- Recipe(s):Roasted Chicken wrapped in pancetta with leeks and thyme (page 187) & Mushroom risotto (page 131)
- Prep: Easy & Easy
- Taste: Good & Good
I always find it hard to generate inspiration for a Monday night meal. Perhaps it is the shock to the system of going back to work after a nice restful weekend. Whatever the reason, I always find Monday a difficult night to cook. Tonight (July 21, 2014) was no different, however I did have a secret weapon. The second half of the risotto base that I made last week was sitting in the fridge waiting to be used. Perfect! I headed off to the store to pick up the required mushrooms and decided to pick up a chicken breast so I could also make use of the left over leek from last night’s feast. So out of nothing came a night that took another two recipes in the challenge off the list.
Best…..Monday……Night…..Ever…..well, actually that is a stretch but it was better than most.
Because the risotto base was already prepared the prep for the rest of the dish was super easy. All you have to do is fry the mushrooms in butter for a few minutes, add some chopped garlic and fresh thyme and you’re done. Once you have your stock warmed up you chuck everything in the pot and let it cook away. Easy as that.
While the chicken breast, wrapped in bacon, required a bit more time, it was still super easy to prep. I have quite enjoyed prepping 3 of the 4 chicken breast recipes in this book. Jamie has made them super easy, with super simple ingredients. This time I needed to chop up a leek, add some booze (white wine) and fresh thyme to the mix and then wrap the chicken breast in bacon (YUM). The book indicates to cover the leeks with tinfoil so they don’t burn. I actually had 2 left over pieces of bacon that I used in their place. I found no reason that bacon could not substitute for tinfoil. Do you?
Cooking both of these dishes is pretty straight forward. I already mentioned that you need to simply let the risotto tick away on the stove-top and all you need to do with the chicken breast is place it in the oven and let it cook for 25-35 minutes. The only thing that I would do differently in the process is I would fry the bacon wrapped chicken for a few moments first so that the bacon is nice and crispy the whole way around. The cooking method in the book leaves the bacon on the underside of the chicken breast a little bit chewy, still cooked, but chewy.
The risotto, like most we have made, was good. It did lack a little punch, which I would not have expected with the addition of the mushrooms. Normally the amount of mushrooms used would provide a nice earthly flavour, but in this case they fell a bit short. This is not to say you could not taste them, just not as much as I would have expected. The rest of the ingredients worked quite well. I could have added a bit more lemon (I used half because the recipe was halved) but I could still get a nice zing from the amount used. All in all it was a solid risotto dish, however, we have come to find that risotto is neither of our favourite dishes.
The bacon wrapped chicken was also solidly good. It had the advantage of including bacon, which is always going to add a few flavour points in my books. The way the leeks cooked down and sweetened up was really nice and worked very well with the thyme and white wine. If anything I would have added another bit of acid, perhaps lemon juice, to counteract the fat that renders out of the bacon but it was still quite good.
Both of these recipes would rank midway on the flavour to effort scale. The risotto ranks here because half of the dish was already prepped, which I will definitely do again in the future!