I was craving buttery and savoury meat on Monday evening – as you do on Mondays, naturally – so I thought I’d try to make chicken wrapped in bacon, which I had seen on Junior Masterchef the night before. Sadly I don’t think my rendition looked as good as the young contestant’s, the comparison of which is very humbling and just goes to show that Cooking with a capital ‘C’ on live television is an entirely different ballgame. It probably isn’t as fun as cooking in your own kitchen though.
I find it tricky to cook chicken breast and not have it end up very dry in the pan. This time around, I added butter throughout the cooking process, and also some drops of hot water just to let the chicken steam in its juices. It turned out quite moist, so I was pleased, but I still feel in the dark as to how other people usually pan fry chicken breast; I almost feel that I cheated with the butter, water and the bacon fat that rendered. Thoughts?
For the penne I drizzled olive oil, a bit of fine sea salt, and an Italian herb mix from M who had picked up a variety of spice mixes from his trip to Italy and generously gave me various mixes to use at home. Honestly I wasn’t sure what the green bits were (oregano or thyme or basil, I presume?) but it was tasty and meant that I didn’t have to whip up a dressing or sauce to go with the pasta.
Pan Fried Chicken Wrapped in Bacon
Ingredients (for two portions)
120 grams of dried penne
2 chicken breasts
2 slices of smoked back bacon
butter, approx 1 tablespoon
fine sea salt
coarsely ground black pepper
*optional: Italian herb mix, and salad to go with the dish
1. Rub a little olive oil and lemon juice (no more than 1/2 teaspoon per breast) into the meat. Dash sea salt and black pepper over both sides.
2. Heat pot of water for pasta, bring to boil, then tip in penne. Penne usually takes 11-14 minutes to cook, slightly longer than spaghetti.
3. Heat to medium heat a frying pan or skillet.
4. Wrap each chicken breast in one streak of bacon, taking care to wrap as tightly as you can.
5. When pan is hot, add bacon-wrapped chicken.
6. Be patient with the chicken: let it brown on each side before you flip it over. Each side takes about 5-6 minutes depending on the thickness. About halfway through the cooking process, add butter. If the pan gets very dry and starts browning, add a few drops of hot water to the pan to deglaze the pan and to let the chicken steam a little.
7. At this point the penne is probably done, so drain the pasta and then add olive oil and sea salt to taste. Season with salad dressing or herb mix if you like.
8. When chicken breast is fully cooked through remove from pan and let it sit on plate. Serve with penne and salad.
I brought this to work the next day for lunch – sooo much better than canteen sandwiches!