"Twice Yotam made a bread pudding for his column in the weekend magazine of the Guardian and both times he recommended that it would be perfect served alongside a roast chicken. So it’s about time for a recipe that builds the bird into the list of ingredients and for there to be no call to serve this with anything at all. Except, perhaps, a simple green salad with a sharp lemony dressing.
We serve this at NOPI using pheasant breasts, drumsticks on, rather than chicken breasts. With pheasant being seasonal—from the beginning of October to the beginning of February—we’ve gone for the more available chicken supremes (the breast with first wing joint attached) here, but if you want to reinstate the original, you’ll need six pheasant breasts, weighing 2 1/4 pounds, trimmed of excess fat, with their feathers plucked and skin on. The only difference from the recipe below is that the pheasant will need slightly less cooking time than the chicken: just 2 minutes in the pan, then 3 to 4 minutes in the oven, or a minute or two longer if you don’t want it pink inside."
Reprinted with permission from NOPI: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully, copyright © 2015. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Tarragon Brioche Pudding:
2 heads garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
Coarse sea salt
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 ounce tarragon, finely chopped
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted
14 ounces crustless brioche loaf, trimmed and cut horizontally into three 9 x 4 inch slices
2 cups unsalted chicken stock
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, fridge-cold, cut into 3/4-inch dice
6 1/2 ounces fresh or frozen peas, blanched for a minute in boiling water and drained
1/2 ounce tarragon leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
6 chicken supremes (about 3 1/4 pounds chicken total)
1/3 sprigs thyme
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 3/4-inch dice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
First make the bread pudding: slice off and discard the top quarter of each head of garlic so that the cloves are exposed. Place the heads on an 8-inch wide square of foil, making sure the cut sides are up. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, sprinkle with salt, wrap in a tight bundle and roast for 35 minutes, until the garlic is soft and caramelized. Remove from the oven, set aside for 10 minutes, then squeeze the garlic cloves out of their skins, along with the oil. Use the back of a fork to crush them to a fine paste.
Place the eggs in a medium bowl and whisk. Add the cream, nutmeg, cinnamon, and tarragon, along with 1 teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Whisk well and set aside.
Lightly grease a 9 x 4 inch bread loaf pan with butter and line it with parchment paper. Brush a bit more butter on top of the parchment once it’s inside the pan, then layer the bottom with one long slice of brioche. Spread half the garlic purée on top and pour over a third of the cream mix. Lay another slice of brioche on top and push this down, so that it gets soaked in the liquid. Spread the remaining garlic purée on top, pour over another third of the cream mix and top with the last slice of brioche. Finish with the remainder of the cream mix and lightly press down the brioche so that it is fully submerged. Set aside for 30 minutes to let all the liquid to soak into the brioche.
Transfer the pudding to the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the it’s cooked through and the brioche is golden brown on top. Check that it’s ready by inserting a knife through the middle: it should come out clean. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan, with the paper still attached. Transfer to a baking rack to cool, then remove and discard the paper. Trim the ends and cut the pudding widthwise into six 1 1/2-inch slices. Set aside until ready to serve.
While you are resting and baking the pudding, make the jus, then cook the chicken. For the jus, place the chicken stock in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Cook for about 12 minutes, until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and whisk in the butter, along with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir in the peas and tarragon and set aside. Warm up slightly before serving.
To cook the chicken, pour the oil into a large sauté pan and place over high heat. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of salt evenly over both sides of all the breasts, along with a good grind of black pepper. Once the pan is smoking, lay the breasts in the pan skin side down: you might need to do this in two batches so as not to overcrowd the pan. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden brown. Add the thyme and butter to the pan and cook for another minute, basting the chicken with the foaming butter. Transfer to the oven (either in the pan, if it’s ovenproof and it will fit, or transferring to a roasting pan) and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the oven, drizzle with the lemon juice, and baste with the juices from the pan. Set aside to rest for 1 minute, then slice the breasts in half on the diagonal, or leave whole.
A few minutes before the chicken is ready, place the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil for the bread pudding in a frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the brioche slices and fry for 2 to 3 minutes, turning once so that both sides are golden brown. Divide the bread among 6 plates and place the chicken breasts on top or alongside. Spoon the warm pea and tarragon jus on top and serve.