Creamy Baked Pesto Chicken

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Words & Photography
by Melanie Lionello

I’ve spent the last two weeks traveling around Israel and Jordan and am even more hooked on Mediterranean flavours than usual! This is my first dinner back in the kitchen even though we got home almost two days ago. No judgement but I ate a handful of maltesers for dinner last night, then proceeded to fall asleep sitting up. Bloody jetlag!

Anyway, because the weather is substantially cooler in Melbourne than Tel Aviv, I really felt like making something a little cosy, but still with those Mediterranean flavours that are quite fresh and vibrant. I also wanted to make something that Isaac can have tomorrow for lunch as leftovers, and this creamy baked pesto chicken absolutely does the trick!

It’s such a super easy recipe and you can easily double the amount of chicken used without changing any other part of the recipe in case you’d like more leftovers, or if you have more hungry mouths to feed. I also used Barilla jarred pesto to make this recipe really fast, but of course you can make your own pesto too. If making your own pesto, try using a basil and rocket combo for the herbs. The fresh, peppery flavours pair so well with tomatoes and caramelized chicken.

Creamy Baked Pesto Chicken
Serves 2

4 x free-range chicken thighs, skin-off
1 x 400g can of cherry or crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 jar (~75g) pesto
40g feta, crumbled
Black pepper and fresh basil to serve

1. Preheat oven to 170C fan-forced.
2. In an oven safe fry pan, fry off chicken in olive oil for 7-8 minutes on one side only until caramelised. Then remove from heat and turn chicken thighs over so the caramelisation is on top.
3. In a bowl, combine pesto, water and tomatoes until mixed well.
4. Add pesto and tomato mix to fry pan coating the chicken. Sprinkle over feta then bake for 15 minutes.
5. Serve with basil leaves and pepper on top of grilled asparagus and potatoes or even some cous cous and greek-style salad.


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