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Summer Pesto Chicken

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July 31, 2014 / English / By
Nicola

Pesto is one of my favourite ingredients, but sometimes I run out of ideas of how to use it - bar slapping it on some pasta, that is! However, I've discovered that it's a wonderful way to keep chicken moist, as well as adding a bit of flavour. This is a great recipe to make during this hot weather, which combines delicious flavours quickly and easily.

To begin with, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F or Gas Mark 4). While it's heating up, you can begin to prepare your chicken.

I find that one large chicken breast is just about enough to feed two adults; to feed three or more people I suggest using two chicken breasts. Cut slices into each chicken breast, but make sure that you don't cut the whole way down. You want your slits to be deep, but not so deep that you cut right the way through and end up with separate pieces. Each slice of chicken should be about 1cm thick.

Next, it's the turn of the pesto! Spoon a tablespoon of pesto onto each chicken breast, and spread it into an even layer over the entire top surface. Press it deep into the crevices which you've just cut into the chicken breast. Leave no surface untouched, except the bottom! You can do this with a spoon or knife, but I find that it's easiest if you use your fingers.

Grate some cheese - I usually go for about a handful of Cheddar, but use your favourite. You can even be adventurous and try mixing several cheeses! Whatever you choose to use, mix the handful of grated cheese with about the same amount of plain flour. Use your hand to press this mixture right on top of the pesto - this will form a crispy crust.

Transfer your chicken (which should still be in one piece) onto a baking tray and place it in the oven. You'll need to leave it to cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the crust is cooked, crispy and golden.

When it's ready, remove it from the oven. Take a knife and very carefully cut through the same slits that you cut before, but this time you should cut the whole way through! You'll end up with a series of individual chicken breast slices, each coated with pesto and topped with a cheesy crust!

I usually serve this chicken on top of a bed of roast pepper slices tossed with spaghetti, but it would work just as well alongside rice or boiled new potatoes and a side salad.

If you're not that keen on pesto (or you just fancy trying an alternative), you can substitute the pesto with wholegrain mustard. There are so many variations of this dish that you can try, so just have fun with it!


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