Hands up if you’re exhausted! I wrote this blog post while at the side of a GAA pitch earlier this evening as my lads were at hurling training. Last night the three girls had a match while the twin boys had rugby training and the night before it was training for GAA and soccer. A mother I spoke to yesterday was trying to squeeze in a medical appointment between a dance class for one child and a rugby session for another. Juggling – it’s what we do. And then there’s the dinner! Who’s going to make that, when and what are we going to eat?!
Luckily my eldest likes to try cooking different things from time to time and today it was blissful to be called down from my office to a delicious dinner and then head out the door for the lads training knowing that everyone was well fed.
It would probably make a lot of sense to cook the same meals Monday to Friday every week but then you’d have to be ultra-organised for that and dare I suggest a little bit boring too. Variety as they say is the spice of life so lets keep it varied and somewhat spicy.
This beautiful dish was photographed for my cookbook ‘Enjoy!’ in the summer of 2015. Where has that year gone?! It looks vibrant and interesting with the bed of red cabbage but has simplicity at its heart. It will all cook in under 30 minutes with about 10 minutes prep.
Get ahead start:
The prep. time can be drastically reduced if you were to take 10 minutes the night before to make the stuffing, grate the red cabbage and store both in airtight containers in the fridge overnight.
Instructions for getting ahead are highlighted in blue text in the method below
Parsley & Thyme Stuffed Chicken with Red Cabbage
You will need:
1 large or 2 small onions
3 slices of whole-wheat bread (or any bread/bagels etc for making breadcrumbs – or buy them!)
2 tsp dried parsley
2 tsp dried thyme
half tsp salt
4 skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp cranberry sauce
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
4 cocktail sticks, for assembly
For the red cabbage:
half head of red cabbage
1 tbsp rapeseed oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Fresh nutmeg, for grating
1 tbsp runny honey
Preheat a fan oven to 180°C.
Get a small baking tray ready for the chicken – you want to cook them close together to retain their juices, so a tray that’s only just big enough is best.
Peel and finely chop the onion (a mini-chopper works best for this). Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the chopped onion, cover the pan and leave to sweat for 10 minutes.
Blitz the bread in a food processor or mini-chopper to create breadcrumbs. Once the onions are cooked, take the saucepan off the heat and stir in the breadcrumbs, herbs and salt, stirring well to combine.
Slit the side of each chicken breast to create a pocket. Take a fistful of stuffing and squeeze it to compact it, then stuff the breast with it, securing the side with a cocktail stick. Shape any leftover stuffing into compact round stuffing dumplings to cook alongside the chicken.
Mix the cranberry sauce and rapeseed oil together really well in a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to thickly paint the chicken breasts with the sauce – use it all up.
Cook the chicken in the heated oven for 20 minutes, then turn up the heat to 200°C for another 5 minutes.
Check that the chicken is fully cooked through – there should be no traces of pink.
While the chicken cooks, prepare the cabbage.
Use a food processor to grate the cabbage.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a low heat. Add the grated cabbage, cover the pan and sweat for 10 minutes. Raise the heat and pour in the red wine vinegar and a good grating of fresh nutmeg. Stir well for 2 minutes. Reduce the heat and cook on a low heat, covered, for a further 10 minutes, then stir through the honey to heat it.
Divide the red cabbage between four shallow bowls or plates and serve with the chicken on top. Serve with a side of Paprika Roast Baby Potatoes (cook this at same time as chicken) and some extra cranberry sauce.
Paprika Roast Baby Potatoes
You will need:
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat a fan oven to 180°C.
Place the baby potatoes on a baking tray and drizzle generously with oil. Use your hands to roll the potatoes around to coat them thoroughly with the oil. Sprinkle over some paprika and season with some crushed sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Roast for 15–20 minutes, until a knife slips through easily.
Top Tip: Use leftovers of chicken and stuffing for next day’s lunch in a salad or sandwiches.
‘Til next time, Sheila.