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Gerald Bryan

Levantine wrapped chicken


The Levant was the old name given to the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean. This recipe combines the delicious flavours of that region.

LEVANTINE WRAPPED CHICKEN
Makes 4

3 medium vine tomatoes - sliced
1 red onion - thinly sliced - or bunch of spring onions - sliced
4 gherkins - thinly sliced lengthways
2tbsp chopped fresh mint
2tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Olive oil
2 lemons
salt and pepper
2 large chicken breasts - skinned, boned and cut in half horizontally
1 large onion - cut into rings
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp ground sumac - a sour spice - if unavailable use lemon zest
100ml chicken stock - or water 
4tbsp toum or garlic paste - see below 
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts 
4 flatbread or pitta

Toum or garlic paste
1 head of garlic - peeled and broken into cloves
Juice of a lemon
1tsp salt
200ml olive oil
30ml water

In a blender or food processor whiz the garlic, lemon juice and salt until smooth. With the motor running, drizzle in the oil and then the water. The paste will keep in the fridge for about a week.

Put the tomatoes, red onion, gherkins and chopped herbs in a bowl. Pour the lemon juice over the salad and then a little olive oil. Lightly season with salt and pepper, gently mix and set aside to chill. 

Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a pan and fry the chicken until cooked and golden on both sides. Remove from the pan, slice lengthwise into strips and keep warm. Into the same pan put the onion rings and cook until soft, adding a little more oil if necessary. Add the cinnamon and sumac and cook for another minute. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil. When it has reduced slightly, remove from the heat then return the chicken to the pan and coat with the mix.

Spread each flatbread with toum, cover with salad and lay a portion of chicken on top. Sprinkle with pine nuts and roll the bread. Cut the roll in half at an angle and serve garnished with lemon wedges, herbs and any remaining salad. If using pitta, take a thin slice off one edge, open the pocket and fill, garnishing in the same way.


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