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Chicken Breast with Crunchy Posh Ham

This is a delicious meal and really quite easy to do so big thanks go to Jamie Oliver (original recipe is here). I served it with some delicious champ and it worked really well.


  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 small skinless chicken breast fillets, about 120g each, preferably higher welfare
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lemon
  • 6 slices of prosciutto
  • Olive oil

Method of Preparation:

  1. Pick the thyme leaves off the stalks.
  2. Carefully score the underside of the chicken breasts in a criss-cross fashion with a small knife.
  3. Season with a little pepper (you don’t need salt as the prosciutto is quite salty).
  4. Lay your breasts next to each other and sprinkle over most of the thyme leaves.
  5. Grate a little lemon zest over them.
  6. Lay 3 prosciutto slices on each chicken breast, overlapping them slightly.
  7. Drizzle a little olive oil and sprinkle with the remaining thyme leaves.
  8. Put a square of plastic wrap over each breast and give them a few really good bashes with the bottom of a saucepan until they are about 1/2 inch thick.
  9. Put a frying pan over a medium heat.
  10. Remove the plastic wrap and carefully transfer the chicken breasts, prosciutto-side down, into the pan.
  11. Drizzle over some olive oil.
  12. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, turning halfway through.
  13. Give the ham side an extra 30 seconds at the end to crisp it up.
  14. Either serve the chicken breasts whole or cut them into thick slices and pile them on a plate. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over and a good drizzle of olive oil.

As Jamie says “This is a great way to prepare chicken breasts. The texture of the crisp cooked prosciutto goes brilliantly with the tender chicken. Bashing the chicken out thinly before you start cooking means it cooks much faster than a regular chicken breast. If you can’t get hold of prosciutto, then any kind of thin ham, such as Parma ham, or even smoked streaky bacon will work just as well.”

First of all I prepared the chicken with the thyme leaves, lemon zest and prosciutto. I then bashed it down and left it covered (I just used a large sandwich bag laid over the top).

[2 things to add here. I only had half the spring onions I needed and I initially wrapped the chicken in the prosciutto (auto-pilot took over) when all you do is lay the ham on top of each breast. Trying to unwrap the ham and replace it was a nightmare and in truth it didn’t look that nice before it was cooked and I’m sure it could have looked a lot more appealing when it was cooked to. It didn’t appear to affect the flavour any though] 

As soon as I’d turned off the spuds for the champ I dropped the chicken in for its first 3 minutes (ham side down) and I was then able to get to adding the butter and then milk to the spuds.

While the chicken had it’s last 30 seconds (ham side down) I got the champ on a plate before I paired the two up. We both thought these two dishes went really well together. Wife commented that the chicken was quite salty on its own but when sampled with the champ it was, well, beautiful. The citrus notes from the lemon peel add an extra dimension. Who would have thought such honest food could be so complex in texture and flavour. Both these recipes get the thumbs up from me and together they manage the rarely awarded Wife’s Accolade. I’m just really sorry I forgot the pictures, I know the one I have put below here isn’t the best either but it’s the only one I’ve got.

Chicken & Champ

This is a really simple mid-week meal. It takes 10 – 15 mins at the start and 10 – 15 mins at the end with a good 30 minutes in the middle to catch up on your favourite soap. I really want to hear about your adventures with this meal, let me know how you get on…

Our friend David Savidan has taken a look at this recipe and has a couple of wines he thinks go perfectly with the dish. The first is Pinot Noir Grand Cru Kirchberg de Barr which is supposed to be an excellent pinot noir from the Alsace region but you’ll be lucky to find it for under £30. The other suggestion is a Charles Hours Jurançon Sec Cuvee Marie 2010 which you will find for around £10. If you manage to try this recipe with one of these wines before I do the please let me know your thoughts.


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