About Great Food
 

Gary Rhodes

Roast Chicken and Bacon Flavored With Tarragon, Garlic and Lemon

The title "roast chicken" may be a little deceptive when in fact all it's going to be is a roast chicken leg! That's one of the features of this dish that makes it so exciting. Once you've tried it, you'll be amazed at just how good a roasted chicken leg can be. For this recipe, I'm boning out the thigh bone, which will leave me space to fill with the flavored tarragon butter. This melts as the chicken roasts and leaves a wonderful flavor in the chicken.

Serves 4

4 chicken legs
12-16 strips of bacon
Vegetable oil

For the Sauce:
Pat of butter
onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 bay leaf
2 glasses white wine
The juice of 1 or 2 lemons
1 cups chicken stock
2/3 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper

For the Butter:
6 tablespoons butter, softened
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots or onions
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F. To make the sauce, melt the butter and add the onion, crushed garlic and bay leaf. Cook without coloring for 3-4 minutes. Add the white wine and reduce until almost dry. Add the juice of 1 lemon and reduce by half. Add the chicken stock and reduce by two-thirds. Pour on the heavy cream and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently for 10-15 minutes. Strain through a sieve and season with salt and pepper. To make the sauce fuller and sharper, add another squeeze or two of a second lemon. The sauce is now ready.

For the chicken, first remove the bone from the thigh part of each leg. Cut either side of the bone and then cut around the knuckle showing at the top of the thigh. Scrape down the bone to the joint connecting the thigh with the drumstick. Now simply break or cut at the knuckle. This will leave you with a single 1 - 2 inch bone in the drumstick. Skin the legs.

For the butter, mix together the softened butter, tarragon, garlic, shallots or onions, lemon zest and seasoning. Divide the flavored butter between the four legs, filling the empty thigh. Now wrap the chicken legs in the bacon. Start by placing a strip of bacon on the drumstick end of the leg. Fold the strip round and round the leg, slightly overlapping as you do to keep the bacon in place. Continue covering the leg with the strips, starting where the last strip finished. You will need 3-4 strips to cover each leg. Once completely covered, pierce with a toothpick to hold the bacon in place.

Warm a roasting tray on medium heat with a drizzle of vegetable oil. Add the legs to the pan, cooking and browning the bacon all the way around until crisp. This is best achieved by browning over a medium heat. Place the chicken legs in the oven and roast for 15-20 minutes. During this time, the bacon will become even more golden and crisp. Leave to rest for 5-6 minutes before carving.

To serve, carve three slices through the thigh part of the cut and sit the slices, overlapping, on the plates. The drumstick can be presented standing up, revealing its bone behind the slices. To finish, just pour some of the cream sauce around.

 

 


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