So for this post I combined 2 dishes from a couple of my favourite chefs. The main is courtesy of Jamie Oliver's 30minute meals and the side dish to accompany the main is from Rick Stein's Mediterranean escapes.
For the stuffed cypriot chicken we need:
- a small bunch of flat leaf parsley
- a small bunch of basil leaves
- 8 jarred sun-dried tomatoes in oil
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 100g of feta cheese
- 4 x chicken breasts (skin on if you can)
- 4 sprigs of rosemary
To start this off, put the parsley, basil and sun-dried tomatoes with a little of their oil and a pinch of pepper onto a chopping board (or a food processor) together with 2 or 3 crushed garlic cloves.
After processing or chopping these ingredients together, crumble in the feta cheese and mix together.
Next step is to get a large sheet of grease proof paper or a baking sheet and place the chicken breasts skin side down. Carefully, cut a small pocket under the fillet in each chicken breast.
Now divide the filling between all the chicken breasts neatly.
Fold over the pockets and make sure everything is secure and in place.
Add a couple of lugs of olive oil to a pan big enough to add all the chicken. Lay the chicken skin side down into the frying pan. Scrunch up a sheet of baking paper under the tap. Flatten out the sheet and tuck it over the chicken and leave to cook, shaking the pan every now and again.
After a little while, check the under side of the chicken to see if its golden. Once this is the case, turn the chicken over, add the 4 sprigs of rosemary to the pan and cover again. This time, get a medium frying pan or pot and place it over the chicken, just to add pressure on the chicken and for it to cook all over evenly. Once the chicken is cooked through and is crisp and golden from the outside, its ready!
For the side dish of Parmigiana Di Melanzana (baked sliced aubergines with tomato, taleggio and parmesan cheese) we'll need:
- 2 medium sized aubergines
- 150ml extra virgin olive oil
- 200g taleggio cheese (delicious!)
- Fresh basil leaves, shredded
- 1/2 quantity tomato sauce
- 50g grated parmesan cheese (or more)
Firstly, top and tail the aubergine (take off the top and the bottom). Slice the aubergine lengthways in 1cm thick slices. As aubergines retain a lot of water, its best to drain them before cooking them. Sprinkle some salt on the aubergines and leave to drain for about 20-30mins. This will also help to stop the aubergines from absorbing too much oil.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. After allowing the aubergines to drain the water, pat them dry to remove the salt and any excess juice. Heat about 2 table spoons of olive oil in a large frying pan and add a layer of the aubergine slices. Fry them off for about 2min on each side until they are tender and golden.
Do this to all the slices, you may need to add some more olive oil as the aubergines will absorb all the oil.
After all the slices have been fried, leave on the side.
To make the tomato sauce you'll need:
- 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 large garlic cloves
- 2 x 400g cans plum tomato or chopped tomatoes
- Salt & pepper
Put the olive oil and garlic into a pan and as soon as the garlic begins to sizzle add the tomatoes and leave to simmer for 15-20mins, breaking up the tomatoes and until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
Now, cut the piece of telaggio into this slices without the rind.
the next step is to assemble this dish.
Lay half the aubergine slices over the base of an oven proof dish, scatter over the basil and then spread over half the tomato sauce.
Cover with half the telaggio slices and then sprinkle half of the parmesan.
Repeat the layers once more and then bake for about 20mins until bubbling hot and the cheese has melted and is a bit golden.