Sweet Potato and Purple Sprouting Broccoli with Chicken

Purple sprouting broccoliThis recipe is from the wonderful Kitchen Memories by Lucy Boyd. The dish has more veg than chicken and, with vivid colours and a zingy taste, it is a real tonic when the weather is still cold.

It is not complicated – the only thing to remember is that you need to marinate the chicken an hour ahead (though I dare so it would still taste pretty good if you didn’t have time to do that). It is the recipe I always think of making when I buy purple sprouting broccoli. Serves 4

Sweet Potato and Purple-sprouting Broccoli with HalloumiUpdate: I have also tried this recipe using halloumi instead of chicken, and it was equally delicious. A 250g pack of halloumi would be enough for three – simply slice it into 6 slices (as you can see my slices split into rather attractive fingers), heat a solid frying pan or griddle until hot and cook for about 2 minutes on each side until brown. No need to marinate the halloumi, and the only change I might make next time is trying it with a spicy tomato sauce instead of the sour cream.

4 boned chicken thighs (or breasts)
juice of 1 lemon
6 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 tbsp olive oil
3 medium sweet potatoes
3 garlic cloves
1 dried red chilli, crushed
200g purple sprouting broccoli
100g sour cream
2 fresh red chillies

Chicken thighs marinatingBeat out the boned chicken thighs between two sheets of greaseproof paper until they are 1 cm thick. Put on a plate and squeeze over the juice of half the lemon. Wash the thyme and pick the leaves off (you can use rosemary, in which case you need to chop the needles finely). Scatter about half the thyme over the chicken, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Leave to marinate for at least 1 hour.

Sweet Potato ready for the ovenHeat the oven to 200 C/Gas 6. Peel the garlic and squash it with the side of a kitchen knife. Peel and wash the sweet potatoes, then slice them lengthwise into quarters. Put them in a bowl with the garlic, the rest of the thyme leaves, a pinch of the dried chilli and enough olive oil to coat them. Season with salt and pepper and mix together. Place in a roasting tin and cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes, turning at half time, until tender and golden brown.

Prepare the broccoli by cutting off the thick stem at an angle, and if the stems are thick cut each in half vertically through stem and florets. The pieces should all be roughly the same size, so that they cook evenly. Trim, deseed and finely chop the red chillies.

About ten minutes before you are ready to eat, heat the grill or griddle pan until it is really hot. Put on a pan of water to boil. Season the chicken with salt, place on the griddle or under the grill and leave to cook for 4 minutes. When the water boils put the broccoli into the pan and set the timer for 3 minutes. Turn the chicken over and cook for a further 4-5 minutes until the flesh has cooked through. Remove from the heat, place on a board and leave to rest for a few minutes.

Sweet potato and purple sprouting broccoli with chickenDrain the broccoli. Divide the sweet potato and broccoli between the plates. Slice the chicken at an angle into strips and add to the plates. Add a spoonful of sour cream to each plate, scatter over the red chilli and squeeze over the remaining lemon (or cut it into wedges and add these to the plate). Lucy Boyd also adds a few leaves of marjoram at the end, but I haven’t done this, as I rarely have any in the house.

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