Do you ever have those days where what you had planned for dinner now doesn’t seem so appealing? That was me last week with chicken breasts that I no longer wanted in a balsamic glaze (great recipe, you’ll read about it one day, but just not what my tastebuds were looking for) I started thinking about how to put some of my favourite things together – chicken, bacon, sundried tomatoes. Not as a pasta (although dicing the chicken and using this sauce would be excellent!) but as a special dinner. With my sister heading off to Italy (and me feeling slightly envious) I wanted to create a dinner with Italian flavours so I could live vicariously through her experiences as I watch the photos pop up on Facebook (Something tells me you will be reading about more Italian style recipes in the next few weeks!) So last week I gave it a trial. Mr L’s reaction after every bite “oh Mum, this is so good, this is so good” so I knew I was on to a winner! Cooked again last night for our regular Tuesday night dinner, it got the double thumbs up from Wendy and Mitch. And what’s not to love about this Chicken with Creamy Sundried Tomato Sauce? Succulent juicy golden chicken topped with crispy bacon strips and smothered in a creamy sundried tomato sauce – Heaven! Not an everyday dinner (my culo couldn’t take it!) but perhaps for a special occasion – say like Mother’s Day (just putting it out there)
Start by halving the chicken breasts horizontally.
This is for two reasons; a slimmer chicken breasts will cook faster and more evenly, and these days chicken breasts are HUGE and too large a portion for one person (I hear cries of dissent from Mitchell and TM about that, but I am looking after their long-term health!) Set the chicken back into the fridge while you organise everything else.
Start but cutting your bacon into thin strips. About two rashers is enough although I had to use three as I had purchased the shorter maple bacon. Heat a large pan over a medium heat and add just a few drops of olive oil then fry the bacon.
Mmm bacon! The bacon serves two purposes – it provides a nice bit of crunchy texture to finish the dish and the fat that renders out provides wonderful flavour for the chicken. If you don’t like bacon (yes Holly – I’m thinking of you!) just skip this step. Once crisp and golden, remove to a plate covered with paper towel and let drain.
Add some oil to the pan. For extra flavour, use a tablespoon of oil from the sundries tomatoes, otherwise some olive oil will be fine. Add chicken and fry until golden on each side – about three minutes a side. Cook chicken in batches to ensure that you get great colour – if you overcrowd the pan, it will reduce the heat, release its juices and “stew”. Your chicken will lose some of its juiciness and you will lose your lovely presentation, so slow down and take some time!
Place chicken on a plate and cover with a lid or loosely with foil.
Add remaining oil to pan and add garlic and sundried tomatoes and stir until fragrant. Add a quarter teaspoon each of dried oregano and basil and stir – the smell in your kitchen will now be at the mouthwatering level!
Add some white wine to deglaze the pan, stirring up all those yummy bits that might be stuck to the bottom. Add the juices from the chicken (they will have welled on the bottom of the plate whilst the chicken has been resting and are full of flavour) and the cream. I used about a cup, which sounds a lot, but you may decide to use less, depending on the juices from the chicken, Start with half a cup and add in , tasting as you go. Stir through parmesan cheese to thicken sauce slightly.
Stir through the basil leaves, then return the chicken to the pan, turing to coat in sauce and allowing to simmer to heat all the way through (popping a lid on will help with this.
I served with mashed potato – we did not want to miss out on any of those juices and with three hungry boys, it was always going to be the best option! Top the chicken with the crispy bacon and loads of this delicious sauce.
You could also serve with a side of gnocchi, pasta or rice, or just with some steamed greens and lovely crunchy bread. As you can see I got a little carried away with my steamed greens – can you ever have too much? NO!
- 3 chicken breasts, halved horizontally
- 2 rashers of bacon, sliced or diced thinly
- 6-7 sun dried tomato halves - about 120g, cut into strips
- 4 cloves of garlic crushed
- 2 tbs olive oil, or oil reserved from sundried tomatoes
- salt and pepper
- ¼ tsp each of dried oregano and basil
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 cup cream
- ¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 10 basil leaves, cut into thin strips
- Heat a few drops of oil in a large frying pan and add bacon. Fry until crisp and golden. Remove and place on kitchen paper.
- Add 1 tbs oil to pan and cook chicken for 3 minutes per side, until golden. Do not overcrowd pan, so it is best to do in two batches. Once cooked, remove chicken to a plate and cover with a lid or foil to keep warm.
- Add remaining oil to pan, along with the garlic and sundried tomato. Stir until fragrant (about 2 minutes) then add dried basil and oregano and stir through.
- Deglaze pan with white wine, stirring well to incorporate any crunchy yummy bits stuck to the bottom. Add the juices from the chicken and cream and stir through parmesan cheese and fresh basil.
- Return chicken to the pan and turn to coat in sauce. Simmer for a few minutes to reheat through.
- Serve with mashed potato, rice, gnocchi or pasta or just some crunchy bread to mop up this wonderful sauce