Basil pesto stuffed chicken. Picture: Supplied
Basil pesto stuffed chicken. Picture: Supplied

RECIPES: Make the most of summer cooking

By Lutho Pasiya Time of article published Nov 29, 2021

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It is almost summer!

I love summer cooking and I love the fact that as the seasons change so do our cooking methods and the type of fresh produce that we use.

Summer cooking represents an opportunity in our lives when we can whip up something quick and easy and still eat remarkably well.

Summer cooking should be simple, fresh, and full of flavour.

No one wants to be slaving over a hot stove in 30-degree weather or have the oven on for hours during the day.

Here are some ways that you can make the most of summer and cook up fresh, tasty, seasonal meals for your family that are bursting with both flavour and nutrition.

Mexican salad with black beans and pepper

Ingredients

2 x 400g cans of Rhodes Quality black beans

1 red pepper, cut into small dice

1 yellow pepper, cut into small dice

Red onion, cut into small dice

Method

Pour the Rhodes Quality black beans out into a colander.

Rinse well with cold water until the water runs clear.

Leave to stand until the beans are well-drained.

In a large bowl, gently combine the beans, chopped peppers, and onion.

To make the dressing, measure out all the ingredients into a medium bowl.

Whisk until well blended.

Season the dressing to taste.

Add enough of the dressing to coat the beans.

Season to taste.

Stir in the chopped coriander leaves and refrigerate until serving.

Artichoke and pepper flat bread

Serves: 10-12

Ingredients

750ml flour

5ml salt

15ml sugar

10g sachet of instant yeast

60ml olive oil

200-300ml warm water

Topping

30ml olive oil

2 onions, cut into thin wedges

10ml chopped garlic

1 red pepper, seeded and sliced

400g can of artichoke hearts, drained and quartered

Salt and pepper

100g black olives, pitted

Method

Combine the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast in a bowl. Add the olive oil and enough warm water to make a dough that is soft but not sticky. Knead well until smooth and elastic. Put the dough into an oiled plastic bag and leave it to rise for 20 minutes.

Remove the dough from the bag, knead gently and roll out on a lightly floured surface to form a large oval. Place the dough on a greased baking tray and pile the topping on top. Bake at 200ºC for 20-25 minutes until the dough is golden brown and crisp. Remove and cut into slices for serving.

Topping: Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and fry the onions over medium heat until soft.

Add the garlic and pepper and cook for five minutes until the peppers are soft. Remove from the heat and add the artichokes, seasoning, and olives.

Recipe by Angela Day.

Basil pesto stuffed chicken

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients

Pesto

375ml basil leaves

2 cloves of garlic crushed

180ml grated Parmesan cheese

50g pine nuts

125ml olive oil

Salt and pepper

1 chicken, spatchcocked

250ml chicken stock

Method

Put the basil and garlic into the bowl of a food processor and roughly chop. Add the cheese and pine nuts and pulse again. Then with the machine running slowly add in the olive oil. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Scrape the mixture into a bowl.

Slip your fingers under the skin of the chicken and loosen it gently without tearing it. Work half the pesto mixture under the chicken skin. Rub the chicken with any remaining pesto.

Place the chicken into a roasting pan, add half the stock to the pan, and roast at 180°C for 45-60 minutes until it is cooked. Baste with pan juices from time to time. Top up the pan juices with the stock if it gets dry (use this to make a gravy with a little cornflour slaked with water).

Remove from the oven and put the chicken on a carving board, cover with foil and rest for 10 minutes before carving. Serve either hot or cold.

The pesto can be prepared a few days in advance and stored in a sealed container in the fridge.

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