Monday, 22 December 2014

Hummus Inspired Baked Chicken Breasts

I had a craving for hummus, but decided to translate it into some baked chicken breasts with chickpeas. It turned out to be one of the easiest and tastiest meals, paired with some roasted red potatoes that I topped with crumbled feta cheese for the last few minutes of roasting time.

There was also a bonus of leftover chickpeas, that I am adding to some turkey soup tonight...using leftover turkey breast from the freezer. The chick peas will add some of the hummus flavour to the soup, can't wait!

I put the potatoes into the oven first, at 400F, so that they were cooked at the same time as the chicken. I cut baby red potatoes in half, tossed them in olive oil, salt and pepper and added 4 cloves of crushed garlic.

Make a wet rub for the chicken breasts, by combining the following on a plate:

Zest of half a lemon
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
salt, pepper and a pinch of cayenne pepper
Juice of half a lemon
1 tablespoon olive oil

Add 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts to the plate, and coat them well with the rub.

In a large pan, over medium high heat, brown both sides of the chicken breasts. There is no need to add oil to the pan, as there is enough oil in the rub.

Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Add a can of drained and rinsed chick peas to the pan, stirring them around to coat them with the spices that are on the bottom.

Add 3/4 cup of chicken stock to the chick peas, then place the chicken breasts back into the pan.

Place the pan into the oven, turning the temperature down to 375F and bake until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve the chicken breasts with a generous spoonful of the chick peas, some crunchy potatoes with melting feta cheese and steamed asparagus...yum!

  • The chick peas absorb the chicken stock during baking, and start to go slightly crunchy on the outside, but are still soft on the inside. The amount of stock can be adjusted to your liking...add more if you prefer the chick peas to be soft right through.
  • I considered mashing the chick peas a bit, creating a chunky hummus effect, but we all agreed that they were nice whole.
  • Add thinly sliced onion and red peppers to the pan before adding the chick peas. Add fresh baby spinach leaves to the chick peas just before serving, allowing them to wilt with the residual heat.
  • Stuff the chicken breasts with feta cheese and spinach before browning and baking.
  • Leftover chicken and peas can be turned into soup, used as a pie filling (consider using filo pastry) or added to salads or wraps for lunch.
  • Consider grilling the chicken and slicing it over a salad, along with the chick peas, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and feta or goat cheese.
  • Why not slice the chicken and stuff it into warm pita pockets, along with shredded lettuce, the mashed chick peas, chopped tomatoes and avocado? Add some plain yoghurt, with salt, pepper and chopped fresh mint.
  • If you decide to try this with fish, make sure to use a thicker piece of firm fleshed fish.
  • The feta can be crumbled over the chicken breasts if you are not serving potatoes on the side.
  • Substitute pork tenderloin or chops, whole roast chicken, or lamb...meatballs, rack of lamb or leg of lamb.
  • The amount of cumin and cayenne pepper in the rub can be increased, you can also add in fresh herbs such as oregano or basil.
  • Prepare extra  for the freezer...coat the chicken with the rub, wrap well and freeze for cooking at a later date.

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