Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Preparing Livèche chicken

I had invited my Enjoy Food & Travel co-writers for dinner yesterday, and was out of ideas on what to buy. As I entered my favorite super market, Centra, they offered Livèche chicken breast at 149 NOK (€ 18) a kilo, produced by Prior. As Prior is a member producer of what I call the traditional Norwegian agricultural production mafia, I am skeptical, and will remain so. But the chicken breast was e-x-c-e-l-l-e-n-t.

Livèche is the French name of lovage, a herb with a distinct taste of celery, that I grow the garden of our summer home. The Livèche chicken is produced according to the French Label Rouge standard, a pasture-raised free range poultry production increasingly popular in Europe and the US.

The Label Rouge started as a grassroots movement and now commanding 30% of the French poultry market, it has helped boost incomes for small farmers.
The Norwegian Livéche chicken is corn fed and slaughtered after 81 days, providing a larger and better tasting bird. The breast I bought weighed 534 grams or 1 1/2 lb.

Long roast Livèche chicken breast with mustard and bacon

I placed the chicken breast in an oven proof dish. I spread a generous amount of Dijon mustard, and placed four slices of streaky bacon on top of the mustard.

I poured 1 tbsp sunflower on top of the bacon to moisten the surface, and roasted it on a low heat, 120 C / 250F for two hours.

I served the chicken with bacon and chinese cabbage slightly first lightly fried in butter and then steamed in a Noilly Prat. Oven backed potatoes with salt and Provence herbs and a good red wine reduction with butter.


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