LAWRENCE MURPHY: A fabulous and fulfilling winter meal

Chicken breast with spelt and cabbage

CHICKEN BREAST WITH SPELT AND CABBAGE Serves 4

If you’ve ever read some of my recipes before then you probably know that, at this time of year, I’m fond of putting something like a casserole in the oven and then setting out for a bimble in the woods with the two dogs or a long spin on my bike.

After a few hours in the countryside it's great to return home to some comforting food to warm yourself up.

I understand that a lot of people prefer to cook something in a shorter amount of time or forget to put the dish in the oven, so this may be the perfect post-walk dish for you.

Quick, comforting and fairly simple to follow, this recipe is based on an Italian-style cabbage broth.

Okay, so a cabbage soup doesn’t sound that appetising but believe me – the flavour from the smoked bacon and the bite of the spelt makes this a fabulous winter meal.

Ingredients

4 chicken breasts

1 onion, finely chopped

4 cloves garlic, finely chopped

10 thinly sliced dry cured streaky smoked bacon rashers or pancetta, cut into lardons

100g spelt

125ml white wine

250ml chicken stock

1/2 small savoy cabbage, finely sliced

1 bay leaf

Sprig of thyme

Olive oil

Method

1. Season and pan fry the chicken breasts until golden all over.

2. Transfer to a oven tray and bake for 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven (220C, gas 7).

3. While the chicken is roasting, heat a pan and add a little olive oil.

4. Add the bacon and cook until it starts to go crispy.

5. Drain away some of the excess fat, add the onion and garlic and cook for two minutes.

6. Add the wine and reduce by half before adding the stock, spelt, bay leaf and thyme.

7. Simmer until the spelt softens but retains a little bite.

8. After 15 minutes, check that the chicken is cooked and allow to rest.

9. Remove the bay leaf and thyme and add the cabbage to the pot.

10. Cook for three minutes and check for seasoning.

11. Divide into four bowls and place the chicken on top before serving.

Lawrence’s restaurant is Fat Olives, Emsworth. Visit fatolives.co.uk or call 01243 377 914.

More from Lifestyle