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Summer Braised Chicken, Pearl Barley, Pancetta and Peas

A quick healthy recipe for you, with quick being the very operative work. It's a perfectly balanced summer style braised chicken in peas, pancetta and peal barley with charred lettuce and takes 20 minutes all in; promise. Also, it's incredibly simple and really yummy thanks to the white wine and chicken stock broth that takes on the smokey flavour of the pancetta - and everything is simmered in one pan so minimal washing up :)

You will need:

(Serves 2)

1-2 chicken pieces per person. I used a thigh fillet each.

3 slices pancetta or smoked bacon

A few handfuls of peas

About 150g quick cook pearl barley

80ml white wine

100ml chicken stock

Squeeze of lemon juice

Start by chopping the bacon or pancetta into rough 2cm pieces and begin frying off in a medium sized pan. Next add the chicken, cut into large chunks. There is no need to add any oil as the fat from the pork and potentially the chicken skin if using will be enough to fry it in. Leave it to do its thing and colour for 2 or 3 minutes.

Next, add the pearl barley and stir it all round to ensure each grain is coated in the cooking juices. Now add the white wine, and once it's evaporated, the chicken stock. Turn the heat down to a simmer as you don't want to boil the chicken and make it an unpleasant texture. Leave it for around 10 minutes, checking intermittently to see that it hasn't boiled dry or is sticking. If it is, add a tad more stock or water until the chicken is cooked through and the pearl barley is soft but still retains a nice bite. Stir in the peas at the last minute and season with a squeeze of lemon and plenty of salt and pepper.

I served it all with a baby gem lettuce cut in half lengthways and griddled on a dry pan for about 30 seconds.

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