We've got to the end of the week and the fridge is a bit bare, so this is what I came up with based on what we had left.
This is another quick and easy dinner, so long as you can wait half an hour, smelling the roasting chicken and veg with your tummy rumbling...
A couple of chicken breasts go into a foil parcel, with sliced garlic, sprigs of marjoram and some olive oil, pepper and salt.
Into a deep baking tray go a thinly sliced courgette and aubergine (I'm having loads of fun with my new mandolin), a bell pepper, onion, garlic and a little more marjoram, olive oil and black pepper.
Pop both of them in the oven at 200°C and leave for 30-40 minutes.
Serve the chicken breasts on top of a pile of vegetables, pour the chicken juices over the top and scatter a few black olives around.
It's really good, I promise!
A Note on Chicken
A free range or organic chicken breast doesn't need much treatment to taste wonderful and I don't believe that the simple kind of preparation above works well with cheap, badly reared chicken.
Quite apart from the (I hope obvious) ethical issues around battery chicken, this kind of cheap poultry doesn't have enough natural flavour to carry it off.
The fillets also tend to turn out dry instead of juicy and I think this could be due to the added water injected into it (up to 37%) which leeches out during cooking. This leaves a tough peice of meat behind, along with residues of the polyphosphates and hydrolysed proteins that were used to get the water to absorb in the first place. Yum.
Panorama - "Chicken Run" (2003)
Transcript of the above programme
Panorama - how chicken is adulterated
Telegraph article (2003)
FSA Report on study into contents of chicken
Headline from the Independent (2009)
Column from the Guardian (2009)
Chicken Out campaign
Soil Association: Chicken & Turkeys