This is my version of my mother-in-law, Julie’s, signature dish. Chicken and green peppercorns was what she cooked for special occasions when Mat was growing up and everyone in the family loved it, all 7 of them! Mat is one of 5 kids so finding a meal that pleased everyone would have been a victory on its own, but once you try this it’s pretty obvious why they loved it. It’s deliciously creamy and comforting, and the pops of pepper make it extra good (but you can always leave them out if you’re serving young kids). Julie cooks her chicken and sauce separately and serves it spooned over mashed potato, but I’ve turned my version into a quick one pan meal, and serve it with steamed greens. Thanks Jules, it’s a winner in our house too! x
PREP 15 MIN
COOK 30 MIN
What you’ll need:
2 tbs olive oil
4 skin-on chicken breast fillets
40g unsalted butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 ½ cups (270g) orzo (risoni)
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup cream
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
1 egg yolk
1 tbs (or more if you prefer) green peppercorns in brine, drained
2 basil sprigs, roughly chopped, plus extra leaves to serve
sea salt & cracked black pepper
What to do:
Preheat oven to 180°C Fan Assist, or 200°C Conventional.
Heat oil in a medium-sized oven-proof frypan over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to frypan, skin-side down, and cook for 3-4 minutes until golden. Turn over and lightly brown on the other side. Transfer chicken to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium and add the butter and shallots to the same frypan. Cook for 5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and orzo and cook, stirring, for 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant and the orzo is coated in the butter. Add the stock and bring to a simmer.
Whisk together the cream, mustard, egg yolk and stir mixture into the pan, along with the green peppercorns and chopped basil. Return the chicken to the pan, skin-side up. Transfer to oven on the middle shelf and bake, uncovered, for 10 minutes, or until the chicken and orzo are cooked through.
Serve from the pan with extra black pepper and extra basil over the top.