I made this for my dinner a few weeks ago, I didn’t intend for it to be photographed and put up here, but it looked so good that I had to take a few snaps of it. It’s a really nice way to prepare chicken, and pretty easy too. I like chicken legs because they have so much more flavour than the breast meat, and by removing the bones and sinew they become an effortless pleasure to eat. The great thing about this dish is when you slice the chicken leg you see the beautiful glistening cross-section of the muscle, outlined by the crispy pancetta. I served it with sautéed button mushrooms, courgettes and a white wine cream sauce, generously finished with chopped parsley and a handful of baby spinach gently wilted through the sauce at the end. I love cooking vegetables and sauce together like this, in a kind of ragout…I advise a generous heap to present your chicken on, and have it with a salad and some nice white wine.
- 4 chicken thighs
- 12 rashers thinly sliced pancetta
- 400 g button mushrooms
- 75 g baby spinach
- 2 large courgettes
- 1 handful flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 250 ml white wine
- 300 ml whipping cream
- 2 medium shallots
- 1 sprig rosemary, leaves picked
- vegetable oil, for frying
- sea salt and cracked black pepper
Remove the skin from the chicken thighs, and carefully remove the bone and gristly bits. Lay out the pancetta 3 rashers at a time on a board, and lay the chicken on top. Season with salt and pepper, then roll them up so the chicken is wrapped in the pancetta. Place in the fridge.
Heat the oven to 180C. Quarter the mushrooms, then sauté in in vegetable oil in a hot pan, in small batches, until caramelised and golden. Finely chop the shallots and garlic, and add to the same pan you cooked the mushrooms in. Sweat until soft, about 10 minutes. While the shallots are cooking, get a frying pan (with a metal handle as it is going into the oven) and place it on the heat. When it's nice and hot, fry the wrapped chicken thighs until the pancetta is crispy all around, then place in the oven for about 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked. Check by inserting a skewer into the middle and touching it on your lip to see if it's hot.
In a small frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and fry the picked rosemary until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
Add the white wine to the shallots, and reduce until dry. Add the cream and the mushrooms, and reduce gently until the sauce is a nice thick consistency. Cut the courgettes into dice and simmer in the sauce until just cooked, then add the parsley and the spinach. Stir briefly, and serve. Slice each thigh into 3 pieces and serve.