Spring Chicken

It that time again… transition time. Winter has become Spring and there’s no better, and no easier, way to celebrate than with this effortlessly elegant family style dinner.

Spring Chicken Chasseur

Otherwise known as the “Hunter Style” chicken, my Chicken Chasseur is the Single- Skillet-Sunday-Supper, that’s fast, fresh, and incredibly flavorful.

Combine Free Range organic chicken legs, crispy croutons, garlic, thyme and prosciutto for a one pan meal that will sizzle and sing with the sounds and smells of the start of spring!

I make this meal using gluten free bread, and since it is already dairy and sugar free it fits seamlessly into any allergen free diet. From start to finish you’ll have dinner done in less than hour, so it truly is the best way to end the weekend and begin the month. Try it tonight!

Spring Chicken Chasseur
Serves 4

4 free range organic chicken legs
1 head garlic
1 banana shallot (or 2 small shallots), sliced
1 large leek, white and light green parts, sliced
6-8 slices Prosciutto
1 meyer lemon
5-6 slices Gluten Free bread (or any sliced bread you have on hand really)
1/3 cup of dry white wine
1/2 bunch thyme, leaves + a few springs reserved whole

Dressing/Spread Marinade
3/4 tsp whole grain mustard
1-2 cloves minced garlic or roasted garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 meyer lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon honey
fresh cracked pepper
sea salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 F
2. Place one head of garlic in a piece of aluminum foil with a dash of olive oil, salt and pepper. Close completely and place on the top rack of the oven for 30-40 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, rinse chicken legs and dry completely with paper towel. Place them in one layer on a plate and leave in the fridge uncovered for at least 30 minutes to dry out the skin (this will help to insure that the skin crisps when roasting).
3. Prep the leeks and shallots and slice the bread slices into 6 squares per slice to create a thin rustic crouton.

4. Make the dressing using either 2 cloves of the roasted garlic, or fresh garlic (depending on the time you have) Whisk all the ingredients together and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Now this “dressing” can be used as a rub underneath the skin of the chicken, a marinade for the chicken legs (marinade covered in the fridge for 20-30 minutes at this point) or as a dressing to pour over the cooked chicken dish when plated. I also use this dressing when I turn this dish into a hearty chicken salad lunch: once roasted, simply cut all the meat from the chicken legs, break up the prosciutto and throw the chicken, croutons, prosciutto, and aromatics over a bed of fresh bibb lettuces, add the dressing and it’s a healthier, fresher, and more fun take on the classic caesar salad!

5. Take out your skillet and brush the bottom with a light layer of oil. add the leeks and shallots and soften them for a few minutes over medium/high heat. Turn off the heat, season the layer of aromatics, and carefully add all the bread cubes, tossing them with the shallots and leeks. Arrange in a single layer. Slice the meyer lemon in half and wedges the lemon halves sliced face down in the skillet to roast.

6. Remove the chicken legs from the fridge. If marinaded, shake off as best you can to dry it out a bit, otherwise generously season both sides of the legs, and push the dressing spread underneath the skin, in between the skin and meat on one side. Place the chicken legs in one layer on top of the bread cubes and sprinkle with thyme leaves and sprigs.

7. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes. Pull the skillet out and carefully add a dash or two of white wine to deglaze the bottom of the pan, but not too much wine so that the bread stays crispy and no soggy. Place the chicken back in the oven.

Raise the heat to 420 F and add the prosciutto slices on top and around the chicken roast for another 15 minutes or until the chicken skin is crispy and the juices run clear. You should have crispy bread and prosciutto and moist chicken.

8. Serve direct to the table placing the hot skillet on a bright colored and rustic cloth accompanied by a crispy dry glass of white wine. Try Riesling, Chablis, or an oaky chardonnay.

Happy Spring,

Darcy Jones

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