tomato baked chicken thighs with gremolata stuffing

stuffing

This is one of those dishes that has you high-fiving yourself in the kitchen with how freakin’ delicious it is. A zesty stuffing inspired by the lemon and parsley of gremolata is rolled up in chicken thighs and prosciutto. Simple enough for a school night dinner but fancy enough to be dressed up for dinner with friends. The amount of stuffing specified below would also be glorious stuffed into a whole chicken and roasted with lemon and garlic.

 tomato baked chicken thighs with gremolata crumb stuffing

  • 6 chicken thighs, boneless, skinless, free range if possible
  • 6 rashers prosciutto or streaky bacon
  • 300g passata
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1/4c pine nuts
  • some thyme or sage
  • 1c breadcrumbs, fresh
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 lemon, zest of
  • small handful parsley, chopped
  • 100g goats cheese (I used goat feta)
  • small handful grated parmesan
  • olive oil
  • salt pepper

rawchickrolls

Firstly, make the stuffing. Over medium heat, sauté the onion, garlic and thyme or sage in some olive oil until cooked through and fragrant. Turn off the heat, add the breadcrumbs and stir well. Place into a bowl and add the lemon zest, parsley and egg. Mix well. Crumble the goat cheese through and season with salt and pepper.                             Take the chicken thighs and slightly flatten each one by either gently using a meat mallet or slicing and opening the thicker parts of the thigh. Place a rasher of bacon or prosciutto on your chopping board and put a flattened chicken thigh along it. Season lightly. Put 1/6th of the stuffing down the middle of the thigh and roll up. Repeat with the remaining chicken and stuffing. In a lightly oiled pan over medium heat, gently brown the tops of the chicken rolls and place snugly into a deep baking dish. Pour the passata over the chicken and place into the oven at 190’C. Bake for 20 mins, sprinkle a handful of grated parmesan over the top and bake for a further 10 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

bakedchickstuffedchick

We had this for dinner with a sharply-dressed green salad tossed through warmed cannelini beans and roast zucchini. Some creamy polenta or sweet potato mash would not be remiss with this delicious meal. There were 2 lovely little chicken rolls left and I served them cold and sliced over a roast vegetable and couscous salad.

Get Ahead: Prepare the chicken the day before and have it ready to pop into the oven for dinner.

 

lemon pine nut cream and nicoise salad

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I bought a bag of little sweet potatoes at the markets last weekend with plans to make a herby potato salad of crispy bacon, spanish onion, capers and gherkins. However, I had some of this lovely lemon pine nut cream in the fridge and it, and this gloriously sunny winter weather, called for something a bit brighter.

The pine nut cream was left from some gnocchi that we had earlier this week. It is incredibly versatile and and lifts a dish from everyday to elegant. Some inspiration…

  • sweet potato gnocchi, lemon pine nut cream, dill, smoked salmon
  • roast chicken, lemon pine nut cream, tarragon roast potatoes
  • charred brussels sprouts, crispy bacon, breadcrumbs, lemon pine nut cream
  • linguine with peas, leeks, lemon pine nut cream
  • herb crusted-fish, lemon pine nut cream, iceberg lettuce salad
  • stuffed baked onions, breadcrumbs, lemon…       Well, you get the idea.

For the nicoise salad above, I simply combined the roasted potatoes with excellent tinned tuna, green beans, semi-dried tomatoes, olives, spanish onion and chopped anchovy. Topped with the cream and a boiled egg, it was a lovely mid-week lunch.

Kitchen Tip: make a double batch of this sauce and use it through the week to dress up a quick week-night dinner.

 

lemon pine nut cream sauce

  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 15ml olive oil
  • 1/3 c pine nuts, processed to crumbs
  • 1/4 lemon, zest of
  • 1/3 c white wine
  • 1c thick cream
  • thyme or tarragon, optional

In a small saucepan, heat olive oil on med-high heat.  Add minced garlic and cook while stirring until fragrant.   Add ground pine nuts and herbs (if you have them) and cook while stirring until fragrant and golden. Add white wine and bring back to boil. Add cream and zest and simmer for 2 minutes .  Add salt and pepper to taste.  I like to puree the sauce after cooking to obtain a silky smooth cream but this isn’t essential. This serves 4 as a garnish.