A meal in 15 minutes? Let’s put it to the test!

Nutritionist Resource recently conducted a poll asking people what recipe books they had received as Christmas presents. The results are in and Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals came out on top with 24% of participants receiving the book in their stockings.

What recipe book did you get for Christmas?

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I couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed with this outcome as I knew it would mean that I would have to test out a recipe or two. I have previously flicked through this book whilst I had lunch at Jamie’s restaurant before Christmas but nothing really caught my eye so it was left on the shelf. Luckily, I was able to scan a few recipes from a colleagues’ copy and settled for Pasta Pesto with Garlic and Rosemary Chicken.

Ingredients 

To serve 4, you will need:

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Chicken
2x 200g skinless chicken breasts
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
4- 5 cloves of garlic
1- 2 fresh red chillies
8 ripe cherry tomatoes

Pasta & Pesto
250g green beans
1 big bunch of fresh basil
50g blanched almonds
50g parmesan cheese
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon
1 clove of garlic
300g fresh lasagne sheets
200g baby spinach

Quite a lot of ingredients for a 15 minute meal, don’t you think? The recipe says that before you start, you need to have: “Ingredients out – Kettle boiled – Large frying pan, high heat – Large lidded casserole pan, high heat – Food processor (bowl blade)”

I had borrowed my mothers food processor (terrifying) and huge Le Creuset casserole pan (even more terrifying!) and was all set up and ready to go.

I was unable to take any photos of the process as you have to work fast with this recipe but here is what you need to do:

1. Season your chicken with salt, pepper, fennel seeds and rosemary leaves over greaseproof paper and then bash to flatten with a rolling pin. Put it in to the frying pan with your rapeseed oil, bashed, unpeeled garlic cloves and halved chillies. You will need to turn it after about 4 minutes and cook until golden.

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2. Trim your beans, pop them into your casserole pan, cover with boiling water, lid on and cook for 6 minutes.

3. Save a few basil leaves for garnish but put the rest into the processor with your almonds, Parmesan, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Squeeze your garlic through a garlic crusher into the processor, blitz until smooth and add a ladle or two of your cooking water to loosen.

4. Chop your lasagne sheets into random shapes but of fairly even size and add to your beans to cook for a couple of minutes.Halve your cherry tomatoes, add them to the chicken and shake the pan. Stir the spinach into your pasta pan and drain but reserve a cup of the water. Return everything to the pan, pour in your pesto and splash in the water until smooth and silky. Slice your chicken breasts in half and serve with the chillies and tomatoes on top.

5. Arrange in serving dishes, grate a little more Parmesan on top and sprinkle basil leaves to garnish.

Was it all worth it? In a nutshell, yes. The pasta was lovely and silky, the green beans and baby spinach worked well with the pesto and the chicken had lots of flavour. I have added a few tips that I will adopt when I next make this dish.

– If you don’t have a casserole pan, don’t rush out and buy one, a large saucepan will suffice.

– Always adjust the recipe to your personal palate. For example fennel seeds are a strong flavour and not to everyones taste (especially mine), so feel free to omit any flavours you know you don’t like and add ones you do!

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– This recipe called for blanched almonds in the pesto but you could go for the more traditional pine nuts.

– There are only two chicken breasts in this dish to serve four. If you have big appetites to feed, you can opt for a whole breast per person.

Did it take 15 minutes? Absolutely not. Perhaps 15 minutes from when your chicken first hits the pan to when you’re just about to start dishing up but it took me 10 minutes to prep all of the ingredients! I would allow for 20- 25 minutes from start to finish. Unless you are a superhero. Or Jamie.

You can purchase Jamie’s book here.

Have you tried any of Jamie’s 15 minute meals? I’d love to know how you got on and if you were able to do it in 15 minutes!

Stay tuned for more recipes soon!

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