Thyme is an excellent source of vitamins C and A, Iron and fibre and the ancient Greeks and Romans associated the herb with giving you courage and strength. So what better way to get it onto your diet than with Dean Edwards' delicious chicken dish with mushroom sauce?
4 chicken breasts, skin on
100g mixed mushrooms, roughly chopped (chestnut and shiitake are best)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 sprigs fresh thyme, picked
200g wild or ordinary mushrooms
1 small onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
150ml chicken stock
2 tbsp crème fraiche
2 packs baby courgettes, sliced lengthways
1 bunch spring onions, trimmed
2 tbsp fresh chives, sliced
Place the mixed mushrooms, garlic and thyme in a mini blender and blitz into a paste. Place into a bowl then stir through the butter and season.
Make a small pocket under the skin of the chicken then divide the mixture between the breasts. In a hot oven-proof frying pan, seal the seasoned chicken breasts skin side down for 2-3 minutes until golden, turn, then cook in a preheated oven set at 200C / gas mark 6 for 13-15 minutes or until the juices run clear.
Remove from the pan and rest for five minutes. If you don’t have a pan that can go into the oven then transfer your chicken into an oven proof dish or tin.
Meanwhile brush the mushrooms clean but do not wash as they will absorb the water. Slice then fry in a dash of oil in a very hot pan for 3-4 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic for and fry for a further 2-3 minutes, then pour in the brandy and flambé!
Be careful not to burn yourself as flames will rise.
Add the chicken stock and continue to reduce until slightly thickened, then finally remove from the heat, stir in the crème fraiche and season with salt and pepper.
Place the courgettes and spring onions in a bowl then dress with a little olive oil. Griddle over a very high heat for 2-3 mins per side (you may have to do this in batches).
To serve, carve the chicken and place with the sauce and griddled vegetables then sprinkle over some finely sliced chives to garnish.