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Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Garlic & Basil Chicken

Last night my Godfather was coming to stay over so I thought I'd rustle up something a bit special for a Monday night. It doesn't have a specific name, so I have just called it Garlic and Basil Chicken. Excuse the photos- I used my Iphone but am hoping to buy a swanky new camera when I get paid.
Anyway... back to the chicken. 


(I would have said it would serve 4 people, but two hungry boys meant it only served 3!)

12 small chicken thighs (I bought the ready boned ones, they're a bit more expensive, and if I have time I don't really mind doing it, but sod it, it was a Monday)
Fresh basil (I really believe in using fresh herbs if I have a choice - some are okay dried, but for extra flavour and zing use fresh!) I bought a whole pot of it just because I love it so much, but a small - medium bunch is fine for this recipe. 
Bunch of fresh sage (you can use anything you want if you don't like sage - I think tarragon would also work well)
Half a garlic bulb - more if you want it insanely garlicy
1 pack of Parma ham
Olive oil for drizzling - I used my mum's home-made basil infused one for a heavier flavour, but any extra virgin will do nicely (you can always add more basil)
Black pepper - fresh ground is the best but I didn't have that

Salad & potatoes to serve:

I served mine with 'Potatoes Anna' and crispy salad. For these, take a bag of white all purpose potatoes (I used King Edwards), peel and slice quite thinly and sit in a rectangular casserole dish. 
Pour over a jug of stock (about a pint, and I used 2 chicken stock cubes) so the potato slices are swimming in liquid. 
Pop in the oven for at least 45 minutes while you prepare your chicken, until nice and soft, and slightly brown and crispy on the top. (Apologies for awful photo I think I got too excited to worry about technique as I was starving!!)

Preheat oven to around 180 degrees

So, first take the thigh and lay it out flat- you'll see the way it was wrapped around the bone, so try and lie it skin side down (not like I have here). For each chicken thigh, I used half a slice of Parma ham, if they were bigger or I had all the money in the world I would wrap it in all the ham I could find. I kinda love Parma ham if you hadn't guessed. 

Place a nice big fat leaf of sage in the middle and a few juicy leaves of basil. These will wilt right down so be generous. Then, sprinkle some black pepper over  (I didn't use any salt as the Parma ham is quite salty anyway) and roll up neatly.  

Next, start at one end of the strip of ham and roll your parcel up with the ham so it makes a pleasing little bundle like this.

In the dish you are going to bake your chicken in, crush the cloves of garlic and mix with a few good glugs of the basil/olive oil. This will be for the chicken to sit in for extra flavour as it cooks. 

Take your little beauties and roll around a bit in the garlicy oily goodness so they are all covered and packed in so they maintain their shape. 
Whack in the oven for around 30-45 minutes so they are still tender. The ham will help to keep the chicken moist and should go a little crispy.

Serve up and enjoy! Preferably with a nice bottle of rose wine.

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