Fondue dippers: streaky bacon wrapped chicken with spinach, blanched vegetables and apples

  • Preparation Time5 mins
  • Cooking Time20 mins
  • Serves6
  • DifficultyEasy
1 (10-ounce) box frozen chopped spinach
Fondue with Apple Brandy:
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 3/4 cups dry white wine
6 slices good quality smoky bacon, halved across (recommended: Oscars from Warrensburg)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
12 chicken tenders
3/4 pound Gruyere, shredded
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound Emmentaler, shredded
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/3 cup apple brandy
1 teaspoon smoked sweet paprika
1 bunch radishes, trimmed
Freshly grated nutmeg, to taste
Pinch cayenne pepper
1 large red pepper, seeded and sliced 1/2-inch thick sticks
1 bundle white or thin green asparagus, trimmed
1 sack purple pearl onions or 1 jar pickled pearl onions, drained
1 jar mini gherkins, drained
1 bag pretzel rods
Whole-grain or seeded bread, diced for dipping
Fondue with Apple Brandy, recipe follows

1) Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/Gas 6.

2) Defrost spinach in microwave.

3)Drizzle a little oil on large plate and have a rack sitting on baking a sheet or slotted broiler pan nearby. Halve the bacon across and reserve on a meat-safe prep board. Halve the chicken tenders and slide into the dish with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and paprika. Wring out the spinach in a clean dish towel and put the spinach in a small dish. Top each piece of chicken with a little spinach and wrap with bacon. Arrange, seem side down, on the baking pan. Bake until golden and firm, 18 to 20 minutes.

4) Meanwhile, bring a few inches of salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Have a large bowl of ice water, for shocking the vegetables, ready as well. Add the radishes to the boiling water and blanch for 1 minute, then remove them and shock in ice water. Repeat with the pepper removing them with tongs or small strainer or spider. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 to 3 minutes, then shock and reserve.

5) If using fresh onions, add last and cook for 3 minutes to loosen skins. Refresh them and use a towel to wipe away the skins.

6) Arrange the meat, vegetables and pretzels around a fondue pot and serve with cubed bread in a basket.

For the fondue:

1) Put the wine in a fondue pot and bring to a bubble over medium heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the lemon juice, then add the cheeses in handfuls, stirring in a figure-8 motion with wooden spoon. When the cheese is fully melted, stir the cornflour into the brandy, in a small bowl until smooth, then add to cheese. Season with nutmeg and cayenne and serve over a warming station for your fondue pot.

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