Chicken Baked in Corn Cob Leaves with Corn and Potatoes
Portion/Yield:Serves 4 as a main course
Corn on the cob is one of my favourite ingredients. I loved it as a child and I love it even more as an adult. I have wonderful memories of my father and mother cooking corn on the cob for Saturday lunch in the biggest saucepan you have ever seen, every year in the autumn.
It was a memorable family occasion, because my parents boiled the corn in this enormous saucepan filled with salted water until soft, then we would sit around the table with napkins and lashings of margarine, salt and pepper. My mother only served white sliced bread with it and it was heaven. I loved it.
I also remember us all sitting around afterwards (like baboons!) with the toothpicks, removing the bits stuck between our teeth. When my mother reads this she will probably want to kick me on the shins, as she’ll probably want to die of embarrassment! I hope you have a good giggle reading this, as it’s the absolute truth!
Following on from the gigantic saucepan, mum eventually upgraded to a microwave. It’s quite a fancy model and she uses it for cooking or baking most things, and consequently, she has taught me the best, quickest and least messy way to cook corn on the cob. I am chuffed, after all these years, that I still cook my corn in the microwave as mum taught me.
So, to cook corn on the cob my mum’s way, simply wrap each prepared corn on the cob in a double layer of kitchen paper, soak the whole wrapped cobs in water, then place in a microwave and cook on High (100% power) for 9–12 minutes, then leave to rest in the microwave with the door closed for a further 9 minutes. Hey presto, job done!
Ingredients & Method
- 4 fresh corn on the cob (with leaves attached)
- 4 boneless chicken breasts, skin on
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 16 fresh sage leaves
- 200g (peeled weight) Desiree potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm dice
- 100g onion, chopped
- 100g leeks, sliced
- 80g celery, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 100ml dry white wine
- 250ml chicken stock
- 100ml double cream
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage, plus extra to garnish
- sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
First prepare the corn. Remove the leaves and ‘silk’ from each corn cob. Wash the leaves and drain in a colander. Discard the ‘silks’. Wrap each corn cob in a double layer of kitchen paper and then soak the whole wrapped cobs in water. Place in a microwave and cook on High (100% power) for 9–12 minutes, then leave to rest in the microwave with the door closed for a further 9 minutes – the resting time is just as important as the cooking time (see Cook’s Notes). Remove the paper and then carefully cut the corn kernels from the cobs using a sharp knife. Set aside until needed.
Heat a medium frying pan over a high heat. Season the chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper. Add half the butter to the pan and let it melt, then place the chicken breasts, skin-side down, in the pan and cook for about 3 minutes on each side, turning once, until golden brown.
Remove the chicken to a plate. Wipe the pan clean with kitchen paper and set aside. Place 4 sage leaves on each browned chicken breast, then wrap each one in the reserved corn leaves. Secure with butcher’s string and set aside.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4.
Return the pan to a medium heat, add the remaining butter and leave to melt, then add the potatoes, onion, leeks, celery and garlic, with salt and pepper, and sauté until the potatoes start to colour, about 6–8 minutes. Add the wine, then bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Add the stock and cream, bring to the boil and then remove the pan from the heat.
Transfer the potato mixture to a large oven-to-table baking dish, add the corn kernels and chopped sage and stir to mix, then place the corn leaf-wrapped chicken parcels on top. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked and tender.
Remove the chicken breasts from the corn leaf parcels and return them to the dish of corn and potato bake. Garnish with sage leaves and serve.
If you do not have a microwave, then cook the prepared corn cobs in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for about 30 minutes, or until the kernels are cooked and tender. Drain and continue with the recipe as directed.
The chicken parcels can be cooked on the barbecue, but the potato mixture is best baked in the oven as per the recipe above. To barbecue the chicken, preheat the barbecue to medium-hot, then simply place the corn leaf-wrapped chicken parcels directly over the cooler (outer edges) of the hot barbecue. Barbecue for about 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked all the way through, turning regularly. The corn leaves may burn and become completely black, but this is good as it will add extra flavour to the chicken inside. If you are using a barbecue with a lid, cover the barbecue with the lid and this will capture the heat and help to cook the chicken evenly.