Spiced chicken with roasted vegetable rice
Cooking the chicken in its own little parcel means that it keeps it very succulent – a perfect accompaniment to the roasted vegetables. Keep any leftover roasted vegetables to throw into an omelette or toss through pasta – they’re a great stand-by.
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 5 whole garlic cloves, peeled
- 2 red pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
- 1 courgette, roughly chopped
- 2 onions, roughly chopped
- 375g long-grain rice
- ½ x 280g jar sundried tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas mark 6. Cut 5 pieces of foil each big enough to wrap a chicken breast 1½ times over.
2 Put 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into a small bowl or cup, add the smoked paprika, dried basil and cayenne pepper and mix well.
3 Place a chicken breast onto the centre of each piece of foil, divide the spiced oil among the parcels and turn the chicken in the oil to coat completely. Add a garlic clove to each one, then fold the foil up around the chicken to make a parcel, sealing it well.
4 Put the parcels onto a baking tray and place in the oven for 20 minutes until cooked through.
5 Pile the chopped peppers, courgette and onions into a roasting tin, add the remaining oil and season with salt and black pepper. Toss together then roast in the oven with the chicken.
6 Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Meanwhile, rinse the rice in cold water and drain well. Tip the drained rice into the boiling water, stir well then simmer for 15–18 minutes until cooked through. After 15 minutes of cooking, lift a spoonful of rice out of the pan, drain off the water and taste it – if it’s cooked there will be no chalkiness in the centre. If there is a tiny white mark in the centre of the grain, it needs to cook for another couple of minutes.
7 Drain the rice into a colander and leave to steam while you get the chicken and vegetables out of the oven. Open the foil parcels, being careful to avoid escaping steam as you do. Check the chicken is cooked by piercing the centre of the chicken with a sharp knife. Don’t cut it in half, just slide the knife in, then out again. Any juices coming out should be clear and the tip of the knife should be very hot. If not, return to the oven for another 5 minutes and check again.
8 Tip the cooked rice onto the tray of roasted vegetables and toss together. Add the sundried tomatoes and toss once to mix thoroughly, then season to taste.
9 Serve the chicken on a bed of the roasted vegetable rice with a salad garnish, if you fancy it.