The Hairy Dieters’ Smashed Up Chicken is a household favourite in my home and combines some cracking flavours to give this dish a creamy, luxurious feel which is soooooo yummy to eat. It’s definitely one of the ‘Hairy Ones’ finest recipes which has been adapted and ‘slimmed down’ from one of their earlier books, but the end result feels more like restaurant food rather than ‘diet’ food.
There’s a fair few ingredients here and you’ll need three different pans, so if you’re making this on a week night after work I suggest you prep and get all the ingredients out in advance so you don’t feel flustered. However, this is a cinch to make but I tend to cook it on a weekend when I’m less pushed for time. If you have sufficient willpower (and hey I’m not judging if you don’t), you can save any leftovers for lunch the next day.
Recipe: Smashed Up Chicken
Calories: 316 calories per portion
Book: Hairy Dieters – Good Eating
Prep time: Approx 25 mins
Cooking time: Approx 30 mins
Ingredients: 4 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, 1 tsp olive oil, 200g button mushrooms (wiped and quartered), 1 leek (trimmed and sliced into rounds), 100ml white wine, 125ml chicken stock, 2 garlic cloves (crushed), 1 tbsp fresh tarragon (finely chopped), I tbsp lemon juice, freshly grated zest of 1 lemon, 2 tbsp capers (rinsed and drained), 2 tbsp low-fat crème fraiche, handful of flatleaf parsley chopped (to serve), flaked sea salt, ground black pepper.
Pasta: 200g pasta (penne, fusilli – whatever you like), 1 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp chilli flakes, 1 garlic clove (crushed).
Cost per portion: Approx £1.46
Method: Put a chicken thigh between 2 pieces of cling film and beat it with a rolling pin until thin. You really can smash the chicken to bits, so don’t be shy. Peel off the top layer of cling film and pull the chicken off in thin strips or ribbons. Repeat with the remaining thighs and season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan. Cook the strips of chicken over a high heat until they are turning golden brown and just cooked through – this shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes, as the chicken strips are so thin. Take the chicken out of the pan and add the mushrooms. After a couple of minutes of cooking, they should start giving out some liquid. At this point, add the leek and sauté both together until the leek has started to soften.
Add the wine and stock to the pan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly to make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. Continue to cook to reduce the liquid and finish cooking the leek, then add the garlic, tarragon, lemon juice and zest. Cook for another 2 minutes, then add the capers.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the crème fraiche. Put the chicken back in the pan and warm it through again on a gentle heat. Check the seasoning.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in plenty of salted, boiling water according to the packet instructions. Heat the olive oil in a separate pan, add the chilli flakes and garlic, then cook for just a minute. When the pasta is done, drain it well, then toss it in the chilli/garlic oil. Mix the chicken with the pasta and serve with plenty of chopped parsley sprinkled on top.