Chicken with pears, spinach and a good amount of squeezed lemon
( SERVES 4 )
Photo by Tam West
- Heat the oven to 180C.
- Place the sugar, water and vanilla in a heavy-based saucepan and place over a low heat. Allow the sugar to dissolve, then increase the heat and boil for about 1 minute.
- Peel, quarter and core the pears and, as you prepare them, place in the sugar syrup. Cover pears with a piece of baking paper and the lid, then return to a low heat. Simmer the pears for about 10-15 minutes until they are just tender. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool a little.
- Heat a chargrill over a high heat. Rub the chicken skin with a dash of olive oil and place on the hot grill. Grill until dark grill lines appear on the skin, then remove chicken to a roasting dish. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and drizzle with a dash of olive oil. Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes or until cooked through. Don’t overcook as chicken breast can dry out very quickly.
- Meanwhile, wipe clean the chargrill. Place pears on the grill and grill until you have dark grill lines on both sides of the pears.
- Melt the butter in a large frying pan, and in two batches, wilt the spinach. Return all the spinach to the frying pan with the grilled pears and squeeze over the juice of 1 lemon and season.
- Cut each chicken breast in half and serve with the pears and spinach. Cut the remaining lemon into 4 wedges and place a wedge on each plate.
Cook's note: Chicken breasts
It can be difficult to find chicken breasts with the skin on but hopefully, as more people ask for the skin to be left on, that will change. The skin helps to keep a chicken breast moist during cooking and adds flavour. It is of course, your choice whether you eat that skin. I also find it difficult to find smaller chicken breasts with the skin on. Most weighed in at 250g. If this is the case, I remove the chicken fillet from the main breast meat and store, covered, in the fridge for Tuesday night’s dinner.