I am always looking for new ways to cook basic ingredients, incorporating my favourite flavours whilst keeping the whole thing healthy and both family and budget friendly. When I was thinking about what I could do with a chicken and pesto dish that would be a little more original, I thought why not make a savoury crumble?
Crumble is a dish we all recognise as a dessert, but what’s stopping us from leaving out the sugar and using a crumble as a savoury topping as a lighter substitute to pastry or mashed potatoes as a kind of alternative pie. Chicken with pesto is a tried and tested combination that we all know and love, so throw in some green veg and I think this makes a great dish that all of the family will love. If you’ve managed to get your kids past the anti-green stage and into pesto I think they’ll really love eating this for their dinner. You can even get them involved with making the crumble!
For the filling:
1/2 tbsp coconut oil
8 skinless and boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite size chunks
3 rashers smoked streaky bacon, diced
1 leek, finely sliced
1 tbsp plain flour
50ml white wine
1/2 litre chicken stock
1.5 tbsps pesto
Large handful frozen peas
Small bunch fresh basil
Salt and pepper
For the crumble:
1/2 cup whole meal flour
50g unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
20 pine nuts
40g finely grated parmesan cheese
1. Preheat oven 180ºC.
2. In a large pan heat the coconut oil to a medium-high temperature. Fry the chicken in batches until lightly browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
3. Add the bacon to the pan and fry until cooked through. Then add the leeks and continue to cook until softened.
4. Return the chicken to the pan and sprinkle over the plain flour and stir until everything is lightly coated. Season generously with salt and pepper. Pour in the wine and allow to cook down for a minute or two. A thick sauce should start forming.
5. Gently add the chicken stock a little at a time and bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and stir through the pesto and frozen peas. Allow to simmer and thicken while you prepare the crumble.
6. In a separate bowl add the butter cubes to the whole meal flour and use your finger tips to rub together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the pine nuts and parmesan cheese and mix through.
7. Once the chicken sauce has thickened a little, stir through the fresh basil and pour into an ovenproof dish. Top with the crumble mixture ensuring all of the filling is completely covered and the crumble is evenly spread.
8. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with rice, new potatoes or green vegetables.