This dish was inspired by Masterchef - the Professionals currently being shown on BBC2.
Warning! This recipe is not intended for absolute beginners.
The overall intention is to present a high quality chicken breast with an associated chicken boudin blanc on a pea puree with fondant potatoes and a shallot jus.
For two people:
2 chicken breasts of the best possible quality (free-range, corn-fed would be a start)
rasher of pancetta
Glass of white wine
For the Boudin blanc:
Finely chop the pancetta and render its fat very gently in a saucepan. Finely sliver the skin from one of the chicken breasts and fry it with the rendered bacon until crisped. Chop the skinned chicken breast and put into a blender. Add the fried pancetta and chicken skin, a sprinkle of tarragon and double cream. Whizz until the contents make a stiff paste, adjusting texture with the cream. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Oil a sheet of clingfilm and make a sausage shape of the chicken paste. Roll the clingfilm tightly around the sausage, enclosing it completely. Wrap this sausage in a layer of baking foil, making sure the edges are sealed. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to set.
For the fondant potatoes:
Preheat oven to 120C.
Peel the potatoes and cut each potato into two 'pucks' with flat top and bottom. Brown both flat surfaces gently in butter. Place the potatoes in an oven-proof dish and pour in boiling water to half-cover them. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, testing doneness by piercing with a skewer or the point of a sharp knife.
For the peas:
Warm the peas in boiling water for 2 minutes. Blitz in a blender with a splash of double cream. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Poach the foil-wrapped boudin in simmering water for 15 minutes. Remove and allow to cool a little.
For the chicken breast:
Grill the other chicken breast under a hot grill, starting with the skin side uppermost and turning 4 times in 15 minutes. Remove from the heat the instant the chicken is done (poke it with your fingers and you will know when the texture changes from springy to firm - a matter of perhaps 20 seconds.)
Let the chicken breast rest for 5 minutes while you prepare the sauce: finely chop a shallot and brown it gently in the chicken grilling pan, scraping up all the juices. Add a glass of white wine and reduce until brown and sticky. Swirl in some butter to glaze.
Slice the chicken breast thickly and place it on a bed of pea puree. Place the sliced boudin and fondant potatoes around and pour over the chicken/wine/shallot reduction.
Timings are critical here, and the boudin is technically difficult. But the result is quite wonderful if you can pull it all together.