Steamed Breast of Chicken with a Ricotta Farce

Steaming is a great way to cook food without the use of oil or other fats. Skinless chicken breast steam beautifully and as long as they are not over cooked the meat will remain tender and moist. To add flavour to the chicken while steaming in this recipe I add lime zest and ginger to the boiling water below it. As the main steps of this recipe are done in advance this makes a great recipe for serving to a number of people.

6 Portions
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 10-15 minutes


Chicken Breast

  • 6 chicken breast, skinless
  • 1 tsp pesto or rocket pesto (see recipe)
  • Maldon salt and freshly ground pepper

Ricotta Farce

  • 120g ricotta
  • 1 tbsp basil leaves shredded
  • pinch pimento (smoked paprika),optional
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp finely chopped ginger

To Steam

  • 2 tsp ginger trimmings
  • zest of half a lime
  • 60g Rocket leaves
  • 10g roasted walnut pieces
  • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil or walnut oil
  • Maldon salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Potato Gnocchi (see recipe) with Rocket Pesto (see recipe)
  • 2 tbsp parmesan shavings


  1. Chicken Breast: Place the chicken breast on a work top so that the side which was cut from the bone is facing up. From the centre of the fillet make an incision with a knife through the meat so as to open it up being careful not to cut through it and leaving it intact on the sides and top. Repeat this on the other side, then flatten them out slightly with a mallet or rolling pin, being careful as not to tear the skin. Place a little pesto in the centre of each breast and rub it around the middle of the breast. Season the breast and set aside while you prepare the farce.
  2. Ricotta Farce: Place all the ricotta farce ingredients in a bowl and mix them together until well combined. Stir in a little salt and pepper to taste. Place a small spoonful of the farce in the centre of each breast and spread it out evenly around the middle of the breast (do not over fill). Seal the ricotta farce in by bringing both sides of the breast meat into the centre so that one side overlaps the other. Refrigerate the breast until ready to cook.
  3. To Steam: Place water in the bottom half of steamer so that it half fills it. Place the ginger trimmings and lime zest into the water. Cover the steamer and bring the water to the boil. When the water is boiling reduce it to a steady simmer. Place the chicken breast filled side down in the steaming container, place it over the simmering water and cover it. Leave the chicken breast to cook for 10-12 minutes. The breast should be white and firm when cooked. Remove the breast from the heat but leaving them in their steaming container, place on a heat proof surface and replace the lid (alternatively you may remove the breast from the steamer and cover them with foil). Leave the breast to stand for 5 minutes.
  4. To Serve: If you are serving the chicken with the gnocchi, remove the ginger and lime zest from the steaming water and use this to cook the gnocchi (see recipe for method). Toss the rocket, walnuts and oil together in a bowl, season the salad with a little salt and pepper. Place a little salad on 1 half of each plate and place the gnocchi with rocket pesto on the other side. Slice the chicken breasts width ways into about 6 pieces. Carefully place the chicken breast on the rocket salad and overlap the slices slightly. Place a few parmesan shavings around each plate and serve.