Herb Roasted Chicken Breast

Whenever I plan to cook chicken breast, I always buy a whole chicken. If you learn to take the breast off the chicken carcass you get extra meals from it. Alternatively, you can purchase chicken breasts already trimmed and ready to cook from your butcher or supermarket.

Wine Recommendation: Our suggestion: a dry Rose from the South of France such as the Roussillon region. See The Mixed Case for details.

Preparation: 15 minutes

Cooking: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Ingredients

Herb Roasted Chicken Breast

  • 2x 2-2.25kg corn fed chicken
  • 10 sage leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp marjoram, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp basil, finely shredded
  • 2 tsp freshly thyme, finely chopped
  • zest of 1/2 of a lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 500ml white wine (optional)
  • maldon salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 tbsp olive oil

Sauteed Spinach

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 400g spinach, trimmed and washed (leave the excess water on the spinach)
  • pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • maldon salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Serve

  • Nettle Gnocchi
  • or boiled new potatoes

Method

  1. Chicken: Preheat an oven to 220°C. Using a sharp knife run it around the wish bone of the chickens, then using your fingers twist it free of the chicken (this is an optional step but it does allow you to cut the chicken breast from the chicken easily and cleanly without leaving lots of meat behind.). Loosen the skin from the breast meat of each chicken carefully with your hands so as not to break the skin. Mix the sage, marjoram, basil, thyme and garlic. Take spoonfuls of the herb mixture and distribute it evenly between the meat and skin over the breasts.
  2. Place the chickens in a roasting tray and season them generously with salt and pepper. Pour the olive oil over the chickens and rub the skin with your hands so that the seasoning and oil coat the chickens. Add the water or wine to the base of the pan. Place the chickens in the centre shelf of the preheated oven.
  3. Leave the chicken to cook for 15-20 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and baste it well adding more water to the pan if it is dry. Reduce the temperature to 180C and return the chicken to the oven. Leave the chicken to cook for a further 1 hour and 15 minutes basting it every 15- 20 minutes adding water to the an if necessary. If the chicken skin is becoming to dark reduce the temperature slightly and cover the skin with foil. The chickens should be crisp and golden brown when ready if it isn't increase the temperature to 220C and cook it for a further 10 minutes. To test if it is ready insert a sharp knife or skewer in the centre of the thigh the juices should run clear if they don't return it to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes until ready. Leave it to stand for 10 minutes before carving. Pour the fat from the pan and keep the roasting juices warm for serving with the chicken (reheat it briefly if necessary).
  4. Spinach: Pour the oil into a large saucepan, wok or pan. Place the pan over a moderate-high heat, when the oil is hot add the garlic and cook it for 1 minute. Add the spinach to the pan and cook it stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes until wilted down. Season the spinach with a little salt and pepper and stir in the nutmeg. Keep the spinach warm until ready to serve.
  5. To Serve: Slice the breasts from the chicken slicing it along the centre bone from the neck end towards the cavity, then carefully pull it away from the carcase (if you are right handed remove the right one first and if your left handed the left breast first). Place the spinach on one side of each plate and the nettle gnocchi on the other side of the plate or simply boiled new potatoes tossed in butter. Slice each chicken breasts into 4-6 pieces and fan each one out on the sauted spinach. Drizzle over a little of the roasting juices. Serve.
* If you would like to have gnocchi but don't have the time to make it simply buy a good quality shop bought one. Boiled or roasted new potatoes also make a good accompaniment to the chicken. The chicken legs can be used later for a salad or try them in a Thai or Satay salad or add shredded chicken to Vietnamese Summer Rolls.