Sunday, 13 January 2013

Chicken in the Garden

Pollo in Umido di Marsala, con Bietola, Olive e Pomodori Secche
Marsala Poached Chicken, Swiss Chard, Olives & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

I love it when I manage to make a meal that is totally delicious as well as being totally healthy- especially if it is totally quick and easy too! This poached chicken breast, on Swiss chard with olives and sun-dried tomatoes has a lovely Sicilian flavor to it- light but rich and tangy at the same time... Tastes like home to me!

The other thing that makes this taste like home, is the light Marsala-tinged broth that the chicken poaches in, infused with rosemary, thyme and cloves, it made the meat subtly flavorful and perfect in combination with the rich vegetables. Apart from the hint of olive oil I used to "dress" the vegetables and to lightly glaze the chicken, the recipe is also fat-free... so what's not to like? Go ahead and indulge and enjoy!

For the chicken, I first of all browned it lightly from all sides in just a hint of olive oil, with a clove of garlic. I popped these into a small saucepan and added a glassful of Marsala, 2 cloves, a bay leaf, a sprig of rosemary, a couple of sprigs of thyme, a little salt and some pepper. I added enough boiling water to cover the meat and let it simmer on a low heat for 15-20 minutes.  

For the vegetables- cut the chard into bite-size chunks and steam it for 10-15 minutes until tender, along with a little finely chopped garlic. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the stalks. Then add the pitted Kalamata olives (or any other black olives that you may prefer) and the sun-dried tomatoes, which you can either slice or dice and a little olive oil whilst the chard is still hot. Grate with nutmeg, season with salt and pepper and transfer to a frying pan and stir fry for 2-3 minutes so that the olives and tomatoes come up to temperature and develop their aroma fully.

I served the chicken breast in slices on top of the chard... it was still so moist and juicy that it didn't need any extra sauce of any kind, but you can always spoon some of the Marsala stock over it if you like or add a drizzle of olive oil. I added a sprinkle of cracked pepper, sea salt and chili flakes, just to season the inside of the meat, but otherwise enjoyed the combination of the flavors of the juicy chard and tangy tomatoes, with the salty olives and the mild and tender chicken breast... it was, for my taste- just perfect! I hope it will be for your taste too!

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