My mum often asks me: “where do you get your ideas from?”.
In some cases I am able to say exactly what inspired me. I can refer to a meal I had in a restaurant and say “that”. Or open a magazine and point to a recipe that I liked but felt I could improve on. When I can give credit to someone for their recipe inspiration I will.
However, in most cases it’s not quite so clear cut. It might be the name of something on a menu that I didn’t try. Or a picture on Instagram that comes with precious little information. From time to time it can just be me standing and looking at the shelves of a supermarket and wondering whether something might work.
This Houmous-crusted Chicken is one of those ‘I’m not quite sure why I did this’ recipes. I must have been inspired by something but I just don’t know what that something was. For me houmous has been something you eat cold. It’s a dip, for breadsticks and carrot batons. Or a sauce you spoon over your falafel. It wasn’t something you bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Though I’m glad I tried it as it tastes so good. The heat brings out the nuttiness of the chickpeas and mellows the overall flavour of the houmous. It seals in the moisture of the chicken too, forming a soft crust. I think this tastes much better than the sum of its parts.
My one word of warning is that the houmous can go dry in the oven if you’re not careful. In this recipe I suggest adding more lemon juice and it’s a worthwhile step. For both flavour and moisture. You also need to make sure you get the timing right and don’t leave the chicken in the oven for too long.
Serving it, as here, with roasted vegetable quinoa also helps. The juices from the tomatoes, peppers and courgettes, along with a light vinaigrette dressing, bring more moisture to the plate. Oh and flavour, which combines perfectly with the homous-crusted chicken breast.
Houmous-crusted Chicken with Roasted Vegetable Quinoa
For the Roasted Vegetables
- ½ Red Onion peeled and chopped
- ½ Red Pepper deseeded amd chopped
- ½ Courgette thickly sliced
- 6 Cherry Tomatoes
- 100 g Chestnut Mushrooms
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
For the Houmous-Crusted Chicken
- 4 tbsp Houmous
- 1 Lemon juiced and zested
- 1 tbsp Fresh Coriander chopped
- 2 Skinless and Boneless Chicken Breast Fillets
For the Quinoa
- 120 g Dried Quinoa cooked per packet instructions
- 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 tsp Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 tsp Sea Salt Flakes
- ½ tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 190°C
- Toss the vegetables together with the olive oil, then put onto a deep baking tray and roast in the oven for 30 minutes, until tender.
- Meanwhile, mix together the houmous, lemon zest and chopped coriander until fully combined. Add a tsp of lemon juice and stir until you have a thick pouring consistency.
- Place the chicken breasts onto a baking sheet, then spoon over the houmous mixture. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until cooked through.
- Whilst the chicken and vegetables are in the oven cook the quinoa according to the pack instructions – this should take around 20 minutes.
- Whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to form a light dressing.
- Mix the roasted vegetables with the cooked quinoa, then coat with the dressing. Divide between two plates then top with the chicken breasts.
- Garnish with some optional salad leaves, then serve.