Eat to Run: Chicken in Grape Leaves

Recipes to stay full and slim down for spring and summer

Surprise your buddies with a home-cooked meal after your weekend group run. This recipe is simple to prepare in advance, cooks easily and presents well. If you’re short on time, skip the homemade mayo, buy a fresh mayonnaise at the store and add in some finely chopped preserved lemon. For the preserved vine leaves, you can head to a delicatessen or greengrocer. Don’t forget to soak the leaves in cold water for an hour to remove excess saltiness.

Baked Chicken in Crisp Vine Leaves
Serves 4

Lemon Mayo

  • 300 g (10½ oz) silken tofu
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon rice syrup
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Pinch of ground turmeric
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of freshly ground black pepper

Spice Mix

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground chili
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast fillets
  • 8 large vine leaves, soaked in water for 1 hour
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano

Prepare the lemon mayo by placing all the ingredients in a food processor or blender and processing for two minutes to make a purée, then cover and refrigerate until needed.

To make the spice mix, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix thoroughly.

Rinse the chicken breasts and pat dry with paper towel. Roll each breast in the spice mix to coat, dusting off any excess. Place on a large plate. Take two vine leaves per breast, patting them dry. Wrap the vine leaves across each breast and seal the leaves with a little oil – try to keep the seal on the underside of each breast. Use a pastry brush to brush oil over the vine leaves, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas Mark 4). Transfer the chicken to a lightly oiled baking tray, making sure you leave plenty of space between the breasts, then sprinkle with the oregano. Bake for 15 minutes, or until cooked through. Slice each breast into pieces and serve hot with the lemon mayo. This chicken dish tastes great with some freshly picked tomatoes, cucumber chunks, feta, dried oregano and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice.


© Feel Good Food by Tony Chiodo, Hardie Grant, 2013