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Chicken Breasts with Rosemary, Lemon and Pine Nuts

Ingredients

Serves 4

4 chicken supremes (breast with wingbone attached
1 rosemary sprig
½ lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
30g raisins
75ml dry white wine or verjuice
30g pine nuts
50g butter
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Place the chicken supremes in a large bowl.
  2. Strip the rosemary leaves from the stalk and finely chop; you will need about 1 tsp. Finely grate the zest from the lemon. Combine half the rosemary and lemon zest with the olive oil in a small bowl, then pour over the chicken breasts and turn to coat them. Leave to marinate in the fridge for 2–3 hours, or overnight.
  3. Soak the raisins in the wine for 2–3 hours, or overnight.
  4. Heat the oven to 180ºC/gas mark 4. Put the pine nuts on a baking tray and toast in the oven for 10 minutes. Tip onto a plate and set aside. Lower the oven setting to 120°C/gas mark ½.
  5. Heat a large, non-stick frying pan over a low to medium heat. Wipe the marinade from the chicken, season with a little salt and place skin side down in the frying pan. Allow the fat beneath the skin to render and the skin to become golden and crisp. This can take up to 10 minutes and must be done over a low heat or the skin will scorch. Season the chicken on the non-skin side as it browns.
  6. Once the skin is crisp and golden, turn the chicken over and continue cooking until done. The time will depend on how long it has taken for the fat to render and the skin to become golden. Check the chicken is cooked by removing the pieces to a white plate and cutting down to the bone on the non-skin side; the juices should run clear.
  7. Remove the chicken to a plate and keep warm in the low oven. Drain the raisins, reserving the wine.
  8. Pour off any excess oil from the pan and wipe with kitchen paper if there is any burnt residue. Add the butter and cook it to the beurre noisette stage, then add the reserved wine. Add the raisins, pine nuts and remaining rosemary and lemon zest. Taste, season and adjust the acidity balance with a little lemon juice if necessary.
  9. Carve the chicken breasts into 2 or 3 slices, cutting them on the diagonal, place on serving plates and pour a little of the sauce around the chicken.

Variations

Chicken breasts with marjoram and pine nuts Replace the rosemary and lemon with ½ tbsp coarsely chopped marjoram: use half for marinating the chicken and half for the sauce. Oregano can be used in place of marjoram.

Chicken breasts with basil, olives and cherry tomatoes Omit the pine nuts, rosemary, lemon, raisins, wine and butter. Marinate the chicken in the olive oil with a few bruised basil stalks. For the sauce, once the chicken is cooked, wipe out the pan and add 75ml olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper, adding more vinegar or oil if required to balance the flavour. Add 50g quartered pitted black olives and a handful of quartered cherry or baby plum tomatoes. Warm the sauce through and add a small handful of torn basil leaves.