Serves two tired, hungry adults with a ludicrously over-scheduled evening and no time whatsoever to spend on preparing anything for dinner.
2 chicken breasts or 4 chicken thighs, depending what you can unearth from the freezer
1 large onion
1 red bell-pepper (in any condition)
2 cloves garlic
1 jar red pesto
1 glug olive oil
1 glass red wine (the dregs of the bottle you’ve had around the place for a week will do nicely. Alternatively, take it as your cue to open a new bottle)
Rice or bread to go with it
Takes 5 mins to prepare, and 45 minutes to an hour to cook
1 oven-proof casserole (no lid required)
Pre-heat the oven to 160C
1. Hastily hack the chicken breasts into inept, mis-shapen lumps. If you have forgotten to defrost them first, don’t worry. This works equally well with frozen chicken lumps.
2. Coarsely chop the onion and the red pepper. Coarse language when you cut your finger is optional.
3. Crush, slice or otherwise beat into submission your garlic cloves. If you’re especially pushed for time, feel free to substitute garlic puree.
4. Shovel the whole lot into the casserole.
5. Disembowel the pesto jar over the chicken and vegetables.
6. Pour over a glug of olive oil.
7. Slosh over the red wine.
8. Stir everything round a bit.
9. Survey the resultant raw, unpromising mess in complete disbelief. Wonder if maybe you missed a step and you were supposed to brown off the chicken or soften the onion or something before putting it in the oven. Have faith. I promise this will work.
10. Shove the casserole in the oven. Do not put a lid on. Seriously. Do not put a lid on. A lid will stop the magic from happening.
11. Charge off to do whatever came next on your to-do list.
12. Come back 45 minutes to an hour later, tired and hungry and cross. If you can stand to wait, put some rice on to cook. If you can’t stand to wait, tear a loaf of bread into lumps.
13. When your carbohydrate of choice is prepared, gingerly open the oven, where an authentic culinary miracle will have occurred. Your raw chicken breasts, tired red pepper and dubious onion have now transformed
into a delicious casserole, with meltingly tender chicken pieces and vegetables which are slightly caramelised, verging on burnt, but in that good way.
14. Serve to your grateful and incredulous spouse. Assure them that it was incredibly complex and difficult to prepare, but you did it anyway, because you don’t like to compromise on nutrition. Bask in the knowledge that you have just re-proved your credentials as a true Domestic God or Goddess.
Stupidly Easy Recipes are just that – stupidly easy. Every single ingredient they contain can be bought from my local supermarket, and most of them are stuff I just happen to have in the house most of the time. They all produce results which are insanely nice compared to how little work you need to put into preparing them, and most can be eaten one-handed, with a fork, over the head of a Moray Eel nursing baby. Quantities are usually for two people.