Spring Thyme Lemon Chicken Thighs in Prosciutto

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Spring Thyme Lemon Chicken Thighs in Prosciutto

This was a delightfully easy supper and full of spring flavours. I wanted to keep the flavours simple and fresh. I chose boneless skinless chicken thighs which I marinated in a little olive oil, zest of a lemon and lots of thyme. I brought the oven to 180c. The thighs were each then wrapped cosily in a prosciutto slice – though you could of course use serrano ham or parma at a pinch. I skewered each with a cocktail stick to hold the shape whilst they cooked. Remove when they are cooked. I sat them in a roasting tray with a further light drizzle of oil on the pan bottom.

They took around 40 minutes. The flavours simply burst forth in every mouthful – and the ham was lightly crispy, yet succulent. I served these with Venezia new potatoes and the asparagus recipe from the previous post – only I served the green spears cooled rather than cold. The vinaigrette went soooo well with the chicken!

I hope you try this some time soon – and of course it is one that can be tinkered with – you could wrap basil leaves around the chicken rather than thyme and then wrap the ham round. Or you could indsert slithers of garlic into the chicken first and even some red chill finely sliced, then pop the ham around. Experiment!

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Beanz do not have to mean Heinz!

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Beanz do not have to mean Heinz!

This is a recipe I first came across in Tuscany, though I have had similar hearty soups in Rome and Sicily. Nonetheless, it is redolent of all that is fabulous about the Mediterranean and its warmth permeates every mouthful. Close your eyes and you will be sitting by the sea sensing the magic of the Med through every pore.

And it is, as ever, so simple. Why oh why does anyone ever contemplate buying a tinned soup? I am at a loss for an answer. Speed? Cost? Certainly not flavour.

Anyway, here we go. Do this one. Please.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 celery stick chopped
1 onion chopped
1 large carrot chopped
1 litre of chicken or veg stock
400 gm can of cannellini beans drained
400 gm can of borlotti beans drained
Sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary
1 bay leaf
8 rashers of prosciutto – or you could, at a pinch, use streaky smoked bacon
4 good Sicilian sausages – or, frankly, any top quality bangers with flavour

Heat the oil in a large casserole pan or stock pot. Add the vegetables and a little rock salt and black pepper. Cook gently for 10 minutes. Add the stock, beans, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Bring to the boil and simmer for another ten minutes.

Lift out the herbs with a slotted spoon. Bin. Use a stick blender and whizz to a rough chunky but creamy texture.

Cook the sausages how ever which way you fancy – grilling possibly best for this recipe. Allow to cool a tad, then slice each sausage into 4 or 5 pieces.

Add to the soup, and pan fry gently the prosciutto until crispy. Add a rasher or two to each bowl. Serve this dish of the Gods with crusty bread and a good hearty glass of pinotage or other suitable firm red. The sausages are not necessary but make it a real tummy rumbler of a meal. 

Enjoy with or without the sausage…but be bold.

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Anytime is tortilla time….

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Anytime is tortilla time....

Tonight I stared into the abyss that is the end of the week cupboard…staring back at me were 6 free range eggs and a jar of cornichons. Ok….let’s flip the fridge open…..8 slices of prosciutto. Hmmm….in the veg rack were several potatoes minding their own business and 4 shallots snoozing softly.

Nothing to be done other than a dish redolent of Spanish nights, aimed solely at dispelling the rusting rainy weather engulfing my corner of the globe presently.

Tortilla. Paradise on a plate.

So, I poured a glass of finest Spanish Cava to set me on the right path and began peeling and slicing. I even popped Mana on the sound system.

This simple piece of bliss was around 6 spuds peeled, halved and sliced. 4 shallots peeled and chopped. A frying pan coated with plenty of olive oil, heated then add the pots and shallots. Coax around the pan until starting to brown a little – about 15 to 20 minutes on a lowish to medium heat. I was a bit cheeky tonight because I also added a finely sliced green birdseye chilli.

Warmth.

I then beat 6 free range eggs with plenty of black pepper and some ground sea salt – added this to the pan and let it drift into every nook and cranny.

Another five minutes then place the frying pan under a hot grill until the egg is setting and browning. Remove. Place a platter over, pray and flip!

Voila!

I served it with the prosciutto, cornichon and some fennel salami. I also has some warm crusty ciabatta and mixed green salad on the side.

Perfecto!

Gracias!

OK, I forgot to take all the pics….

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OK, I forgot to take all the pics....

….so you will have to take it from me that tonight’s supper was a 3 course delight. Late, mind…leaves on the line, hurricanes, fences down, hair lightly ruffled etc all of which caused us to not begin supper until 8.30pm… but all worth it – and if Annie’s other half is tuning in, it was all healthy too, James!

Starter…as in the pic above…slices of fennel doused in lemon juice and olive oil wrapped in prosciutto crudo with cherry toms and fennel salami – finocchiona – with a drizzle of fig balsamic. Main course – and this was very good – really very good – tagliatelle with a creamy basil sauce. Into a blender – pop a big handful or two of basil, a clove of garlic peeled and sliced, two tablespoons of white wine vinegar, a teaspoon of dijon mustard, a teaspoon of capers and enough olive oil to give it a thick, just about runny, consistency. Blitz! Add to a bowl and add 2 or 3 dessert spoons of single cream. Cook your tagliatelle, drain it, stir in the sauce and serve – scattering over some toasted pine nuts if you will – they only take a minute or two in a dry frying pan. And of course we all grated over some parmesan.

I actually prefer this to my normal straight pesto sauce. It was simply unctuous.

OK – to finish off, I sliced a fabulous crisp Italian pear and placed a large piece on a small saucer to which I added a thin slice of creamy gorgonzola. This was all washed down with an amazing Malbec from Argentina called Alamos – purchased from those lovely people in Majestic in Winchester. Possibly a contributory factor as to why I forgot to photo the main course and the dessert! Hey – but it was all fab and each of the 3 dishes complimented each other marvellously.

Oh…and in the photo I was not just the only one drinking- the others just hadn’t arrived at the table yet!

Right – nearly 10.15 pm. Time to laze by the woodburner and dream about tomorrow’s supper….