I am not the most economical supermarket shopper, I try to shop just once a week but I always end up having buy extras throughout the week and I never take advantage of the offers available as I work strictly to a list (I am slightly OCD)! However last week I did end up buying extra chicken thighs in the 3 meats for £10 deal and so I needed to find some way to cook them as my freezer is already pretty jam packed.
As I have mentioned before I love chicken thighs, they are so tender and delicious, and Fay Ripley has some great recipes for them. The only thing I don't like is you have to cut off so many nasties, that they take a while to prepare.
Anyway as it's our busy Wednesday afternoon with gym and ballet club for Arabella, I needed to cook something quick, easy and delicious. I decided on Fay's mozzarella and pesto stuffed chicken - I have cooked this several times before and it has always gone down a treat. I can't be too adventurous on a Wednesday as Arabella is always tired and I do not want any tantrums!!
One of the best things about this dish is that it can all be prepared beforehand.
Ingredients for 4 people:
8 chicken thighs, skinned and boned
8 tsp fresh pesto (I buy it rather than make it)
200g mozzarella cheese
100g fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbsp olive oil
8-16 cocktail sticks
If you are making these to cook straight away, start by preheating the oven to 200C / 180C / gas mark 6.
Then cut all the yukky bits off the chicken thighs - I hate this part! Once this is done, unroll a chicken thigh flat and then add a knob of mozzarella and a teaspoon of pesto in the middle.
Roll it up, secure it with a cocktail stick - or two sometimes in my case when I stuff the thighs too full!
Repeat this with all the chicken thighs and then lay them side by side in an ovenproof dish / baking tray with the joins tucked underneath.
I have to say that it is a very untidy process as your hands are covered in the chicken, pesto and cheese! Sorry for the photos - they are very messy too!
Mix the breadcrumbs with the oil and scatter over the chicken thighs - I used my hands for this as well because otherwise the crumbs can stick together - sorry another messy job!!
Here you can either put the chicken in the fridge and save it for later or place the dish in the oven and cook for 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
Fay suggests serving this with crispy potatoes and roasted vegetables - we served it with salad for Pascal and I and carrots for Arabella.
It was yum!! We all loved it - Arabella enjoyed it so much, that she ended up eating half of mine as well and we pretty much all ate in silence and unison! We cooked this recipe of 8 chicken thighs for just the three of us (piglets) as we didn't do much on the side so you can adjust the recipe depending on what you are having as an accompaniment.
This is very kid and adult friendly - I have cooked it for Arabella and a friend on a playdate once and it went down well. I am always nervous about cooking for her little friends in case they are fussy and so often end up offering the usual pizza, pesto pasta or fish fingers - not particularly nutritious or healthy so I would recommend this as an alternative as pretty much all kids like chicken, pesto and cheese and as do most adults!! The only downfall is the presentation is not great, certainly not restaurant standard so it is probably not dinner party food although it definitely tastes it.