Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Roasted Lavender Chicken

This recipe comes from "The Lavender Cookbook", which I discovered on a recent trip to San Antonio. We were there with friends of ours and were doing a tour of Hill Country wineries, and towards the end of the afternoon we were at Becker Vineyards (who have provided wines for several state dinners at the White House) when I saw this cookbook. I picked up a copy for my sister, who was dog-sitting for us, plus some organic lavender for us both. Later that evening, while flipping thru the book, I lamented that I hadn't picked up a copy for myself. So Gin, bless her, ordered a copy for me. She's also the person responsible for the Wine Lover's Cookbook, while Beth got me several more Riedel Vinum glasses. I think they conspired together. ;)

Either way, this was a recipe from The Lavender Cookbook by Sharon Shipley. I made a few changes, and am printing the recipe as I cooked it (with notations where the cookbook differed drastically). Cooking with lavender is complicated and, when overdone, can result in a dish tasting soapy or perfume-y, neither of which are desired. So I err on the side of caution when using lavender in my cooking.

Roasted Lavender Chicken with Roasted Shallots and Carrots
3/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 cup honey (cookbook says you can use lavender honey)
1/4 cup grated lemon zest (skipped)
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp dried culinary lavender buds, finely ground
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (recipe calls for breasts with skin)

sea salt
2 lbs baby carrots
1/2 lbs shallots, peeled and cut in half
2 garlic heads, separated into cloves and peeled
1 tbsp fresh thyme leacves
1 tsp honey (recipe calls for lavender honey)
1 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp Glace de Poulet Gold (optional)
Fresh lavender sprigs (optional)

To make the chicken: In a large bowl, mix the wine, lemon zest, honey, mustard, oil, pepper, lemon juice, salt and lavender. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.

To make the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 350*F.

Bring about a half bot of water to boil in a large saucepan. Season with salt and add the carrots. Boil for 5 minutes, then drain. Transfer to a bowl of ice water to cool; drain.

In a large bowl, mix the carrots, shallots, garlic, thyme, and honey. Transfer to a large roasting pan. Remove chicken from the marinade and place on top of the vegetables; discard the remaining marinade.

Mix the broth and glace de poulet (if using). Pour half into the roasting pan. Roast, basting frequently, for 45 minugtes, or until the chicken is no longer pink when tested with a sharp knife and the skin is nicely browned. Add extra stock as necessary while basting. Transfer the chicken to the center of a platter and surround with the vegetables. Garnish with lavender sprigs.

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