When the chicken is cooked, serve it on top of the potatoes.

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