Jamie Oliver’s chicken challenge

Blackened Chicken and San Fran Quinoa Salad

This week I took the plunge and decided my kitchen needed to get messy. So I tried a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s 15-Minute Meals. Oh hells yeah! I decided to bring it.

Did I manage it? Eh…. no.

Now, I love Jamie as much as the next person. His recipes are delicious, no nonsense and always work, but I’m not too sure what he’s at with this everyone-can-cook-faster-than-the-speed-of-light malarkey. Honestly like. I know there have been about 20 bazillion blog posts written about how it’s nigh-on impossible to make any of his meals in either 30 or 15 minutes, so I’m not going to go there again; but I do think it’s a shame he’s made such a rod for his own back. I get the point he’s trying to make: food can be quick, easy and tasty if you’re clever about how you prepare it. However, I think that people in general are pedantic and once they can’t make something in the allotted time limit they will immediately call the whole venture a failure.

Well, this beautiful salad took me longer than 15 minutes to make, and afterwards my kitchen did look like a bomb had hit it; but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try it, in fact I urge you to. The mix of flavours, texture, spice and sweetness is incredibly yummie and it’s pretty healthy to boot. It’s definitely one worth waiting for!

Blackened Chicken and San Fran Quinoa Salad

Blackened Chicken and San Fran Quinoa Salad close up


For the quinoa salad:
300 g quinoa
1 fresh red chilli
100 g baby spinach
4 spring onions
1 bunch fresh coriander
1 bunch fresh mint
1 ripe large mango
2 limes
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 ripe avocado
50 g feta cheese
1 punnet cress

For the chicken:
2 x 200 g skinless chicken breasts
1 heaped tsp ground allspice
1 heaped tsp smoked paprika
Olive oil
2 mixed colour peppers

To serve:
4 tbsp fat-free natural yoghurt

Put the quinoa into the pan and generously cover with boiling water and the lid. Put the chilli, spinach, trimmed spring onions and coriander (reserving a few leaves) into the processor, tear in the top leafy half of the mint, then blitz until finely chopped.

On a large sheet of greaseproof paper, toss the chicken with salt, pepper, allspice and paprika. Fold over the paper and bash/flatten the chicken into 1.5cm thick with a rolling pin. Put into the frying pan with 1 tbsp of olive oil, turning after 3 or 4 minutes, until blackened and cooked through.

Deseed the peppers and cut each one into 8 strips and add into the frying pan, toss regularly. Peel and cut mango chunks. Drain the quinoa and rinse under a cold tap, then drain well again and tip on serving board or platter. Toss with the blitzed spinach mixture, squeeze over the lime juice, add the extra virgin olive oil, mix well and season to taste.

Sprinkle the mango chunks and cooked peppers over the over the quinoa. Halve and destone the avocado, use a teaspoon to scoop curls of it over the salad. Slice up the chicken, toss the slices in any juices and add to salad. Crumble over the feta, scatter over the remaining coriander leaves and snip over the cress. Serve with dollops of yoghurt.


You might also like:

Pumpkin predicaments

Pumpkin predicaments

Chicken with coriander and spinach rice

Holiday-substitute chicken pilaf

Sweet chicken tagine with minted couscous

Sweet chicken tagine with minted couscous

12 thoughts on “Jamie Oliver’s chicken challenge

  1. That sounds and looks delicious even if you took at tad longer than 15 minutes. Hey we all can’t be superwomen. I don’t know if I have mentioned this before but I love your “about’ self portrait picture it nostalgic like it is something back from the 1940’s and photo should be in black and white. Love it… Take Care, BAM

    • Ah Bam, thanks so very much. You’re so very kind! It was taken in my parent’s kitchen in Ireland about three years ago on a rare summers day. I am busy preparing this , while also listening to a story one of my brothers is telling. I love it because it’s a natural shot, however unflattering it may be! I don’t think I could ever actually pose for a photo for this blog, that would just be weird. I had never considered that it may be better in black and white, but will do now, thanks!

  2. I have just received Jamie’s 15 minute meals, well actually got it for hubby as a big hint ;0) it’s been open for a few weeks but I think tomorrow is finally D day and he is cooking the stroganoff in probably 45 min. But hell, as that’s still pretty good timing for him.

    • I would totally wait 45 mins for stroganoff, hell, I could wait for a loooong time for a good stroganoff. If he’s doing the cooking, I hope that doesn’t mean you’re lumped with the cleaning? Because that’s the other thing about this book; it seems each dish is specifically designed to leave your kitchen in a particularly advanced state of chassis! But the recipes are excellent. I’d love to hear how he gets on with it.

  3. That salad looks lovely! Even if it took you longer than 15 minutes to make it. I always feel that if a good, colorful, delicious, and healthy-ish dinner takes me anywhere under an hour then I can call that a successful weeknight of cooking. 15 minutes, on the other hand, seems kind of impossible.

    • Doesn’t it?! Sure, even takeaway takes longer than 15 minutes! I totally agree with you and I would make this salad again in a heartbeat, which makes the ridiculous time-limit even more frustrating. The book should just be called Delicious Midweek Dinners, but I guess that ain’t so catchy!

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