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Sunday, February 6, 2011

Bacony Buttery Roasted Chicken Breast with Mushroom Sauce

I wasn't sure what to call this. I wanted to make sure that the bacon was featured in the title because it's the key to this melt in your mouth dish. This certainly isn't the healthiest of meals but we need a good dose of fat once and a while. And I know that many folks don't get too jazzed up about chicken but I've made this twice now, once for Paddy and me, and once for friends, and it was unreal. DO NOT skip the brine and DO buy breasts WITH skin. You need both to achieve the juicy goodness.

It's best served with the Wilted Romaine Salad with'll need the bacon fat for your chicken and the salad dressing and they go really well together.

4 cups very cold water
1 lemon quartered and juiced
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup salt
4-6 slices of bacon
4 boneless chicken breasts - skin ON
6 TB softened butter
8 sage leaves
1/2 onion, chopped
8 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 TB flour
salt and pepper
olive oil

1. Combine the water, lemon, sugar and 1 cup salt in a large bowl. Add the chicken and let sit for at least 30 minutes, 1 hr is better (add a few ice cubes if you brine for an hour).

2. Heat the oven to 425 with a cookie sheet inside. Cook the bacon in a large skillet until brown and crispy. Freeze for another use, save for breakfast tomorrow or use for Wilted Romaine Salad.

3. Pour most of the bacon grease into a container but leave a hefty coating in the pan. If your 4 breasts won't fit into the one pan, pour enough into a second pan as well. Also reserve 2-3 TB of bacon fat for the salad dressing. Set pan(s) aside.

4. Remove chicken from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Lightly spread the softened butter around each breast and place two sage leaves under the skin of each.

5. Heat the pan(s) over medium-high heat until bacon fat is nice and hot. Add the chicken breasts to the pan, skin side DOWN. Cook about 5 minutes or until the skin is crispy and brown.

6. Transfer the chicken breasts to the cookie sheet in the oven, skin side UP and roast for about 25 minutes.

7. While the chicken cooks and using one of the pans that the chicken fried in, reduce to medium heat. Add 2 TB of butter and a dash of olive oil. Add onions, mushrooms and cayenne pepper. Saute until onions are soft and mushrooms tender.

8. Turn heat up to medium-high and add wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan and reduce wine until almost evaporated.

9. Add flour and mix well, letting the flour cook for a minute.

10. Add chicken broth and mix well. Let bubble for a few minutes or until the sauce thickens.

10. Remove chicken from oven and serve with a hefty portion of sauce on top.

Serve salad on the side.

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