You just never know what kind of mood you are going to be in when evening time comes. I hate to plan what I am going to cook for that very reason. My mood, or, the atmosphere in the house affects what kind of food gets cooked. I worked all day and enjoyed my time throughly. When I got together with everybody, it seemed they all had a good day too! Dinner was made in the fun spirit of adventure and it was a wonderful Saturday evening with my delicious family.
I had plenty of everything to make dinner, except meat, so off we went to the market to get some. I ended up with chicken breast and thighs and was humming and hawing about what to do with them when the suggestion of bacon was made? I was thinking about trying to use up some of my sage and basil from the garden and in an instant I envisioned them clinging to the chicken with the help of a bacon wrapping.
The process was simple. Lay some basil leaves on the chicken and tie it all together with bacon, pop it in the oven and let the heat do the rest! I snipped basil and sage leaves from the garden along with a few stalks of parsley and got to work. I had two scapes left from my CSA box (see top right og my blog for more information on what I am talking about!), 8 small white turnips and the same amount of breakfast radishes. Somehow I was going to make all of these flavors work together.
I completely ignored the fact that it was a warm summer day and somehow pulled off making a very Summer-y dish using a Winter-y style approach. And I know, some of you may be mystified (at least my friend Martha) at my braising radishes in the oven along with turnips, but, have you ever actually tasted one?? They are more than delicious. In fact, the whole dinner sang madly because of my culinary ignorance! The bacon and basil combination surrounding the chicken was obviously fool-proof (wrap anything in bacon and it gets my attention), but, paired with the delicate broth and sweet root vegetable morsels I had myself a dinner that will be going into my Top Ten Chicken Dinner Recipes so far!
You will need: 6 boneless chicken breasts OR 3 breasts and 3 boneless chicken thighs, 2 scapes, sliced into 1/2″ pieces OR 4 garlic cloves, cut in half, 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, 30 basil leaves or 15 basil and 15 sage leaves (for variety), 1lb good quality sliced bacon, 8 baby white turnips, quartered (optional), 8 radishes, halved (optional), 1/2 cup chicken stock, 1 cup water, coarse sea-salt, freshly ground black pepper, 2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil. Serve with: cooked rice, pasta or a green salad.
Preheat oven 425*
1 – Scatter scapes (or garlic) and parsley leaves into bottom of big saute pan or roasting pan.
2 – Season chicken with salt and pepper and lay on a board. Place basil leaves (or sage leaves) on top of chicken breast (and/or thighs) and wrap in bacon. Place on top of parsley and scapes (or garlic)
*If serving with rice: cook rice 1/2 way through roasting time and keep warm. If serving with pasta: put pasta water on to boil 10 minutes before the chicken is cooked.
3 – Add the vegetables if you are using, 1/2 cup of water and stock. Grind some pepper over everything and drizzle the olive oil. Place in oven for 35 minutes. Take out of oven and add another 1/2 cup of water and baste chicken and vegetables. Turn heat down to 350* and continue to roast for another 20 minutes.
4 – Remove from oven and transfer chicken to a plate and tent with foil for 5 minutes. While chicken is resting place pan with juices and vegetables on low heat on stove-top.
To serve: slice chicken and serve with rice, vegetables and pan juices.
I had my chicken with some lovely lettuce from a local farm (Good Work Farm) and a simple dressing.
Lettuce and Dressing Recipe.
You will Need: I head of lettuce (butter, boston, or some other delicate leafy lettuce of your choice). 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 1/2 tbs balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp strong mustard, 1 tsp honey, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Wash and dry leaves and leave them whole. Put rest of ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together until it emulsifies a little. Taste and add more balsamic, salt and pepper according to your taste. Toss with the lettuce and serve.