Chicken breast with a creamy leek, white wine and smoked pancetta sauce with fondant potatoes
This is a great dish for the autumn months with the richness of the creamy sauce and earthy flavor of the leeks. Fondant potatoes make an excellent accompaniment to this dish, they are most definitely my favorite type of potatoes; because they are braised in chicken stock and butter, they are like a combination of boiled potatoes and roasted potatoes, only the potatoes soak up the stock giving them a moist flavorful center with a buttery crispy exterior
Yield (serves): 4
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
4 Large chicken breast
1 cup (200 g) pancetta lardons (or diced bacon)
3 cloves garlic
½ cup (120 ml) white wine
2 tablespoons (25 g) unsalted butter
¼ cup (30 g) white flour
¾ cup (200 ml) chicken stock
1 ¼ cups (300 ml) heavy/double cream
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the fondant potatoes
1 ½ pounds (675 g) potatoes (russet or maris piper preferred)
½ stick (55 g) unsalted butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 ¾ cups (420 ml) chicken or vegetable stock
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Pre heat the oven to 190°c/375F
2. Firstly make the fondant potatoes, begin by peeling the potatoes and cutting them in half, the idea is to have two pieces that will stand up in a pan. Once you have cut the potatoes in half cut the top off of each half so that you are left with a cylinder shape which is round with a flat bottom and flat top. Try to make all of the cuts as similar in size as possible
3. Season the potatoes with freshly ground black pepper
4. In a large oven proof sauté pan, melt the butter and olive over a low heat, add the potatoes and cook each side slowly, shaking the pan and stirring regularly until they are golden brown. This will take 15-20 minutes.
5. Add the hot chicken stock, rosemary and fresh thyme and bring to the boil, remove the pan from the stove and place into the oven to continue cooking for 35-40 minutes
6. During the cooking, baste the potatoes with the buttery stock mixture several times, when ready the potatoes should be golden brown and slightly crispy on top whist moist on the sides and most of the stock should have evaporated
7. Meanwhile, trim your chicken breasts, season well and then pan fry on a high heat on each side for a minute or so until golden brown, remove from the pan and place into a baking dish, cover with foil and continue to cook in the oven for 10 minutes, remove and leave to cool.
8. gently fry the diced pancetta in a heavy bottomed pan until crispy and then add the garlic, chopped thyme, sliced leeks and wine and continue to cook gently until the leeks are tender and the wine has reduced by half. Tip the mixture into a bowl and set to one side
9. In the same pan melt the butter and add in the flour, cook on a low heat for a minute then begin to slowly add chicken stock a bit add a time, stirring well in between additions to avoid lumps.
10. Add the cream and continue to stir the mixture until it starts to simmer, add the pancetta and leek mix
11. Cut the cooked chicken breast into generous sized chunks and stir into the sauce to heat through. Season well.
12. Serve the chicken immediately with the fondant potatoes and steamed sugar snap peas or snow peas.
If you can’t get hold of pancetta, you can also use diced smoked bacon for the sauce
If you don’t want to wait for the fondant potatoes to cook, you could alternatively serve this dish with buttered new potatoes.
Old World: Maccon, Oaky Chablis, White Hermitage.
New World: American Chardonnay, blends of white grapes Viognier-Marsanne.