Sunday Times Food Awards 2018

Where to buy the tastiest ready-made chicken & broccoli bake

Our taste-testers have spoken: here's which supermarket to head to when you'd like to pick up a mouthwatering ready meal

25 February 2018 - 00:00 By Hilary Biller
Chicken and broccoli bake is thought to be a more modern take on the classic dish, Chicken a la King.
Chicken and broccoli bake is thought to be a more modern take on the classic dish, Chicken a la King.
Image: 123RF/natavkusidey

HOW WE CONDUCTED OUR TASTE TEST

IT'S FREE AND FAIR!

Taste is a subjective thing, but when you gather a group of 40 Food and Beverage Management students from the University of Johannesburg and ask them to blind-taste chicken & broccoli bakes from three of the major supermarkets, you have a fair way of assessing quality.

We presented the students with samples of the meals, without packaging or branding, and asked them to judge them on appearance, taste, the amount of protein to vegetables and the quality of the sauce. We also asked whether they would buy them.

Auditor Jade Craig observed the chefs in the kitchen - we used the facilities at HTA Cooking Academy in Randburg - under the guidance of Chef Kabelo Segone, who prepared the food exactly to the package instructions. Craig then observed the tasting and tallied the scores.

Chicken & broccoli bakes from Pick n Pay, Woolworths and Checkers.
Chicken & broccoli bakes from Pick n Pay, Woolworths and Checkers.

THE RESULTS

FIRST PLACE: PICK N PAY

Price: R59.90 for 350g

What the judges had to say:

  • Kamogelo: Seasoning is enough and consistent, the broccoli and chicken were big enough. Overall it was the best tasting.
  • Nomvula: The amount of chicken is sufficient but broccoli little undercooked. Sauce better than others.
  • Simemo: Chicken cooked perfectly but sauce needed more seasoning and broccoli was a bit tough and crunchy.
  • Godisang: Adequate seasoning, sauce is perfect, sufficient chicken. Excellent.

SECOND PLACE: WOOLWORTHS

Price: R59.99 for 350g

What the judges had to say:

  • Daryl: Well gratinated, chicken tender, smaller broccoli pieces, maybe a bit salty.
  • Pearl: I enjoyed the dish, the only thing was the sauce was a bit runny.
  • Abenathi: Looked appetising, sauce a bit runny and texture of the broccoli was elegant and chicken tasted good.
  • Luyanda: Seasoning perfect, size of broccoli and chicken too big and they should decrease the size.

THIRD PLACE: CHECKERS

Price: R39.99 for 300g

What the judges had to say:

  • Simemo: Insufficient seasoning, chicken didn't taste good, too little cheese.
  • Bongi: Sauce too thick and cheese was not enough and broccoli size too big.
  • Zandile: Amount of broccoli is good but chicken is not that much. No seasoning.
  • Keshmika: Chicken is under-seasoned in comparison to the rest of the dish, it's quite tasteless and unsatisfying and quite stringy. The sauce improves the dish but there's insufficient cheese.
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