Never eat a dry chicken breast again. Though it may be one of the trickier proteins to master, Chef Gordon Ramsay’s tips for working with chicken make this recipe a dream. Essences of thyme, rosemary, and parsley infuse roasted root vegetables that cook themselves. Gordon shows how the brown bits left in your chicken pan provide the perfect base for a delicious sauce.
*Chef Ramsay notes that while you use olive oil when cooking fish, you use grapeseed oil for chicken and meat, because it has a higher burn point.
Chicken breast is one of the most difficult cuts of chicken to get right, because it often goes dry. Chef Ramsay’s advice for making moist chicken breast every time? Never cook it cold. Always let it come to room temperature first.
With that that in mind, remove chicken from the refrigerator and allow it to come to room temperature for at least three minutes. Season well with salt and pepper and let it rest.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F°. Place a large skillet over high heat and add grapeseed oil. Add sprigs of thyme and smashed whole garlic cloves to the plate with the chicken.
When the oil in the pan is hot, lay the chicken skin-side down into the pan. Test the pan for heat first by lightly touching the chicken down—if you hear it sizzle, it’s ready. Don’t add the chicken to the pan until it’s sizzling hot. Dump the garlic and thyme on top of the chicken in the pan and lower the heat to medium. Don’t move the chicken until skin releases and browns on the edges, about 4 minutes. To sear the sides, tilt the chicken to the edge of the pan, about 10 seconds per side.
Flip the chicken and add 6 tablespoons butter. As the butter melts, carefully and continuously spoon it over the chicken, basting the skin until golden, about 3 minutes. Flip the chicken back over so that the skin side is down again, and baste that side of the chicken.
Then, with the chicken skin-side down, put the entire pan into the oven for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown and juices run clear. Remove from oven and transfer the chicken to a plate to rest. Drain the excess fat from the pan to a small bowl.
Place the skillet back over medium heat on the stove top. Add shallots and remaining 2 tablespoons butter. Transfer garlic and thyme back into pan. Stirring frequently, continue to cook until shallots caramelize, about 4 minutes. Lower the heat and carefully pour brandy or splash of apple juice into the pan. If using brandy, be cautious of the flambé caused by the alcohol burning off. Scrape the bottom of the pan clean. Add demi-glace, stir, and season with salt and pepper. Let the sauce cook a few minutes, then pass through a strainer into a small sauce pot. Push the shallots and garlic into the strainer. Place back over heat and cook until reduced, about 5 minutes.
Make sure your hands are thoroughly washed with warm, soapy water before and after handling raw chicken. It’s also crucial that you wash knives and cutting boards after they have been in contact with raw chicken. Practicing good hygiene in the kitchen will reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.
Wash all vegetables thoroughly and dry. Form a bed of rosemary, thyme and parsley in a roasting pan. Lay the vegetables on top, season with salt and seal tightly with aluminum foil, shiny side up. Place roasting pan over medium heat on the stove top. Let the vegetables heat up, about 1 minute, until you hear crackling, then transfer pan to oven. Cook the vegetables until they are knife-tender, 30 to 40 minutes depending on size.
Halve the cooked vegetables and arrange on plates. Separate the chicken tender from each breast and slice breasts, then transfer all chicken pieces to plates. Drizzle sauce around chicken, careful not to moisten crispy skin. Grate truffle over the plates, if using.