Chicken Breast with Cracked Pepper Chevre & Meyer Lemon SauceDecember 28, 2011
What is it about being on vacation–you are doing quite a bit of nothing, and yet you are still starved when dinner rolls around? This was the case last night for us. I had picked up a bag of Meyer lemons at the market, and was wanting to incorporate them somehow into dinner. I have also been on a chevre kick lately, so I thought that would work nicely into the meal, as well. Here is what I came up with.
You will want bone in, and skin on your chicken breast for this recipe. The bone in the chicken really helps to keep the meat moist, and I just like the earthiness of the bone as part of this dish. Take plain chevre and add a good amount of freshly cracked black pepper to it. Working carefully with the chicken skin, slip your finger under the skin and create a pocket. Insert the peppered chevre in that pocket. Place the chicken in a skillet that can work in the oven as well as the stovetop. Lather the chicken breasts with a healthy amount of extra virgin olive oil. Salt and pepper liberally. Place the skillet with the chicken breasts into a pre-heated 400 degree oven. Depending on the size of the breast, it will take 35 to 45 minutes to cook. A few minutes before they are done, turn the broiler on. Place them under the broiler for the last 5 minutes of cooking. This will also make the skin a beautiful golden brown and do great things to the chevre that is now oozing out from under the skin.
While the chicken is finishing up, juice 3 Meyer lemons. This juice, along with some of the pan drippings will help create the sauce. Once the chicken is done, carefully take the skillet out of the oven and place on a burner on the stovetop. Take the chicken out and place on a plate to rest, and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm while you make the sauce.
I can not stress the importance here of being careful as the skillet and the handle are still really hot. Add the Meyer lemon juice to the skillet. The burner should be on medium to medium high. Take a whisk and try and get up any bits that have formed from the cooking of the chicken. These little bits are culinary gold. Those, along with the chicken fat, olive oil and salt and pepper that have dripped off the chicken in the cooking process, along with the lemon juice, are going to create an out of this world sauce. Once the liquid has reduced by half and thickened, the sauce is done.
I take a sharp knife and create a slit in the middle of the chicken breast, and spoon in the sauce. It creates a bit of a well, and moistens the chicken even further. This also helps to keep the skin nice and brown, instead of pouring it over the entire breast and saturating the skin. I had not done this step yet when I took the above photo. The sauce is great spooned over rice or mashed potatoes too.