Recipe Corner: Herbs de Provence Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Thyme Bechamel Sauce

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Learn how to make a hearty roasted chicken dish with a complimentary sauce littered with notes of lemon and thyme.

Ingredients

For the chicken

2 chicken breasts

4 T olive oil

1 T herbs de provence

¾ t kosher salt

½ t fresh ground pepper

For the sauce

1 c heavy cream

¼ c chardonnay

1 shallot, minced

4 T butter

2 T parmesan cheese

1 T fresh lemon juice

2 t lemon zest

½ T fresh thyme

¾ t herbs de provence

¼ t crushed red pepper

pinch kosher salt

cooked penne pasta

 

Directions

  1. Mise en place all ingredients. Heat oven to 400℉. Prepare chicken – lightly pound room temperature chicken breast. Mix together herbs and olive oil; massage into surface of the chicken – both the top and the bottom. Allow to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes. Place on baking sheet, roast for 25-30 minutes, or until internal temperature reads 165℉ when placed in thickest part of the chicken. Allow to rest 10-15 minutes before serving; cut against the grain.
  2. Prepare the sauce: melt butter over medium-low heat, and stir in shallots. Saute until the shallot is translucent (Sweat). Add in crushed red pepper and herbs de provence, and bloom until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Pour in wine, and allow to reduce over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Once reduced, stir in heavy cream. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then back down over low heat. Add in lemon, salt and fresh thyme. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring often. Taste, and re season. Serve over penne with chicken and a sprig of fresh thyme.

 

Notes

  • Ensure chicken is thoroughly cooked by checking the temperature with a stemmed thermometer in 2 locations in the thickest part of the chicken breasts. It should read 165℉ for 15 seconds.
  • Rest chicken before serving to allow juices to settle; cut against the grain for moist, tender slices.
  • Kosher salt is the best option for working with meats – hence the name. Its jagged structure will adhere easily to the meat, as opposed to the cube-shape of table/iodized salt, or the pyramid shape of fleur de sel (a finishing salt).
  • Bloom herbs in butter/oil with shallot to release maximum flavor and infuse butter.
  • For more of a kick, increase the amount of crushed red pepper flakes. When bloomed, certain kinds of crushed red pepper can be up to 45,000 Scoville units.
  • The sauce will appear very thin until the end, just keep heating it steadily. However, if it simply does not thicken, you can add a slurry, and bring it up to a simmer to activate it. Your product should be a whitish sauce with medium viscosity.
  • Add a little grated parmesan cheese or sour cream to the sauce for extra flavor, if you like. Keep in mind that the parmesan cheese will increase the amount of salt by weight, so if you are planning to add parmesan cheese, consequentially add less salt. (Try 2-3 T parmesan cheese)
  • Always taste and re-season your sauce to make sure your end result is a product seasoned to YOUR taste!