“Using skewers to make chicken lollipops is a really fun thing to do with kids – they’ll love helping to make them, and tucking in, too. Tweak the salsa to embrace ingredients your kids love, and it can also be a useful vehicle to introduce them to new tastes. ”
- 150 g wholewheat couscous
- olive oil
- 2 lemons
- 2 x 120 g free-range skinless chicken breasts
- 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary tied together with a piece of string
- 1 teaspoon runny honey
- 1 red pepper
- ¼ of a small red onion
- 150 g fresh pineapple
- extra virgin olive oil
- ½ a bunch of fresh soft herbs (15g), such as mint, flat-leaf parsley , optional
- 4 tablespoons natural yoghurt
- Soak 6 wooden skewers in a tray of cold water – this will prevent them from burning on the barbecue later.
- Place the couscous in a bowl and add ½ a tablespoon of oil. Finely grate in the zest of ½ a lemon, squeeze in half the juice, then add the squeezed half for extra flavour. Just cover with boiling kettle water – get an adult to help you if you need to. Cover the bowl and put aside.
- Now, very carefully push 3 skewers horizontally into each chicken breast (if the skewers are too long, cut them in half). Wash your hands, then season the chicken breasts with black pepper, squeeze over the juice of ½ a lemon and drizzle with ½ a tablespoon of olive oil.
- You can cook the skewers on a hot barbecue or in a hot frying pan on the hob. Always get an adult to help you! Either way, cook the skewers for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden and cooked through, turning regularly with tongs. For the final minute of cooking, grab your rosemary sprigs and use them to brush the honey over the chicken, giving it a lovely sticky glaze.
- To make a zingy salsa, first clean down your board. Halve, deseed and finely chop the pepper. Peel and finely chop the onion and the pineapple, then pop everything in a bowl, dress with a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, then season to perfection. If you’ve got them, finely chop some fresh soft herbs using the cross-chop method, and add to the mix.
- Uncover the couscous, fluff it up with a fork, and divide between your plates.
- On a clean board, use a sharp knife to slice the chicken between the skewers. Check that it’s cooked and if it needs another minute or two, simply put it back on the barbecue.
- Place 3 chicken lollipops on each plate, and serve with the pineapple and pepper salsa, natural yoghurt, for dipping, and lemon wedges, for squeezing over.
You can add whatever crunchy veg or fruit you like to the salsa – try cucumber, tomatoes, celery, apple, pear, orange, spring onions or fennel.
Jamie wholeheartedly believes that cooking is up there as one of the most valuable skills you can teach a child. Getting kids excited about food, where it comes from and how to cook it, gives them a better chance of being healthier and happier in the long run. When cooking with kids, use your common sense to determine what jobs they can help you with, depending on their age and skill level. It’s always good to start small, with jobs such as mixing and measuring, then progress to elements of a recipe, then go on to slightly trickier techniques over time. The more they cook, the better they’ll get. Make sure you supervise them when using heat or sharp utensils like knives and box graters, and teach them about the importance of washing their hands before they start, and after handling raw meat and fish, as well as other basic hygiene rules. Most of all, have fun with it, and encourage them to give things a go.
Source: Jamie Oliver