Roast Chicken Breasts

Buy the best chicken you can find. Free range is best, but grain fed is usually better than the cottonwool tasteless variety standard to most supermarkets. Look for poultry that has been raised humanely; this is not only the right thing to do, but usually the bird will taste better. In our part of Canada, Blue Goose is a good brand to choose.

Try to find a reasonably lean bacon, and as with the chicken look for butchers that have acted humanely in procuring their product. In Quebec and the Maritimes Le Breton is a name to look out for.

Proscuittio may be used instead of bacon, but it is not recommended. When roasted, you discover just how much salt is used in the curing process, and the results are not only bad for one's health but the dish can easily turn out badly.

It is important when roasting meat not to add any liquid, unless it is done in sufficient quantity to change the technique from roasting to braising. Small amounts of liquid will burn, spoiling the drippings essential to making a good gravy

This recipe provides three to four portions.

Ingredients

Two large skinless chicken breasts

Thyme or Rosemary

Pepper and salt

2 or 3 rashers of bacon per breast

1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil

Vegetable stock mixed with a little dry Vermouth

A slurry, just enough to sightly thicken the gravy

A mixture winter vegetables, diced small - carrots, parsnips, turnips

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Equipment

Medium size Le Creuset (or equivalent) cast iron pot

Instant meat thermometer

Basting bulb

Accurate kitchen timer

Hot plate to hold breasts while finishing the gravy

Hot plates to serve the chicken

Hot bowl with a little warmed olive oil to serve the winter vegetables

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Time required

Preparation: 20 minutes; 30 if the vegetables have not already been washed and diced

Cooking: 60 minutes

Finishing and assembly: 10 minutes

Total time to prepare and serve: 1 hour, 40 minutes



Technique

Pre-heat oven to 350F convection

Using a prep plate, season the chicken with Thyme or Rosemary, and salt and pepper

Wrap the bacon around the breasts

Coat the wrapped breasts with the grapeseed oil

Place the breasts in the pot, sliding them around to ensure the bottom of the pot is coated with a little oil

Bake in oven for 1 hour, or until the thermometer reads 180F, basting occasionally

When done, the bacon should be cooked through and somewhat crisp, but not burnt

Transfer the breasts to a hot plate and hold in warming draw

Pour off any fat remaining in the pot

Place pot under medium heat and add about ½ a cup of vegetable stock/Vermouth, scraping the bottom and sides of pot

Add a slurry to make a light gravy

Meanwhile, steam the winter vegetables according to the master recipe. Some frozen baby peas may be added towards the end of the steaming

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Serving Suggestions

Slice the chicken with a sharp knife that will ensure the bacon does not disintegrate

Portion the chicken among the plates and dress with a little of the sauce and some chopped parsley

Pass the vegetables in the serving bowl to ensure they are hot