Chicken with Peppers, Olives & Black Pudding

While there are probably no new recipes under the sun, this one did come out of my head. One of the many reasons I like Nigel Slater so much is that he says he will often just decide what to cook for dinner when looking at the contents of his fridge. While his TV programmes will involve planning, you just need to read his kitchen diaries to catch the breadth and originality of his imagination.

I was busy making a big pan of oxtail stew - a two day labour of love - when it dawned on me that I had nothing planned for that evening. A chicken breast is always a good standby, and the fridge yielded a chunk of black pud and a half jar of green olives. I was pleasantly surprised by the net result. The only thing that's remotely fiddly is getting your sauce thick without overcooking the chicken. Cutting the breasts into fairly thin slices means that they won't need more than about 5 or 6 minutes of cooking time. Follow your judgment for this, not the recipe.

Ingredients (serves 2 - 4 depending on size of chicken breasts, side dishes and greed)

2 skinless chicken breasts, cut on the diagonal into slices about 1½cm thick; 1 onion thinly sliced vertically; 1 pepper (red, orange or yellow) cut into thin slices; 4 cloves of garlic, crushed; 1 tin tomatoes; ½ tsp sugar; 3 slices of black pudding, skin removed, cut into 1cm cubes; a dozen or so pitted green olives, roughly chopped; ½ tsp dried thyme; 1 bay leaf; s & p; butter and olive oil.


Cook the chicken slices  for a minute or two over a fairly high heat in a mixture of butter and oil. You want them to brown lightly. Remove the chicken and set aside. In the same pan soften the onion and pepper with the garlic. After about 5 minutes add the tomatoes, sugar thyme and bay leaf. Season with s & p. Cook quite rapidly to reduce the sauce. Before it's ready, return the chicken, reduce to a simmer, and continue to cook until the chicken is done. If the sauce needs more cooking take the chicken out again and reduce to a jammy consistency.

In the meantime, in a separate pan, cook the black pudding with as little oil as you can manage. Don't overcook - this will take only a couple of minutes. When the sauce has reached the desired thickness add the chicken, black pud and olives. Stir gently till everything is heated through. Check the seasoning and serve at once.

PS. It tastes much better than it looks.

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