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Smoky Roast Chicken with Maple Gravy and Smashed Root Veggies


  • 2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and chopped

  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and chopped

  • 1 celeriac (celery root), peeled and cut into pieces

  • 3 cups milk

  • A few grates of nutmeg

  • 2 tablespoons butter

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

  • 6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed from stems and chopped

  • 4 slices speck or any smoky ham of your choice, thinly sliced

For the maple gravy:

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 2 shallots, finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons flour

  • 1/4 cup chicken stock

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar


Place potatoes in a small saucepot and cover them with cold water. Place over high heat and bring up to a bubble. Cook until tender, about 15 minutes. In another small saucepot, add the parsnips, celeriac and milk and bring up to a bubble. Cook until tender, about 20 minutes. When everything is tender, scoop a mug of hot milk out of the parsnips and celeriac, then drain and smash the potatoes, parsnips, and celeriac together along with the nutmeg, butter, reserved hot milk, salt and freshly ground black pepper. While the root veggies are working, season the chicken breasts with salt, pepper and fresh thyme, then wrap each breast in a piece of ham. Heat one turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon, in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Cook the ham-wrapped chicken breasts until crisp and cooked through, about 6 minutes per side, 12-15 minutes total. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the gravy: Place a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon butter. Cook the shallots in the butter until tender, about 2 minutes. Add the flour to the pan and cook until combined, about 1 minute. Whisk in the stock, syrup and vinegar, and bring up to a bubble. Cook until thickened and reduced, 3-4 minutes. To serve, place a chicken breast on each plate topped with the Maple Gravy and some Smashed Root Veggies alongside.