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Monday, April 23, 2012

Mediterranean Chicken Bake

A long time ago when I used to order pizzas for home delivery, I would always create my own to be ordered – chicken with feta, fresh tomatoes, olives, roasted capsicum, olives. So one day when I had a craving for these flavours but was in no mood for pizza I decided to turn it into a pasta bake instead with a creamy white sauce.

Although it may seem a little complicated, it truly is very easy to make. If you don’t want to roast the capsicum yourself, feel free to use that from a jar, and also feel free to use frozen spinach defrosted in the microwave. Hey, why not throw in some sliced mushrooms to add some earthiness to the dish?

All in all, enjoy the intense variety of flavours this dish offers up and take whatever shortcuts you feel like to make it that much simpler!

What Will I Need?

4 chicken thighs
2 cups chicken stock
½ red capsicum
2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
250g grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup black olives, halved
60g spinach, wilted
½ red onion, finely sliced
100g feta, crumbled
200ml cream
½ cup white wine
40 g parmesan cheese, grated
2 cups penne, uncooked

What Now?

1.             Preheat your oven to 180C and lightly oil a baking tray.

2.             Place the capsicum and garlic cloves onto the prepared baking tray.

3.             Place the chicken thigh into a roasting dish, cover with the chicken stock.

4.             Place both trays/dishes into the hot oven for 30 minutes.

5.             Once removed from the oven, peel the skin from the capsicum and garlic and dice. Set aside.

6.             Finely dice the cooked chicken thigh and retain ½ cup of chicken stock. Set aside. Wipe down the roasting dish – we will use this again.

7.             Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil and cook the penne according to instructing until just cooked. Drain and set aside.

8.             Whilst the pasta cooks, in a small saucepan bring the wine to the boil over a high heat for five minutes. Reduce the heat to low and then stir through the cream, retained chicken stock, and parmesan cheese. Simmer for five minutes.

9.             Once the pasta is cooked, add the tomatoes, onion, defrosted spinach, garlic, capsicum, olives, chicken and sauce and stir thoroughly but gently.

10.         Transfer to the roasting dish and sprinkle with the crumbled feta.

11.         Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven or until the cheese has begun to brown, and then allow to rest for 10 minutes before serving.