Roasted Chicken Breasts With Lemon & Basil Sauce
by Lucia Watson, Chef , Lucia’s Restaurant, Minneapolis, Minn.
This straightforward roasted chicken dish is simple but savory, with a gentle wash of lemon and basil added to the delicious flavor of moist, skin-on Smart Chicken breasts.
- 2 Smart Chicken skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, plus a little extra for garnish
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus a little extra for garnish
- A few small, whole fresh basil leaves
- 4 to 6 large cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- About 1/2 cup chicken stock
- Lemon zest for garnish
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Mix the butter, chopped basil, parsley, salt, and pepper together in a small bowl. Gently separate the skin from the flesh of the breasts and rub the butter mixture under the skin. Tuck some of the whole basil leaves under the skin, too. Scatter the unpeeled garlic cloves in the bottom of a heavy roasting pan. Add the lemon juice and just enough chicken stock to cover the bottom of the pan about a 1/4-inch. Then place the chicken, breast-side up, on top of the mixture. Roast in a preheated 400°F oven for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350°F and bake another 20 to 25 minutes, basting occasionally, until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°F. Transfer the chicken to a heated platter and tent with foil.
Pour all the juices and garlic into a blender (the garlic skins will remain whole). Puree the mixture and then strain through a sieve into a medium-size saucepan, pressing the liquid and garlic skins with the back of a spoon. Bring the liquid to a simmer and reduce. It should get thick and glossy. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Just before serving, add more chopped basil, parsley, and lemon zest to the sauce. Spoon over the chicken and serve with a couscous salad or on a bed of pasta.
- Couscous Salad
- 3/4 cup of couscous
- Pinch of salt
- Drizzle of olive oil
- 2/3 cup boiling water
- 2 cups mixed heirloom or cherry tomatoes, cut up
- 1/4 cup sliced red onion
- 1/2 cup mixed herbs, chopped: basil, parsley, oregano, mint
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- Salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup pitted, chopped black olives (optional)
Put the couscous in a bowl with a pinch of salt and a drizzle of olive oil. Pour the boiling water over the couscous, stir, and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let sit for 12 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap, fluff with a fork, and set aside to cool.
Combine the remaining ingredients with the couscous. Add 1/2 cup pitted and chopped black olives if desired. Taste and adjust seasoning and olive as needed.
Pairing: Pinot bianco or Friulano