Cooking: Chicken topped with a parsley & parmesan crust and a rich tomato sauce

I got this idea from my mum doing Californian grilled fish (which I’ll be attempting in the next couple of weeks). I was musing on whether it would work with chicken breast covered in a tomato sauce. Boy did it just. It was a resounding success and I’ll definitely be making it again. I  served it with crispy potato and sweet potato fritters and green beans,  but just about any veg will go well with it.

Ingredients for sauce
1 Echalion shallot, very finely chopped
4 – 5 average sized mushrooms, very finely chopped
1/4 stick of celery, very finely chopped
1/4 of a Leek,  very finely chopped
2 sun dried tomatoes,  very finely chopped
1 garlic clove, grated or crushed
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 heaped tsp mixed dried herbs
1 tsp sugar

Ingredients for crust
2 slices of bread
4 or 5 sprigs of curly leaf parsley
1 garlic clove grated
Generous grating of parmesan (any hard cheese will do,  and even cheddar)
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper

4 – 5 skinless chicken breasts.
(the above ingredients will make more than enough topping for more chicken but they freeze well)

Method
In a non stick,  large frying pan,  heat a little oil and on a low heat sweat the shallot for a couple of minutes. Then add the celery and leeks. Fry for a couple more minutes before adding the mushrooms and garlic.

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Then add the tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar, herbs and seasoning. Turn the heat up to a medium and stirring frequently,  reduce the sauce until nice and thick. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6

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In a blender place all the ingredients for the crust and whizz into very fine breadcrumbs.

Place the chicken breasts onto a lined baking tray and spread the sauce over the top of each. Then spoon on the breadcrumb mix and gently press down into the sauce. Bake in the oven for 25 – 30 mins. Allow to rest for 5 mins.

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Serve with vegetables of your choice.

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