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~ My E-Z "Real" Roasted Chicken Breasts & Gravy ~

IMG_2352Besides trying to work through three uninspiring days of Central Pennsylvania's famous drizzle and overcast gloom, on Tuesday night around 9:00 PM, I found myself captivated by the Chilean miners' rescue coverage on CNN.   First I watched the first miner emerge, then the second, who presented rocks to his country's president Pinera and lead the crowd of onlookers in a cheer.  I went to bed with the TV on and kept it on all night.  That tell-all, simple-looking, "wheel & cable", turning counter-clockwise when sending the rescue capsule 1/2 mile down into the mine, then turning clockwise when coming up from the mine with a rescued miner in it, had me mesmerized.  I guess I have a better body clock than I thought because I managed to take cat naps in between rescues, waking up every 50 minutes or so to watch each miner reunite with his family.  Wednesday (yesterday) was more of the same.  I was semi-exhausted, but nonetheless could not take my eyes off the televisions, which were all tuned into CNN.  I am proud to say I saw all 33 men, plus 6 rescuers returned safely to their loved ones!

Real Roasted Chicken Breasts #1 (Intro Picture)About 2:00 PM yesterday it was time to plan dinner.  As I said, it was raining, I was tired, and I did not want to put any time or energy into a meal that would distract me from the television.  I did not want takeout pizza either.  I wanted real comfort food.  Something I could take a big plate of into the family room, sit down on the floor and slowly eat in front of the TV!

There was only one thing that could satisfy me:  My E-Z "Real" Roasted Chicken Breasts & Gravy!  In 5 minutes the chicken was ready to go into the oven to roast for exactly 1 1/2 hours, making it easy for me to watch TV.   During the last 30 minutes of the chicken roasting time, I cooked some rice (potatoes are an alternative) and prepared some peas (the ones picked from Joe's garden that I froze earlier in the year).  When the chicken was done, I prepared my foolproof gravy from the flavorful pan drippings.  My version of a TV Dinner was completed!

IMG_1194If you are tired of boring, boneless, skinless, tasteless "rubber" chicken breasts, you are not alone and you have every reason to stage a revolt.  Start roasting my "real" chicken breasts.  The following recipe produces perfectly roasted, succulent, moist breasts with a crispy, eatable skin.  One simple reason to love this delicious, hearty meal is:  once you purchase the chicken breasts (I always buy the largest, meatiest ones I can find), you know you have everything else on hand in your pantry and kitchen.  GET REAL!!! 

For the chicken breasts

8-10  large, meaty chicken breasts on bones with skin

4-6  tablespoons butter, very thinly sliced

freshly ground sea salt and peppercorn blend

For the foolproof chicken gravy:

1  14 1/2-ounce can chicken stock + 1  14 1/2-ounce can of water

6  tablespoons butter

1/2  cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2  teaspoons poultry seasoning

1/2-3/4  teaspoon Gravy Master (optional)* (read about Gravy Master below) 

 Real Roasted Chicken Breasts #1 (Intro Picture) (2)~ Step 1.  Place a roasting rack in the bottom of a large disposable aluminum roasting pan to which 1, 14 1/2-ounce can of chicken stock and 1 can of water (use the can from the stock to measure the water) has been added. 

Arrange 8-10 large, meaty chicken breasts (breasts on bones with skin, NOT boneless, skinless chicken breasts), side by side, overlapping slightly if necessary, skin side up, on rack.  Slice some butter, as thinly as possible, and place 3 pats on top of each chicken breast.  Liberally season everything with freshly ground sea salt and peppercorn blend.

Real Roasted Chicken Breasts #3 (Chicken Out of Oven) ~ Step 2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

Roast the breasts, uncovered, on center rack of preheated oven exactly 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the breasts from the oven, transfer them to a large, warmed serving platter and allow them to rest, about 15 minutes, prior to serving. 

While the breasts are resting, prepare the gravy according to the following directions: 

Real Roasted Chicken Breasts #4 (Fat-Lean Separator) ~ Step 3.  Pour all liquid from the pan  into a 1-quart fat/lean separator.  You will have about 4 cups of fat-free drippings/liquid. 

If you don't own a fat/lean separator, this is an inexpensive kitchen gadget you'll want to get.  Mine just happens to be made of  glass and is ovenproof, but the plastic ones work just as well.  As you can see in the picture, all of the chicken fat has floated to the top, leaving all the flavorful fat-free drippings/liquid to be poured out from the bottom!

