This is a pleasing summer dish that will fill your home with wonderful wafts of cardamon and sweetness. I love how the dish offers a spectrum of complimentary flavours: the tangy sweetness of the peaches and honey; the gentle bite of the balsamic; the green freshness of the basil; the unique undertone of the cardamon and the ricotta that softens the palate.
It takes about 15 minutes to prep and needs 30-40 minutes in the oven. Serve it with chunks of buttered baguette if you're in a hurry, or with roasted potatoes and greens if you're wanting something more substantial.
Quantity: serves 4
Prep time: 15 minutes:
Oven time: 30-40 minutes
- 2 tbsp olive oil plus extra if needed
- 4 chicken breasts
- 4 peaches, quartered
- 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 3 generous tbsp honey
- 3 cardamon pods, the seeds inside finely crushed
- 250g ricotta
- fresh basil leaves
- salt and pepper
- roasting tin
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
- Quarter the peaches.
- Pat dry the chicken breasts with paper towel, then sprinkle each of their sides with salt.
- Add the olive oil to the pan, heat it up and add the chicken, browning each side for a minute or two. Once browned, turn the heat off.
- Put the chicken and the oil in the roasting pan and place the peach slices around the chicken breasts so that the tops of the chicken breasts are exposed.
- Place the honey, balsamic and crushed cardamon in the pan that was used to brown the chicken, and stir to combine. (You probably don't need to turn your stove back on, as there should still be enough heat in the pan and on the stove top to help the honey and balsamic combine.)
- Spoon the honey-balsamic-cardamon over the chicken and peaches, season with salt and pepper and place the lot in the oven.
- Roast for 30-40 minutes or until the peaches are caramelized in places, and the juices of the breasts run clear when you pierce through their centers.
- Plate the peaches and chicken on a bed of ricotta and top with basil leaves.
- When quartering the peaches: I find it easier to cut a peach in half, twist both sides to dislodge one half from the seed, and then pull off the seed with my hand, a spoon or a knife from the other half. Then I quarter them.
- It's okay if the peaches get squashed when you're quartering them, but still try to keep them in the best shape you can.
- Patting dry the chicken breasts removes excess moisture, which aids in browning the meat faster and more efficiently.
- I find that leaving the ricotta out on the bench while the chicken and peaches are in the oven renders the ricotta easier to spread.
- As mentioned above, if you pierce through to the center of a chicken breast with a skewer and the juices that run are clear, it should be cooked. Another way of determining readiness is to use an internal thermometer: cook the breasts until they are no less than 74 degrees Celsius at their centers.