Friday, October 11, 2019

Marinated Chicken with Leeks

Here I am again, watching the rain fall, which has made food shopping challenging. I think I mentioned before the fresh-premade meat and fish dishes that Field’s offers (and, I’m told, makes fresh every day). I’ve tried a couple now, and they’re uniformly tasty and well-prepared.

And then I had a brainstorm. The meals as sold need only to be baked to be ready to eat, and are already nicely marinated (not too salty, not too overwhelmingly spiced), which makes them a perfect candidate for a slightly more elaborate dish—half your work is already done.

This is especially important when you're working with a tiny kitchen like my Irish one!

My Slide and Hide oven
 I happened to have watched recently a show in which Mary Berry was gallivanting around from place to place sampling restaurant dishes. One involved prawns and oyster mushrooms and leeks in a light sauce. Well, I had no prawns and haven’t even sighted oyster mushrooms in a market, but I could find leeks, so I decided to improvise my sautéeing the boned chicken breasts and giving them a nice bed of lightly cooked sliced leeks. You could use heavy cream as a sauce (as Mary did), or a lightly thickened chicken stock, or nothing at all. You could serve the dish with orzo, which I often think of as fake rice, but a bit easier to cook.

[As a slightly relevant aside, my neighbor who lives behind me was born in Ireland but spent most of her adult life in England before moving back. She mentioned that on one occasion when she was house-hunting for her family, she toured what was then Mary Berry’s house (although she didn’t buy it). It had two complete kitchens.]

Now, what do I call this? I’ll take the easy out: Marinated Chicken and Leeks.

Chicken and Leeks:
(serves two)


2 chicken breasts, boneless
3 large leeks
Bread crumbs (white or brown)


Marinate the chicken breasts, covered, in the marinade of your choice, for a couple of hours (or buy them pre-marinated).

Butter the inside of a round or oval roasting pan. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Slice the leeks thinly. If they seem to be a bit gritty, rinse them in cold water after slicing, then let drain and pat dry.

Melt some oil and butter in a saucepan and saute the leeks gently until they are soft but not browned. Spread them in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.

Here’s where you have to decide if you want a sauce with your dish, clear or creamy, or just skip that step.

In the same pan, melt some more butter with oil at medium heat, and sprinkle the breasts with salt and pepper and saute them, turning once, until they are lightly browned (you don’t need to cook them through).

Lay them over the layer of leeks. Sprinkle to top of the dish with breadcrumbs.

Place the dish in the preheated oven and cook for half an hour, or until the bread crumbs are lightly browned.

And there you have it—a quick and simple meal (if you’re lucky enough to have a Field’s nearby!)

Coming in January 2020
Did I mention I found a ring fort right down the hill from my cottage?