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Lemon spiced chicken with roast asparagus, sweet potato and feta pizza

Yipee lovelies! My very post has officially started. What an exciting day! I put some serious deliberation into what I wanted Getting Kitchy to start off with, and for quite a long time I kept coming up blank. What an absolute disaster right? As I was sitting in my chair, staring listlessly at this beaten up print of Mt Fuji that hangs on my study wall, I kept thinking what if my very first post was a dud. A lemon so to speak. And then Ting! A light bulb went off. Let’s do a lemon day. Lemons are such a fantastic cooking ingredient, they’re versatile, but still manage to be bold and punchy with that added zesty kick that just gets my mouth singing. So let’s jump straight in!

Pizza, the Holy Grail of finger food, is one of my all-time favourite things to eat. This is such a handy little recipe to have up your sleeve for when you have a group of friends over because it’s a real crowd pleaser. This recipe is relatively easy, it just requires a little bit of prep work, and then you’re ready to start cooking.

First things first, we want to get our pizza dough made and put aside, as it takes about half an hour to rise. Now I know, pizza dough has become one of those things that people would much rather forget about it. They would rather get a ready made pizza base from the supermarket. After all, it’s the toppings that really make the pizza right? That’s where you are wrong my little cherubs. A really good pizza base sets the tone for the rest of your pizza, it becomes a fantastic base to then add delicious toppings to0. The saying always goes you have to start from the bottom and work your way up. And this describes pizza to the absolute T.

First of all, combine 1 1/2 cups of warm water with 1 75g pack of dry yeast and a pinch of caster sugar. Mix together in a bowl and set aside for about 5 min. You’ll know when this mixture is done because the yeast will have activated and the bowl will now have a layer of froth on top. Meanwhile, combine 4 cups of plain flour with a good spritz of salt and pepper and mix in a bowl. Now, adding pepper isn’t essential but I personally love the extra flavour that it gives the base. If having flecks of black throughout your dough doesn’t please you aesthetically, feel free to use white pepper instead or you can leave it out altogether.

Make a well in the center, and pour in 1/4 cup of olive oil and the yeast mixture. Now, to combine this, you’ll want to grab a round bladed knife and mix the flour and liquid in a constant figure 8 motion until just combined. Lightly flour your kitchen bench and turn the dough out onto it. Now, here’s some great news, depending on how you want to look at it. Your upper body workout for the night is taken care of with this recipe. You’ll want to knead the dough for 10 minutes until it goes from being crumbly to silky and elastic. The easiest way to getting smooth dough is using the palms of your hand in a consistent downward motion. Once the dough has been kneaded, roll it into a ball and sprinkle some flour over the top.

Grab the bowl you mixed it in (make sure it’s clean of course) and lightly cover in olive oil. Rotate your ball of dough in the bowl so the entire surface has a thin coating of the oil. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and store in a draught-free room. I find storing my dough in my pantry cupboard works really well, but you can store it anywhere. Lots of people cocoon their pizza dough in their favourite blankets and leave to rise, which I think is a gorgeous idea, because cooking is an act of love, and you can taste when food is lovingly made. Leave for ½ an hour to an hour. If you’re worried about this dough being too time-consuming for a weekday meal, it can be made in advance and frozen, which just ticks all the boxes for me. 

Next, we want to start on our toppings. Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees celsius.  Peel your sweet potatoes and chop into roughly 2cm cubes. I used purple sweet potato in this recipe but feel free to use any root vegetable of your choice. The best thing about pizza is how easy it is to mix and match your flavours, which is fantastic because it allows you to get creative. Next, we want to grab a bunch of asparagus and chop off the woody ends. I cut them to be about 5cm long each, which is perfect because it allows about two bites for each piece. Place on a baking tray and pour a good glug of olive oil over your veggies, and make sure to season with salt and pepper. If you like a little bit of a chili kick, you can also sprinkle dried chili flakes over them as well. Place in the oven and cook for about 10 min for the asparagus and a further 10 for the sweet potato. Once cooked, place in a bowl and set aside.

To cook your chicken, you’ll need 1 chicken breast which you’ll need to stab all over with a fork. This allows the chicken to cook through properly and become really nice and tender at the same time. Next squeeze half a lemon over the chicken breast, making sure the juice properly gets into the fork holes. Grab a pastry brush, and brush olive oil over the top of the breast as well as on the bottom. I sprinkled a dried herb mix over the top, which included a mix of thyme, garlic, capsicum, onion, basil, caraway seed, fennel seed, oregano, mustard seed, chili, cinnamon powder, chives, salt and pepper. Then you need to cover the chicken breast with a thin coating of smoked paprika powder and massage into the chicken. Once done, place on a baking tray and bake at 220 degrees Celsius for ½ an hour or until cooked through. Set aside to rest.

Finally, it’s time to assemble your pizza. Hooray! By this point, your dough should be looking gorgeous having doubled in size. Cut the dough in half, this recipe comfortably makes two large pizza bases, and stick half in the freezer. Next, roll it into a ball, and flatten slightly with your hand. Grab a rolling pin and lightly cover with flour. Sprinkle flour onto your workstation, and roll out the dough until you have your desired size and thinness. I prefer thin pizza because I love how crispy it gets, but you do you. Place your pizza base onto a pizza tray. Put a thin coating of tomato paste on the base and smooth it out with the back of a spoon. Next, cover with grated mozzarella. Now, your roast chicken should be well rested by this point, and it’s time to get shredding. Grab two forks and pull apart the chicken. Place the shredded chicken on your pizza, using a much as you need. Next, we want to add the asparagus and the sweet potato. To finish it off, crumble danish feta over the top and a spritz of lemon juice. Place in the oven at 220 degrees Celsius and cook for 20 min.

And there you have it. This pizza goes down a treat with an ice cold beer, which is perfect for a summers day. Enjoy my loves, and please let me know what you think!     

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