“ Brand: Tesco / Type: Chicken „
On Saturday my friend brought us round a treat, she phoned in advance to say not to bother cooking as I had a stinking cold and that she would bring something in - I had already invited her round for a bite to eat before falling ill and was loathe to cancel but equally loathe to subject myself to her appalling culinary skills! I was hoping she would walk in with a fragrant steaming Chinese meal so my heart sank when I saw her with Tesco carrier bags in hand; oh no, it looks like she's going to cook.......
Luckily for me (and my stomach) she had instead bought a meal from the Tesco Finest range for us to share, which might sound like a cop out to you lot but believe me you have never tasted Sheila's cooking - by her own admittance she could burn water, she's awful!
The meal she chose was Chicken Pancetta and Mozzerella which takes just 30 minutes to cook in the oven and smells absolutely delicious as it's cooking. It costs £4 for a meal containing two chicken breasts, I am unsure whether this means the meal serves two or not but we had one each and really I think the portion size would be rather stingy if you tried to halve the meal.
The chicken breasts are succulent and juicy, they have obviously been marinaded as the the rich buttery sauce has infused the entire breast which makes this meal feel so luxurious. Fairly thick chunks of pancetta have been tossed into the sauce and these lend the meal a delicious smoky flavour, these too have soaked up the flavours of the sauce and while I am not usually a fan of cured meat added to oily sauces in this instance I can say it compliments the blander flavour of the chicken perfectly and adds a lovely dimension to the meal.
Now, in all honesty the sauce isn't terribly oily even though it's made with butter. Single cream gives it a nice rounded texture while the addition of cheese into the sauce makes it so much creamier and whilst it doesn't actually taste of cheese there is definitely the sensation of eating some kind of cheese sauce. Sauvignon Blanc has been added to the sauce but I personally could not taste the alcohol at all, although I suspect it is this which leaves a fruity flavour in my mouth after each mouthful and mingles so beautifully with the very subtle garlic taste which is apparent now and again in the meal.
Melted atop the gorgeous chicken breasts is a thin but flavoursome mozzarella cheese, this has a stringy pizza-like consistency which is a delight to eat particularly when you manage to snag both chicken and a piece of pancetta with it. You also get a fairly good sized accompaniment of roast potatoes with this meal, which come as small cubes of potato. Personally I thought these were nothing to write home about and I much prefer my own 'proper' roasters for both bulk and flavour. There is nothing inherently wrong with the potatoes included in this meal of course, it's just that they are dryer than my palate prefers and seemed almost sealed in that they absorbed very little flavouring from the sauce.
Overall I thought this was an absolutely delicious meal, certainly one of the best I have tried from the Finest range. It was perhaps a little salty but I had been expecting this from the inclusion of the pancetta and also the fact that the sauce is so buttery, having checked on the box a serving contains 1.7g of salt which isn't so bad if this meal serves one but as the serving size isn't particularly clear you could be eating double this amount so do beware if you are on a low sodium diet for any reason. Talking of nutritional value, a serving contains 330 calories and a staggering 13.9g of fat - although again, this could be double if in fact I unwittingly ate a portion designed for two people.
The meal is very filling, more so than I thought it would be based on previous experience of ready meals. We ate our meals at around 4pm and I didn't feel hungry at all for the rest of the evening until I had a bowl of muesli at 11pm, and even then it wasn't because I was particularly hungry I just needed to take some food before my medication.