Chicken recipe: Deconstructing a Masterchef master class

This is my first season watching the popular Masterchef series and I have to say I’m totally addicted.  I particularly love the Masterclass episodes where George Calombaris and Gary Mehigan walk us through the preparation of a special dish.  A recent favourite of mine was the Cannon of Rabbit, Garlic Custard and Rabbit Consomme.  The combination of  salty pancetta, leek, thyme, white wine, olives and mustard fruits intrigued me and I thought you can definitely replace the rabbit and turn this into a chicken recipe.

While I did give the original recipe a go with chicken tenderloins, I found a much easier and satisfying way to use the base ingredients was to combine them in a chicken casserole.   The result is a chicken recipe that is easy to cook at home, uses one pot and has a depth of flavours that will impress even the most discerning judges.   For those of you looking to pull the proverbial rabbit out of your hat – I highly recommend this chicken recipe!  Oh and BTW I used a plain ole $8.00 Coles roasting chicken for this recipe which I bought online.


1.2 Kg Roasting Chicken

2 tbsp butter

5 slices of mild pancetta sliced

1 leek white sliced

3/4 cup white wine

3 cloves garlic peeled and smashed

1 glaceed pear, apricot or pineapple (mustard fruit) – sliced

10 green olives – pitted

4 sprigs of thyme

3/4 cup chicken stock

Salt & Pepper to taste

Optional – Button mushrooms or steamed potato

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C (360 F). Rinse the chicken in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.  In a dutch oven (I use a Le Crueset or copper pot) melt the butter over medium to high heat until it is bubbling, brown the chicken starting with the breast then turning it onto its back and sides.  Remove and set aside.  In the same pot fry the pancetta slices over medium to high releasing the fat (approx 2 minutes), then add the sliced leek and cook until it is a light golden color.  Add the white wine and let reduce by about 1/2.  Add the remaining ingredients and season to taste.  Return the chicken to the pot, cover and let cook in the oven for around 1 1/2 hrs or until chicken registers 82 degrees C (180 F) on the meat thermometer.  I like to pan fry button mushrooms in butter and/or throw in some steamed new potatoes at the very end to add a bit of vegetable to the dish, but you can also serve this with steamed carrots and turnips, mashed potatoes or rice.


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