Regulars will know my penchant for weeds; both the accidental cultivation and more intentional cooking of. And a mild, wet April creates the perfect climate for wild garlic, nettles, cleavers and the like to glut – Christmastime for the foragers.
Last year at around this time, the G&G household was fed almost entirely on weeds. That is, it was until a rebellion was threatened and I was forced to branch out. You can see some of those wild garlic and nettle recipes here and here. This year, I venture to field two exceptionally tasty weed dishes at the G&G table in the hope of making the most of this free glut without an ensuing mutiny.
Weedy Chicken Kiev
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 handful wild garlic
- 1 handful cleavers (also known as the rather more vulgar ‘Sticky Willy’)
- 1 (gloved) handful nettle tips
- 60g butter, softened
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
Pop the weeds and the butter in a food processor and whizz until you have a soft, green butter. Place in the fridge to harden up (this will make it easier to stuff). Meanwhile, take a chicken breast and make a pocket in it. To do this, lay the breast flat on a board and insert a sharp knife horizontally into the fattest end of the fillet in the middle of the flesh. Turn the knife over side the breast to make the hole a little bigger.
Next, stuff the chilled butter into the pocket, closing at the end, then egg wash the breast and cover with breadcrumbs. Place on a baking sheet and cook at 200 degrees for around 20 minutes. The butter will seep out a little, but that’s no biggie as you’ll be left with buttery breadcrumbs and the wilted weeds still inside.
Wild Garlic Pesto
A staple ingredient at this time of year. Perfect for daubing on roasts, stews, pasta, risotto (as above), this recipe will lift almost any dish and will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
- 4 tbsp grated parmesan
- 3 tbsp pinenuts
- 2 small handfuls wild garlic
- good glut of decent olive oil
Whizz all the ingredients up in a processor. Dribble in more olive oil until you have a loose mix. Our wild garlic is incredibly fiery this year, so I temper the zing with a little lemon juice and a bit more salt. You can also increase the pine nuts which will mellow things out a bit if needed.
Rebellion update: all quiet on the kitchen front so far: I think the kiev went down better than last year’s Weed Pie…