Student Gourmet? Mais, oui!

We all know the myth according to which students live on pizza, chicken nuggets and beans on toast. Oh, and let’s not forget, coffee. Like all myths, there is a seed of truth in there. Yes, we are famous for not eating “properly”, but we can’t afford to gear our fridge like Nigella and cooking a roast dinner for one… Doesn’t really make sense, does it?

That doesn’t mean that students can’t cook. Oh, no! We can, it’s just we don’t want to. There’s a difference.

Most of us are juggling classes, coursework, assignments, a job or two, and trying to have a social life over the week, but when the weekend comes we can at least try to make up for those days filled with toast and coffee.

So here’s a delicious recipe I discovered some time ago:

Chicken stuffed with bacon and blue cheese with roast potatoes and creamy red wine sauce.

Does that sound like something Jamie would whip up in 15 minutes? Well, it’s not. It’s a recipe that most students can make on a budget. Nothing more than your weekly shopping items, adding perhaps some blue cheese and cream.

So what do we need?

Boneless chicken fillets, I had 4 small ones, but it’s up to you, however, many you serve. Four bacon rashes – as many as the chicken fillets. Blue cheese – about 50g will do just fine. Salt, pepper and a bit of oil. Oh, and tin foil. Next we need some peeled and cut potatoes, about 10 small, or 5, 6 big ones.

For the sauce, some button mushrooms – half a box does the job, but if you have one box, it’s even better. Red wine, one glass for cooking and one glass… for relaxing, half a cup of cream (the whipping type of cream, not double, or it will be too thick), a garlic clove, or two if they’re small and a chunk of butter, about a tablespoon.

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Preparation:

Wash the chicken and cut some pockets on the side, big enough to fit the bacon and cheese inside. Then brown the bacon, only lightly, as it will cook further in the oven. Place the bacon inside the pockets, then slice the cheese and fit it on top of the bacon.

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Next, put each piece of chicken on a tin foil sheet, carefully not to spill the content. Add a few spices of your choice, I only wanted salt, pepper and some mixed condiments and drizzle a little bit of oil on top, to avoid drying out in the oven. Wrap the chicken in the foil, then put it in a baking tray and put it in a preheated oven, at 150°C -160°C, but not more than 170°C or it will dry too much. Leave it for 20 mins.

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Now you have time for the potatoes and the sauce. Peel and cut the potatoes, medium size for roasting. I cheat and put them in the deep fryer, but if you don’t have a deep fryer, just put them in a baking tray, with oil and leave them to roast along with the chicken.

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Once the potatoes are out of the way, let’s focus on the sauce.

First of all, cut the mushroom in tiny shreds. Then take half of the butter and melt it in a frying pan, on low fire. Crush the garlic and put in the frying pan, to brown with the butter. Add the mushrooms and a couple of tablespoons of water and let it simmer for about 5 minutes.

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After that take a sip of wine – to check the quality of the ingredient (ahem!) – and start adding it to the pan, a couple of tablespoons at a time. Once all the wine has been added, take a spoon and drizzle the cream. Half a cup should be enough, but you can always taste and see if you’d like it more creamy.

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Leave it simmering for 10 minutes, mixing, so that it doesn’t stick to the pan. 

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Get the potatoes out and the chicken. If the chicken doesn’t look golden on the outside, take it out of the foil, coat it with a bit of oil or butter and put it back in the oven for another 10 minutes, uncovered.

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Bon appetit!