I couldn’t think of shorter name for this dish. There’s just so much in it that I can’t quite describe it fully.
The lemon-infused chicken has been something I’ve wanted to cook for a while, after reading about it in the chicken cookbook I’m currently onto. The idea of little lemon pockets in chicken breast sounded too… Adorable.
And then for the spaghetti — I was browsing for Swiss chard recipes (as I happen to have had some in the fridge that needed to be used quick) and chanced upon one that sounded like it could pair well with the chicken.
It was all a series of very
unfortunate events, that led to the most pleasant discovery.
I don’t know about you, but today’s been one of those days. Hardly productive; bordering on the lines of depression. Cooking this meal has actually been the most satisfying thing I’ve done today. (Mm, I cook my emotions away.)
The sour from the lemon, sweet from the raisins and onions, bitter from the chard (and walnuts) and salty from the chicken’s natural juices: everything’s just balanced so nicely it put a little smile on my face.
And I’ll be glad if it does the same for you.
Lemon-Infused Chicken with Chard and Caramelized Onions Spaghetti
Adapted from 200 Chicken Dishes by Sara Lewis and an online recipe (I don’t know the source)
Yield: 4 servings
For the Chicken
- 4 medium-sized lemons
- 4 200g skinless boneless chicken breast
- Oregano leaves, salt and ground black pepper to season
For the Spaghetti
- 150g spaghetti
- 2 tbsp nuts (I used walnuts)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped (I used two small yellow onions)
- 1 bunch Swiss chard
- 3 tbsp golden raisins
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Ground black pepper
To prepare and cook the Chicken
1. Thinly slice 3 of the lemons, setting aside 8 large slices. Grate the rind and squeeze the juice from the fourth lemon, and set aside.
2. Wash the chicken breasts and remove any fatty portions. Using a sharp knife, make a pouch in the middle of each breast by slicing into the meat. Fill each chicken pocket with the smaller slices of lemon, oregano leaves, salt and pepper. Season also the outside of the breasts.
3. Heat a griddle pan or skillet (I used Happy Call) over medium heat. Sandwich each chicken breast between 2 of the reserved large lemon slices.
4. Place the chicken in the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes on each side, to ensure they are cooked through. Try to keep the lemon intact with the chicken when turning them over, so that the citrus flavour infuses into the chicken. While they are cooking, prepare the spaghetti.
To cook the Spaghetti
1. Spread the nuts out onto a baking sheet and toast them in the oven. Set aside.
2. Coarsely chop the onions. In a large deep skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions into the skillet and cook for about 10 minutes until golden brown and very soft, stirring occasionally.
3. While the onions are cooking, cut the chard stalks into strips and roughly chop the leaves. Set the leaves aside in a bowl.
4. Add the chard stalks and raisins to the onions the cook for about 15 minutes until the stalks are tender.
5. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to the boil. When boiling, plunge the spaghetti into the water and cook for about 12 minutes or until al dente.
6. Add the chard leaves and vinegar, mixing all the ingredients in the skillet. Add in the nuts, spaghetti and lemon juice, cooking for another 5 minutes or so until the leaves are wilted and tender.
7. Once cooked, split the spaghetti into 4 equal portions, garnished with the lemon rind and ground black pepper. Serve with a slice of chicken breast each.
… Now I’m going to get myself some dessert. I still don’t feel too good. What a day 😦