With one thing and another my efforts at preparing normal meals have been more than a little lacklustre over the last few weeks, actually make that months. There have been a lot of couscous salads, a fair amount of pasta, and more pizza than I can admit to in public. Now that life is (fingers crossed) starting to calm down I can start thinking about planning meals at some point other than when standing staring gormlessly at the supermarket shelves on my way home from work. However, sometimes we need a starting point for our good intentions and I find that food blogging events can give me a prod in the right direction without requiring any brain power on my part.
And so I came to July's 'In the Bag'. This event is run by Julia from 'A Slice of Cherry Pie' and Scott from 'Real Epicurean'. I haven't taken part before but this month's ingredients of peas, Parmesan, and chicken made it a winner. I didn't think too hard before deciding on a basic mush of peas and Parmesan served with garlicky chicken and my new favourite, pea shoots. I'm afraid I have to confess that in this time of seasonally available fresh peas I used frozen. I love frozen peas and really for cooking and mushing why use fresh?
GARLICKY CHICKEN SERVED WITH MUSHY PEAS AND PEA SHOOTS
2 chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil
1 crushed garlic clove
salt and pepper
250g frozen peas
1 garlic clove, peeled but left whole
1 tbsp butter
2-3 tbsp Parmesan
a little salt and pepper to taste
Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of clingfilm and batter to required thinness with a rolling pin (so they are a roughly even width). Place in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, and crushed garlic to marinade while the pan heats. Heat a large frying pan, add a little olive oil, place the chicken breasts in the pan (lying them away from you so you aren't splattered with oil), and cook through turning once or twice during cooking. Obviously the cooking time depends on your chicken breasts but I find about ten minutes works.
While the chicken is cooking boil a pan of water and drop in the peeled whole garlic clove, add the peas and boil for a few minutes until cooked through. Drain the peas, remove the garlic, return the peas to the pan, add butter and Parmesan and either mash or whizz with a blender until the peas reach the consistency you like. Spoon a large dollop of peas onto the plate, add the chicken with any juices from the pan, and finally a generous handful of pea shoots.