I believe that food has the ability to tell stories. Family recipes passed down from one generation to another, spices that evoke aromas from faraway places, unexpected happy accidents that led to new food discoveries, early morning searches for something to eat after unforgettable nights out – our memories, our history, our celebrations are all peppered with the presence of food.
Peppadews (sweet and tangy South African pickled peppers) are one of those distinct tastes that remind me of my country. I find this ingredient to be highly underrated as it is so bold and complex in flavour. Peppadews are both sweet and sour, tart but in the most delightful way, bright and vibrant in colour and they definitely pack quite a punch of heat. I suppose these peppers are a lot like South African people: complex, colourful, vibrant, warm, feisty and quite unusual.
This recipe was inspired by a dish I used to enjoy at local restaurant. It’s so simple and ridiculously quick to make that it makes for the perfect mid-week meal, when one doesn’t feel like putting much effort into cooking. Lately I have been all about quick meals. I don’t seem to have the time or energy to spend a lot of time in a hot kitchen. It’s great to be able to cook something that doesn’t sacrifice flavour for convenience. The cream balances out the stark taste of the peppadews, and the chicken lends itself brilliantly to the bold flavours. And let’s be honest, you can’t go wrong pasta!
4 boneless chicken thigh fillets, chopped into bite-sized pieces
50 grams of peppadews, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon of grated pecorino cheese
½ cup cream
2 teaspoons of Italian herbs
250 grams of penne
How to make it:
Cook penne until al dente, as per the instruction on the packaging.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat some oil in a pan, and sauté the chicken and peppadews on a medium heat, until the chicken starts to brown. Next add the minced garlic and Italian herbs, and sauté for another minute before adding the cream. Allow the sauce to thicken for about 2 minutes then stir in the grated pecorino cheese. Add a pinch of salt and serve the peppadew chicken sauce over the penne.