Ruminations and recipes from a small kitchen in a big city.


Spring racing carnival tip.

Football's over for the year and we're well into the spring racing carnival. The Melbourne Cup runs next Tuesday - 3200 metres, one and a half laps of Flemington, clockwise - and once that's over, you're staring down the barrel of Christmas.

Isn't that a nice prospect? Of course, Christmas junk has been in the supermarkets for weeks, probably since Easter. Today, walking through IGA, I saw a rack of Simpsons Advent calendars.

Moving suddenly onto the recipe, because there is no possible segue, unless you can think of one.

Prosciutto-wrapped chicken breasts with cheese and pesto.

Slice two chicken breasts in half, but not all the way through. Stuff them with a generous amount of pesto and a slice of cheese. I used a nice creamy havarti.

Now wrap the breasts in slices of prosciutto. If this is very thinly sliced, its texture will ensure it stretches and holds well when wrapped carefully. Otherwise use toothpicks.

Now cook the wrapped breasts very gently in a little olive oil to start with; just until the prosciutto begins to crisp, then add some white wine - maybe half a glass - and a few pink peppercorns. Place the lid on the pan and simmer very gently, turning the breasts after several minutes, depending on their thickness. When they're almost done, toss in some good cream, remove the cooked breasts, raise the heat to reduce the sauce and then pour it over the chicken to serve.

On the side, spinach cooked with garlic, and mashed potatoes flecked with shards of semi-dried tomato. Drink a chardonnay with backbone.

Oh, the tip: cook a couple of extra breasts as above, chill them overnight, slice them across the grain and lay the slices, with rocket or radicchio, in fresh baguettes. (Keep them chilled on the way to the races. I'm amazed at how many people produce 'warm' chicken salads and other unchilled chicken items at spring and summer events.)

Bonus tip: Kibbutz in Saturday's Victoria Derby at Flemington. But don't put the house on it.


Lucy said...

Thanks for the tip. Can't think of a segue though., how did it get the end of October?

neil said...

Happy to help with the segue.

"On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, prosciutto-wrapped chicken breasts with cheese and pesto-o-o-o".

kitchen hand said...

Lucy, time gets faster the older you get. Something to do with the length of each year relative to the amount of time you've lived. I think I'm serious.

Come on, Neil, how about the whole song!

Ed said...

Any tips for Oaks?

kitchen hand said...

Yes, Ed - lots of bad fashions early, reducing as the day goes on and the fashions come off, aided by lashings of bubbly and bright sunshine.

Oh, you meant the horses.

Marie said...

I do love it when the Christmas stuff starts to show up in the shops, but not until Halloween is at least over! I do chicken like this all the time. It's incredibly delicious and tender! So full of flavour!

Ed said...

Yes, horses and I shall try and avoid all that other stuff, especially the cheap bubbly that forces me to turn to Zantac. And talking of horses i probably won't even see any in the flesh as I'm in the dreaded carpark. The tip should have been: save 4185 and stay at home.

John said...

Hi Kitchen hand, just come over from Neil,s place interested in the 'Tip'. You know us chefs don't get out much so inside info is always good. Nice dish, I'm hungry already and i've just had breakfast!! will be back for more. As for Christmas, "help"

kitchen hand said...

Indeed Marie, or in our case until after the Melbourne Cup which is always the first Tuesday in November. (Incidentally, while we don't recognise Halloween, in the past we did mark Guy Fawkes' Day with neighbourhood bonfires.)

Ed, especially when the bubbly is accompanied by warm potato salad with congealing commercial mayonnaise.

Thank you, John. Sometimes I wonder how chefs live the lifestyle they do. I couldn't do it.