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Taste of Europe: Jamie Oliver’s ‘Trev’s chicken’

Here’s a fun recipe of Jamie Oliver's, a chicken dish named after his dad

Jamie Oliver’s ‘Trev’s chicken’

New Year’s Eve is almost always a disaster. One minute you’re with friends, happily skipping along the side of a motorway, giddy with anticipation, joy and a four-pack of Foster’s, the next you’re being thrown out of a golf club before absolutely pelting it through thorn-riddled bushes, over a dimly-lit field and through the wire-meshed yard of a questionable roofing company all in the hope of ringing in midnight in a pub. Anywhere with drinks. On that occasion we ended up in a place run by a man who had spent quite a long time in prison.

When young, such adventures are par for the course. Either you’re working behind the bar, or you’re in front of one, ordering Jägerbombs.

It wasn’t all so glossy. One New Year’s Eve, for whatever reason, something of a coup started to develop among my fellow bartenders. It was Oxford, 2009 or so, and the pub I worked at had recently undergone a major overhaul. The place was suddenly rigid and stuffy, not what it was – no longer a haven of tomfoolery and silliness, where stars would drink before or after playing the theatre next door. Christopher Biggins rocked up once, so too Jimmy Carr. Others like Jim Davidson are much better forgotten.

The change from boozer to “gastropub” would have been welcome if it had led to improvements. Better food and drink was the calling card – and yet all of it was merely the plastic ambitions of a large corporation. It was replacing one method of money making with another and suddenly there was an expectation on all of us not to be regular old bartenders, filling time and earning a buck, but well-oiled, high-end servers. Again, admirable, but these new roles came with no increase in pay. Not to mention the food was now three times the price, but still inedible bollocks.

And so December 31 came around and we were all disgruntled. Before our shift started at 3pm, we found ourselves in Jamie’s Italian, the first to open, and then well thought of by pretty much everyone. We were never really going to skip work, but over discount prosecco, cured meats and bread, we laughed at the idea of sticking it to the man.

Years on, and I again found myself in one of Jamie’s restaurants: the launch of his first UK site since the demise of his past empire, Jamie Oliver Catherine St. I can chart my life through that man, such is the culinary impact he’s had. School dinners and all that.

Here’s a fun recipe of his, a chicken dish named after his dad. Jamie’s good at recipes.


Serves 4

Total time: 55 minutes


Olive oil
4 x 150g skinless free-range chicken breasts or supremes
200g mushroom Bolognese (see below), drain off any excess liquid
Flour, for dusting
320g ready-rolled puff pastry
1 free-range egg
½ a bunch of chervil (10g)
Optional: herb oil


1 small banana shallot
1 heaped teaspoon wholegrain mustard
1 heaped teaspoon Dijon mustard
100ml white wine
100ml single cream
Mushroom bolognese
2 onions
2 carrots
2 sticks of celery
1kg mixed mushrooms, such as chestnut, Portobello, oyster, shiitake
25g sun-dried tomatoes
15g dried porcini mushrooms
Olive oil
Half a bunch of thyme (10g)
2 tbsp tomato purée
150ml Chianti red wine
1 tbsp low-salt soy sauce
1 tsp Marmite
2 tsp white miso
1 litre organic veg stock


First make the bolognese. Peel, trim and finely chop the onions, carrot and celery, and finely chop the mixed mushrooms. Cover the sun-dried tomatoes and porcini in 100ml of hot water and leave aside to plump up.

Place a large nonstick pan on a medium-high heat with 1 tbsp of olive oil and fry the chopped mushrooms, removing to a plate once golden – you’ll need to work in batches.

Drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil into the pan and turn the heat down to low. Add the chopped veg and strip in the thyme leaves, then cook on a low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Tip the porcini, sun-dried tomatoes and soaking liquor into a blender, discarding just the last gritty bit, then whizz until smooth.

When the veg is soft, add the mushrooms back to the pan with the tomato purée, then pour in the wine and allow to bubble and cook away.

Pour in the contents of the blender, then add the soy, Marmite, miso and stock. Cook for 1 hour, or until rich and thickened, stirring occasionally.

Remove a quarter of the ragù and blitz in a blender, then stir it back into the rest of the ragù. Taste and season to perfection.

Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6, and lightly oil a baking tray. Use the tip of a sharp knife to slice into the thickest part of each chicken breast and create a pocket, then season all over with sea salt and black pepper.

Divide and stuff the mushroom Bolognese into the pockets, then shape the breasts back into their original form, sealing the stuffing inside.

On a clean, flour-dusted surface, slice the pastry lengthways into 4 pieces, and wrap around each chicken breast (make sure the wing bone is left out, if using supremes), transferring to the oiled tray as you go.

Beat the egg and brush it over the pastry, then bake in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.

When the chicken has just over 5 minutes to go, make the mustard sauce. Peel and finely chop the shallot, then fry in a small pan on a medium heat with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.

Add the mustards and cook for 1 minute, then pour in the wine and allow it to bubble and reduce by half. Next, add the cream and a splash of water and simmer until the sauce coats the back of a spoon, then remove from the heat and season to perfection.

Once cooked, leave the chicken to rest for 5 minutes, then slice each into 3.

Divide the sauce between serving plates, arrange the chicken on top, then pick over the chervil, to garnish.

Finish with a little drizzle of herb oil, if you like. Delicious served with seasonal greens.

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