Thursday, March 1, 2012

Herby marinated “deli” chicken slices -- recipe

Check out my cooking video of this recipe on YouTube.

A versatile stand-by, this dish combines high-quality protein, a raft of anti-cancer ingredients (turmeric, garlic, olive oil, herbs, paprika, black pepper) and delicious flavors. While it takes a little time to make (most of it involving meat marinating while you’re off doing other things), you can prepare larger batches of chicken breasts by doubling or tripling this recipe and freeze these until needed; this way, your initial time investment will quickly pay off.

Once it’s chilled, you can slice the meat thinly and use it to fill sandwiches (the picture to the right shows slices of chicken breast atop aslice of toasted sourdough bread, smeared with pesto underneath and a little home-made olive-oil mayonnaise on top, dusted with mild pepper flakes), or tortilla/salad wraps; slice it more thickly and scatter over a big salad; cube it and add it to risottos or soups; or, if you can't wait for it to chill, eat it hot, straight out of oven or pan.

What makes this healthy? The marinade is chock full of ingredients with cancer-protective properties: turmeric, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, parsley, black pepper, mixed herbs and paprika powder, with not a single nitrite, sweetener or flavor enhancer in sight. In fact, the marinade is so tasty that you don't need much salt either. And by marinating the meat in this aromatic mixture, you not only imbue it with flavor, you also protect it from the carcinogens that are often created when meat is cooked (see my previous post). 

Make sure that you respect all necessary sanitary precautions, i.e. handling meat with clean hands and utensils, keeping the meat refrigerated in a sealed, clean container while raw (or after you’ve cooked it), and cooking it thoroughly.

Here’s the recipe:

1.1lb / 500g skinless chicken breast (ideally organic, pastured)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
juice of ½ lemon
finely grated zest of ¼ lemon (untreated)
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika powder
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
generous handful parsley
salt, pepper

De-vein the chicken breasts and place in a container that can be tightly sealed.

Place the remaining ingredients (except salt) in a small chopper/blender and blend until emulsified.

Pour marinade over the chicken breasts and spread with a spoon or spatula until the meat is fully coated. Cover dish tightly with food wrap (or use a container with a tight-fitting lid) and chill for at least 2-3 hours, ideally overnight.

When you are ready to cook the meat, pre-heat the oven to 320F/160C, salt lightly on both sides and place in a clean oven-proof dish. Bake in pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes until the breasts are cooked-through but still slightly soft to the touch (if in doubt, cut through the thickest part to check for doneness – the meat should be slightly juicy but no longer pink or translucent). 

Remove to a plate to cool; then return to the fridge, well covered.

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