Sunday Times Food Awards 2018

Which supermarket makes the most delicious chicken & broccoli bake?

To help you buy the best, we put three heat-and-eat meals to the taste test

12 August 2018 - 00:00 By Hilary Biller
Chicken and broccoli bake is thought to be based on chicken Divan, which was once a signature dish at a (long-gone) New York hotel's Divan Parisien restaurant.
Chicken and broccoli bake is thought to be based on chicken Divan, which was once a signature dish at a (long-gone) New York hotel's Divan Parisien restaurant.
Image: 123RF/sfinks

HOW WE CONDUCTED OUR TASTE TEST

IT'S FREE AND FAIR!

Chefs-in-training make excellent tasters. They clearly love food, especially if they haven't had to prepare it themselves; they're curious about food; they have a well -developed sense of taste; and when it comes to rating a product, they pull no punches.

For this reason, we asked Chef Charl Crause of FBI Chefs School in Joburg North to gather a group of students and their lecturers for a blind tasting of supermarket ready meals.

All products were purchased, stripped of their packaging and numbered by a team of students (who didn't take part in the tasting) in the FBI Chef School kitchen, under the watchful eye of auditor Jade Craig, who checked that the dishes were prepared exactly to the package instructions. In some cases, the reheating time was insufficient.

THE RESULTS

FIRST PLACE: PICK N PAY

Chicken & Broccoli Bake

Price: R59.99 for 350g

What the judges said:

  • Vincent: Closer to what I know as a chicken & broccoli bake.
  • Charl: The ratio of ingredients is balanced. Needs more seasoning.
  • Boitumelo: The texture is smooth and the aroma very cheesy. I can smell the chicken.
  • Kristin: Smells like chicken that is well shredded. The broccoli is crisp and there is a perfect amount of cheese.
From top: chicken and broccoli bake from Pick n Pay, Woolworths and Checkers.
From top: chicken and broccoli bake from Pick n Pay, Woolworths and Checkers.
Image: Christoph Hoffmann

SECOND PLACE: CHECKERS

Classic Chicken & Broccoli

Price: R44.99 for 300g

What the judges said:

  • Boitumelo: Smells more of broccoli than chicken. Needs more chicken and seasoning.
  • Chante: The chicken is a little overcooked. The broccoli is crunchy and well cooked. I would recommend longer reheating than directions on pack.
  • Veronique: Not bad but it needs more salt and some lemon juice.

THIRD PLACE: WOOLWORTHS

Chicken Broccoli

Price: R65.99 for 350g

What the judges said:

  • Leandrie: Smells like breadcrumbs, needs more cheese. There's a separate taste of each item as if it wasn't baked together. The broccoli could be more crisp.
  • Veronique: The sauce is too runny and it needs cheese. This is too much like a white sauce.
  • Kufanele: Too many breadcrumbs, runny and smells like flour. Chicken cooked properly and broccoli a tad overcooked.

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