Real Roasted Chicken Breasts #5 (Making the Roux) ~ Step 4.  In a 3 1/2-quart chef's pan, melt 6 tablespoons of butter over medium-low heat.  Whisk in 1/2 cup of all-purpose flour along with 1 1/2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning.  Do not add any salt or pepper... your fat-free drippings are seasoned!  Whisk constantly, until the mixture (referred to as roux) is thick and smooth.  This process will only take about 1-2 minutes.

Real Roasted Chicken Breasts #6 (Gravy Done) ~ Step 5.  Whisk in all of the fat-free liquid from the fat/lean separator and discard all of the fat.  Adjust heat to medium-high and bring gravy to a gentle simmer.  Continue to simmer, whisking constantly, until gravy has thickened to your liking and coats a spoon, 2-3 minutes.  The longer you simmer the gravy, the thicker it will get.  How quick and easy was that!  

 *All of this being said, depending on the color of your fat-free liquid that day (and it does vary slightly  in color everytime you make it), if you want your gravy to be a little darker in color, just stir in about 1/2-3/4 teaspoon of Gravy Master.  Gravy Master is a nifty product that I keep on hand in my pantry and I recommend that you do too.  It comes in a small, 2-ounce bottle with an orange label and a little splash goes a very long way.  I use a very small amount of this product exclusively for the purpose of adding some color to any pale-looking gravy! 

Real Roasted Chicken Breasts #7 (Sliced Chicken) ~ Step 6.  For the most part, I like slicing and plating chicken breasts before serving them.  This is SO NOT NECESSARY, so if you want to skip this task/step, serve them up just as is.

As you can see from the picture, the chicken is perfectly cooked.

Can you believe this one chicken breast, when thinly sliced, makes a yummy plate of food this size!?!

Meet my version of a modern-day TV dinner:

Real Roasted Chicken Breasts #8 (TV Dinner Picture) My E-Z "Real" Roasted Chicken Breasts & Gravy:  Recipe yields 8-10 hearty, main course servings and 4 cups gravy.

Special Equipment List:  20" x 12" x 4" disposable aluminum roasting pan; 17 1/2" x 12 1/2" cooling rack; 1-quart fat/lean separator; 3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight, deep sides; whisk; cutting board; chef's knife

Rhode_island_red_1915_lithographCook's Note:  Sometimes I prepare these chicken breasts on a Sunday afternoon, just to have them on hand all week.  Sliced, they make a great chicken sandwich or wrap.  Chopped, they make a great chicken salad or addition to a garden salad.  So, if you do not plan to make gravy:  prepare the recipe exactly as directed adding 4 cups of plain water to the bottom of the roasting pan,  instead of a combination of chicken stock and water.  In either case, it is the liquid in the bottom of the pan that makes these roasted chicken breasts so moist!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2010) 


Sandy -- great to hear from you. This is one of the recipes on Kitchen Encounters that has gone "viral". Everyone loves it -- welcome to our club!

Made these Sunday nite. AWESOME!!!!! Turned out Perfect!!! Thanks!

Stephanie -- I suppose if you don't overcrowd the pot AND if you put a rack in the bottom of the pot as well you could. The rack is important so air can circulate underneath and prevent the chicken from cooking in its own fat and juices. If you try it, report back with the results!

Can you use a Dutch oven with this recipe and just leave the lid off?

Thanks Jennifer -- I'm confident that once you make chicken breasts this way, you'll never look at a boneless, skinless breast the same way again!

This is an easy step. I can't wait to buy chicken with bone in (always buy boneless) to make. My family loves chicken and gravy. Hope to make this Friday! Great for making cesaer salads with left overs. Nice when you can get two meals from one dinner. Thank you for posting ~ can't believe I haven't thought of doing this years ago. Wow!!! :o)

Jan! How nice to hear from you, and, I'm glad you found this recipe too. I will guarantee that it will not let you down. Thanks to you, I might even try it with marinated chicken the next time I make it, just to see if it works the same way!

I was so excited to find this recipe! I hate cooking chicken on the bone because I do not do it well. I just bought a BOATLOAD of it yesterday (the 99 cents per lb price tag suckered me!) I had put 4 breasts in the fridge in a bag with Italian dressing last night, planning on putting it in the crock pot today. Although the flavor will be different, I am going to try your method instead. I have been doing low carb for the past two months, and love recipes I can eat that I can add rice or potatoes to for my family to enjoy as well.

Jennifer! Thank-you for the nice feedback! A week rarely goes by without me making a few of these for one reason or another. Once you get used to having a couple of them leftover in the refrigerator, for a quick salad or sandwich, it's hard to live without them!!! ~ Mel.

I made this tonight and it was a hit at our house! AWESOME! Thank you for posting it!

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