Jamie Oliver seems to have been a bit quiet recently, which surely means there’s a new book due out any day now. I, for one, can’t wait. I love Jamie Oliver’s cooking, I love his recipes and I love his passion for feeding people. This recipe hails from his 30 minute meals collection and is one of those suppers that I have come to rely on for feeding a crowd. Not only is it super quick to cook but it looks impressive and tastes delicious.
The night I first made this, my friend Fiona had joined me for a midweek supper so I started some of it before she arrived and finished it off once we were sat at the kitchen table chatting. It definitely took less than 30 minutes and that included making a non-alcoholic cocktail. I think this would be a delicious supper for supper nights, although this was a wet, windy night in Liverpool, and has a wonderful collection of fresh and zesty ingredients. Also, it’s a good one for a late dash through the supermarket on the way home as it doesn’t require a trolleyful of ingredients.
I think the combination of the paprika and the dried oregano gives it a really smoky flavour. It almost tastes cajun or like a barbeque recipe. I used sweet paprika mostly, and one day used plain paprika, I recommend the sweet personally. It gives it more of a depth of flavour and a stronger contrast with the other ingredients.
The crushed potatoes and the creamed spinach make lovely side dishes and to eke it out further, and because I can’t resist those long sweet red peppers when I see them in the supermarket, I made some roasted red peppers drizzled with olive oil and basil and feta.
I’ve since made this for my housemate, who’s enjoyed it both hot and cold, a scouse builder and my mother and all have enjoyed it enormously. I does seem a great crowd pleaser.
Tray Baked Chicken with Crushed New Potatoes and Creamed Spinach
Enough for about 4
(Jamie breaks his up into complicated sections and this is my version of his recipe so I’m going to try to avoid the confusing sections!)
- a bag of new potatoes (my new favourites are the Apache new potatoes at Sainsburys, they are a mottled purple and the creamiest potato ever, they really suit the crushing in this recipe)
- thyme and rosemary sprigs
- garlic cloves – two crushed
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- butter, olive oil and salt and pepper
- 4 large chicken breasts
- dried oregano
- sweet paprika
- rosemary sprigs
- 4 sprigs of baby tomatoes on the vine
- 2 lemons, cut into halves
- 4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
- bag of spinach
- pot of single cream
- more garlic cloves – two crushed
- thyme sprigs
- a handful of grated parmesan
- ground nutmeg or a nutmeg to be grated
- Now, at this point, Jamie gets very excited and breaks everything up into the different items and he keeps popping back to each one, I found this pretty difficult to follow and got hugely confused at what happened when so I’m going to break it up as I’ve cooked it since the original attempt.
- Place a pan of hot water on full to boil, add the new potatoes and a nice pinch of salt. Cover and leave to cook.
- On another hob, place a large frying pan, add olive oil, on high. Spread a piece of greaseproof paper on the kitchen side and sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of sweet paprika, 2 tablespoons of the dried oregano and splash with olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. This should make a lovely orange colourful streak.
- Swish the chicken breasts up in the greaseproof paper so they’re well coated and add to the hot pan. Cook on either side until brown and remove the pan from the heat.
- Put the oven on at about 180-190. In a large lasagne dish, place the chicken breasts, add the small bunches of tomatoes and the lemon halves.
- In the frying pan, toast the rosemary sprigs for a couple of minutes, swishing them around in the remaining juices and tip all of this over the chicken. Layer the bacon across the tops of the chicken breasts and give a good grinding of salt and pepper.
- Place in the oven.
- By this time, your new potatoes should be cooked. Remove from the boiling water and drain. Jamie recommends cooking this in another frying pan, by which time you’ll probably have exhausted all the pans in the cupboard so I put mine back in the pan I boiled the potatoes in. Crush the potatoes with the back of a fork or a potato masher and place the pan on a high heat. Sprinkle the pan with olive oil and add the crushed garlic cloves and the herbs. Soften in the oil and add the crushed potatoes. Squish the potatoes down with the back of a spoon and leave to brown.
- While these are browning and the chicken is in the oven, place a large pan on a high heat with an inch of water in the bottom. When this is boiling, add the spinach and steam for a couple of minutes. When the water has evaporated and the spinach is wilted, add the butter, garlic and nutmeg, stir these around for several minutes until soft and then add a splash of cream, the amount is up to you but I didn’t want it too wet so I used about 2 tablespoons.
- Remove the chicken from the oven and serve in its dish.
- Tip the browned potatoes into a serving bowl and the spinach into another serving bowl.
- Dig in with bread and butter and any other salads you can think of.