I have been an eggetarian almost all my life. But while doing post-graduation, one of my closest friends introduced (read forced ;)) me to try chicken. The first dish that I tried was Chilli Chicken and it still is my favorite. After that, for a very long time, I only used to eat very few chicken dishes, all of them made with boneless chicken. It was only when I got married that I started eating chicken in all forms. As I have mentioned in one of my earlier posts, my husband is an amazing cook and one of his specialties is cooking chicken. Still, I was not very comfortable in trying out any chicken dishes which were not Indian (spicy) but my brother slowly introduced me to milder, subtle flavored chicken and I must say I have come to love them too! So, here is one such recipe made with chicken breasts, which is very simple to make and super delicious 🙂
- Fresh Spinach Leaves – 150 grams
- Sour Cream – 1/4 cup
- Shredded Pepperjack Cheese – 1/4 cup (you can also use Monterey Jack Cheese)
- Garlic, minced – 4 cloves
- Red Chillies – 2 (deseeded if don’t want to make it hot)
- Skinless, boneless Chicken Breast Halves – 2
- Black Pepper – 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt – To taste
- Parma Ham (optional) – 6 slices
- Preheat the oven to 392 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- Blanch the spinach by adding it to a boiling water followed by plunging it into chilled water. Alternatively, you can heat it in microwave for 3 minutes or until wilted.
- Chop the blanched/wilted spinach roughly and make sure you have drained all of its water. Transfer it into a bowl.
- Add sour cream, garlic, chillies and pepperjack cheese. Mix well until it has formed a smooth texture.
- Lay the chicken breasts out on a clean surface, and make a slit down the side of each of the breasts to either form a pocket or to open a flap like I did (see figure 1 from the image above).
- Spoon some of the spinach mixture inside each pocket or on the thicker side and close the flap. Refer to image 1.
- Now, wrap the breasts with parma ham slices and secure the assembly with toothpicks. Wrapping with parma ham is, of course, optional so if you do not want to use the ham, simply secure the breasts with toothpicks. Arrange the prepared breasts in a shallow cooking dish, as shown in figure 2.
- Bake it for 25 minutes at 200 degrees C and your dish is ready.
- You can have it with rice or boiled veggies. I usually like my chicken with stir fried veggies and herbed couscous.
I would love to know your experience and would love to hear about any other inventive accompaniments to go with the chicken 🙂
Indore (a city in Central India and my hometown) is a food heaven. If you are an India-based foodie, Indore is a must-visit place for you, if only for its food. It has been more than a decade that I have left Indore but I always dream of visiting my hometown, especially since I now want to take my husband who will surely love the trip. Indore has a street called Chappan Dukaan (which literally translates to 56 Shops) and all these are food shops. You name it and you will find it here. Well, the reason that I am talking about Indore, and especially Chappan Dukaan, is because this is the place where I tasted the heavenly Baked Veggies (later on I got to know that it is also called Veg au Gratin). I vividly remember that my Dad’s office was near this place and I often used to ask him to get this dish as a take away only for me.
I tried Veg au Gratin in many other places after leaving Indore but nothing matched the taste. So I thought that why don’t I give it a try. The recipe is largely from my memory of the dish I used to love in Indore. For white sauce, I have adapted Sanjeev Kapoor’s recipe that you can find here.
Ingredients for the White Sauce
- Onion, small or medium sized – 1
- Cloves – 4
- Bay Leaves – 2 or 3 (depending on the size of onion and the size of bay leaves)
- Milk – 2 1/2 cups
- Butter – 2 tablespoons
- Fine Flour – 2 tablespoons
- Salt and White Pepper – To taste
Ingredients for the baked vegetables
- Chopped french beans – 1 cup
- Chopped carrots – 1/2 cup
- Green peas – 1/2 cup
- Fresh Pineapple – 1 cup
- Chopped cauliflower – 1/2 cup
- Baby corn (optional) – 1 cup
- Salt – To taste
- Sugar – 1/4 teaspoon
- Grated cheddar cheese – To cover the dish
- Baking Tray
Steps for making White Sauce:
- Peel the onion and wrap it with bay leaves using cloves to pin the leaves onto the onion. This is called Onion Cloute.
- Heat the milk in a pan and add the prepared Onion Cloute to it.
- Bring it to a boil then turn off the heat. Drain the milk in a bowl and keep aside to cool.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan.
- Stir in the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.
- Take the pan off the heat and gradually stir in the prepared milk to get a smooth sauce.
- Simmer gently till it starts to thicken and season with salt and white pepper.
Steps for making Baked Veggies:
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
- Cook the veggies (except pineapple) half-way through in water with salt and sugar on a high heat or in the microwave. Drain the vegetables and allow it to cool for sometime.
- Add the pineapples in the drained vegetable and put all the vegetables in a baking dish.
- Pour the white sauce over it. Make sure that the vegetables are totally immersed in white sauce.
- Bake it for 10-15 minutes.
- Take it out and cover it with the grated cheese and bake until the cheese melts and serve hot 🙂
In terms of veggies, you can add/remove as per your taste. But, do keep the pineapple as it adds a lot of flavor 🙂
I hope you enjoyed making and eating my version of Baked Veggies 🙂
I would love to know your experience 🙂