15 minute meals, you say. Great taste in record time, you say?
I think I can pull a meal together pretty swiftly when I need to, but 15 minutes for something tasty sounds like a big ask even for me. If it was anyone but Jamie I’d think they’re having a lend of me but given I’m a pretty massive Jamie fan and have been following him since he was scootering around in his Naked Chef days I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt.
On face value, I never really bought in to the 15 minute and 30 minute meal idea. As someone who seriously enjoys cooking, meal preparation at pace was never a priority. What matters most to me is that a recipe is delicious, relatively simple and robust enough for home cooking.
But I am up for a challenge and am desperate to know how close to the 15 minute mark we can get, with the sous chef at the pans for this evening’s experiment. The chicken fajitas is the third recipe we have trialled from 15 minute meals. Here’s how it went.
Switch outs: Didn’t have breast but did have chicken thighs. Didn’t have whole tomatoes so threw in cherry tomatoes. Only had one variety of capsicum and didn’t have an extra onion so went with what we had. One lime for the salsa seemed enough. Otherwise everything else was good to go.
CHICKEN FAJITAS IN 15 MINUTES (Serves 4)
- 1 dried chipotle chilli
- 3 spring onions (white and green parts)
- 5 cherry tomatoes
- 1 red chilli, seeds removed
- 1 lime
- Half bunch of coriander stems and roots
- 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 cups cooked brown rice
- 1 400gm can of black beans
- 1 tbsp cumin seems
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 300 gms chicken thighs (four)
- 2 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 red capsicum
- Olive Oil
1. Cover the chipotle chilli in boiling water and soak whilst preparing the other ingredients. Take the coriander roots and stems, cherry tomatoes, red chilli and spring onions on top of the soaking chiptole until later.
2.Prep the chicken by laying out on a baking paper, sprinkle with paprika and salt and pepper.
3. With the chicken is cooking throw the capscium onto a chargrill.
4. To make the rice, drop some olive oil into a pot and toast the cumin seeds for a couple of minutes. Add the cooked rice to the pot and the rinsed black beans and heat through. Add some lime juice and season generously.
5. Complete the salsa by adding the soy, balsamic and blitz in a food processor or blender. Add a little water if you think it’s too thick.
6. Use the char grill to heat the tortillas or pop them in the oven until warmed up.
7. Chop the chicken thighs, sprinkle with coriander and you’re ready to serve.
The test kitchen verdict: Well this recipe was a massive success, though certainly not within 15 minutes. Sous chef spent 45 minutes pulling this dinner together but when you consider blog photo requirements this is still pretty swift delivery. The recipe was simple and consistent with other recipes from 15 minutes – delicious and super tasty. The soy sauce is random but it works, and the salsa was so good tasting that you would be insane to ever buy a jar of old el paso anything again.
Real life rating: 9/10 – What I have found impressive about the 15 minute meal and 30 minute meals is that it gets the home cook to pull together taste combinations that extends beyond your standard repertoire and teaches you how to really work your pantry. Having tried this recipe, as well as the Chilli Beans and the Ultimate Pork Tacos, I’m mighty impressed with the shortcuts recommended by Jamie and how successful they are. Even if it may take a little more than 15 minutes there’s no question that these dishes are fast, surprisingly healthy and big on flavour. Worth a go.