Tuesday, December 19

Time for a Christmas Recipe

As many people in the blog world are sharing Christmas recipes, I thought it was about time I contributed.

Christmas in Australia is usually pretty darn hot so we usually go for a lunch that consists of a variety of cold dishes many of which are old family recipes. On the menu are a variety of cold meats, seafood and salads. One of the dishes I usually prepare is Pancetta and Basil Wrapped Chicken. It is one of my specialties. On Christmas day we usually eat this cold, cut into strips with various bean, watermelon, greek and potato salads. However, as this dish is meant to be served hot wth a delicious creamy gravy, I thought I would share it with those of you in colder climates. However you choose to serve this dish you can be sure it will be well received because it is scrumdiddlyumptious and dead easy to cook!

pancetta and basil wrapped chicken

you will need:

4 skinned chicken breasts
8 slices of pancetta
a good handful of FRESH basil leaves (Do NOT use anything but FRESH leaves - I feel very strongly about this)

Gravy (optional)
575ml/ 1 pt [2 1/2 cups] of strongly flavoured chicken stock
100ml / 3/1/2 fl oz double cream [7 tbsp heavy cream]

Preheat the oven to 220˚C/425˚F.

Lay 2 slices of pancetta slightly overlapping on a work surface. Put a good sprinkling of fresh basil leaves on top. Season with pepper (no salt the pancetta is salty enough) and place a chicken breast on top. Wrap the pancetta securely around the chicken breast.

Put olive oil and about a tea spoon of butter in a frying pan. Lay the chicken breasts in the pan and fry for 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a roasting tray and put in the oven for 10 minutes (or longer depending on how big the chicken breasts are).

As soon as the chicken breasts go in the oven, pour the stock into the pan and reduce by half over a high heat, scraping any bits from the pan and including them in the stock. Off the heat, whisk in the cream and all but 8 of the chopped chive stalks which you can use later for garnishing. Taste and add more pepper if needed. Keep warm.

serves 4

I like to serve this dish warm with beans, baby carrots, asparagus, and baby potatoes - I don't often cook the gravy as it is very delicious but very rich - or cold, cut into strips with salads. Either way the chicken is absolutely delicious!

What will you be eating for Christmas lunch?


Blogger Beck said...

Ooooh, that sounds yummy. We don't eat lunch on Christmas day - breakfast is generally really late (like, 11ish?) and dinner is at 3, followed by unconciousness.
There's no SNOW here this Christmas! I can't get my head around it!

Wed. Dec. 20, 01:15:00 am 2006  
Blogger candyinsierras said...

I think I want to try your dish for lunch!

Wed. Dec. 20, 02:59:00 am 2006  
Blogger Kim from Hiraeth said...

Lunch on Christmas varies from year to year. On Christmas Eve we always have Chinese Chicken and Walnuts and Egg Drop Soup.

I'll post up my recipes when I get a chance.

I'm with Candy. This year I think I will fix your recipe for Christmas lunch!

Wed. Dec. 20, 07:23:00 am 2006  
Blogger missmellifluous said...

I hope you get snow soon, Beck! It just doesn't seem right to have no snow. It's like us having no sun - which we don't today! It's wrong.

I like your pacing yourself approach to Christmas day food. Generally we have ham and tomato on toast for breakfast and a late lunch which merges into dinner. Lunch becomes a large meal that lasts most of the day.

Candy and Kim,
I am so glad that you both want to cook my chicken recipe. I only wish I could cook it for you. It will be nice to think we could be eating the same food on Christmas day. How fun!

Wed. Dec. 20, 08:06:00 am 2006  
Blogger Islandsparrow said...

We don't usually eat lunch - we have a later breakfast and then a big turkey dinner around 5. A huge turkey - we won't be able to move until boxing day - when we will eat another big meal - usually a smörgåsbord type meal.

Fri. Dec. 22, 07:07:00 am 2006  
Blogger Kim from Hiraeth said...

Wouldn't it be fun to sit down for a meal together?

Someday we'll be sharing the marriage supper of the Lamb. And none of us will have cooked!

: D

Fri. Dec. 22, 11:06:00 am 2006  
Blogger Julana said...

We had Tonia's (Intent blog) Best Chicken Soup!

Tue. Dec. 26, 01:50:00 pm 2006  

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