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    Friday, December 11, 2009

    Roast Chicken Breasts - Perfect for Christmas Day

    My friend Melinda was looking for a quick and easy dish to contribute to her family's Christmas feast.
    The Seafood option was already taken, so I suggested that she made Roast Stuffed Chicken Breasts.
    These are a favourite of ours and you can prepare earlier and just pop into the oven once they have reached room temperature for about 30 minutes.
    Very Juicy and packed full of flavour
    Because breasts dry out easily, French Roasting is the best way to keep them moist.

    But first lets make the stuffing.
    This is a favourite of our family...My mother would have bacon in it but we have Bacon Unbelievers in our lot. So it's up to you.

    4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
    1 corn cob micro waved 2 minutes, kernels removed

    1 shallot finely chopped (About 2 tablespoons)
    2 tablespoon olive oil
    8-10 sage leaves chopped

    3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
    3 tablespoons parsley finely chopped
    8 dried apricots finely chopped
    1/2 cup dried cranberries finely chopped
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    2 eggs
    1/4 cup chicken stock

    More olive oil

    Gently sauté the shallot in the oil
    Add sage leaves and let cook about a minute
    This develops the flavour.

    Meanwhile toss everything into a big bowl
    Take out the amount you need to stuff your Breasts and with the remainder turn them into Stuffing Balls.

    Form balls with wet hands
    Fry in olive oil till brown...
    These can be served at room temperature.
    If you freeze them in advance.
    Just thaw them and pop into 180C oven for about 5 minutes, to freshen them up.
    Surround your poultry with these little balls.
    They are delicious.

    Now let's stuff the breast
    Please buy Breasts "skin on"
    You can always remove the skin if you are worried about fat. But you need the fat for flavour

    Pat the breast dry and lay skin down on the bench.
    With your knife, cut into the thick pieces of chicken and just stretch it out so that the breast is even,
    Lay filling on the breast
    Roll up and secure either with string or toothpicks.
    Season the skin with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Rub the skin with olive oil

    Now for the roasting.
    Make a bed of vegetable for the chicken to sit on.
    Carrots, onions, parsnips of you wish.
    Cut them into large pieces
    Season them with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    Drizzle them with a little oil

    Sit the stuffed breasts on top of the vege
    Pour over 1 cup hot chicken stock
    Into a 200C oven
    After 10 minutes
    Baste the chicken with the juice in the pan.
    Turn heat down to 190C

    Another 10 minutes, baste again
    If the pan is getting dry add some hot water, we want to keep that steam up and we don't want the vege to dry out,

    Now another 10-15 minutes
    They should be cooked by then.

    Put a skewer in the middle if it is hot to the lip.
    Should be done.Try not to overcook.
    Remove and let rest.
    Meanwhile make the gravy
    Add some water to the vege (not too much) and bring to the boil on top of the stove.
    Taste and see if you need to add anymore seasoning. Adjust if neccesary.

    Strain into pot
    I like my gravy slightly thickened.
    You can do this with a beurre maine
    Equal parts of butter and flour mixed in your hands to a paste.

    Just drop pieces of it till the gravy is thickened to your liking.
    Let it simmer for a few minutes.

    You are ready to roll.
    We had roast potatoes last year with our dinner.
    Half cooked in duck fat and Half in olive oil.
    Both work!
    Can't wait for Christmas Dinner.

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