Sunday, March 1, 2009

Roast Chicken Breasts with Garbanzo Ragout and Gremolata

We had my parents over for dinner tonight. Whenever they come over, I like to try something new. And since it's Sunday, I had a lot of time to spend in the kitchen.

Earlier in the day I made this roasted tomato soup that we enjoyed before dinner. I found the recipe for our main course, Roasted Chicken with Garbanzo Ragout and Gremolata, on my favorite web site for recipes, Epicurious.

There isn't anything difficult about this recipe, but there are a lot of things to prep. I took advantage of the "can be made up to 4 hours in advance" notes in the recipes and did all the prep I could in the afternoon.


For the Garbanzo Ragout

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion (about 8 ounces), chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups (or more) low-salt chicken broth
  • 1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 tablespoons Creole mustard (I couldn't find this so used a recommended substitution, coarse ground Dijon mustard)
  • 2 2x3-inch pieces beef jerky
  • 2 fresh thyme sprigs (thyme isn't Jon's favorite flavor so I used just a pinch of dried thyme)

For the Gremolata

(Note, I did not follow the recipe for the gremolata; see the above link for the original recipe. Instead, I made a traditional gremolata based on what I had seen on episodes of Top Chef).

  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 3 cloves garlic, pressed

For the Chicken

  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese (we are not Feta fans so I used Parmesan cheese that I chopped into tiny pieces)
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from crustless French bread (I used storebought breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil (I used olive oil)
  • 4 6- to 8-ounce skinless boneless chicken breast halves


For ragout

  • Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Add onion and garlic and sauté until beginning to brown, about 8 minutes.
  • Add 2 cups broth and remaining ingredients. Bring to boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer until thickened and flavors develop, adding more broth by tablespoonfuls if too dry, about 25 minutes. Remove jerky. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

For gremolata

Mix all ingredients in small bowl. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

For chicken

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Using on/off turns, blend feta (Parmesan), breadcrumbs, olive oil, and lemon juice in processor until smooth. (Can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)
  • Heat canola oil (olive oil) in heavy ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Add chicken to skillet and cook until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Remove pan from heat.
  • Divide breadcrumb mixture among chicken breasts, spreading to cover top of chicken.
  • Transfer pan to oven and roast until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, rewarm ragout. Divide among 4 shallow bowls. Top each with chicken breast.
  • Sprinkle gremolata over.

I served the chicken with sauteed spinach and garlic smashed potatoes.

I loved every single thing about this! The garbanzo ragout was so smoky and flavorful. The gremolata was a light and fresh topping, and the bread crumb mixture was so good, and totally not what I expected! Look how it crisped up on the chicken:

I would definitely make this one again, and think it is a meal that could be added to a dinner party menu to impress your guests.

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  1. Oh wow... I'm totally intimidated by this recipe but it looks so delicious!

  2. Molly Jean - try it!!! Everything is really easy, but it takes some time to pull it all together. I bet you could do it...

  3. On a scale of 1 to 10, everything tonight was an 11, Thanks for letting us once again, be a part of your test kitchen......

    Love, Mom and Dad

  4. Mary Ellen, this looks so yummy!

  5. Wow that looks fantastic and very impressive!!!

  6. This looks really good! I will have to try it soon!

  7. There's nothing like a roast chicken. So comforting, tasty and endlessly versatile. This evening I just roasted it by stuffing a lemon in the cavity, and olive oil, salt and pepper on the skin. It has been too warm for a full roast today so I did it with a salad of parma ham, olives, mixed tomatoes (fresh and sun dried) and anchovies.