Learn how to make roasted chicken flavored with cooked Royal Riviera Pears, bacon, and leeks in this recipe from Christina Lane of Dessert for Two. This dish is a great alternative for Thanksgiving dinner since it can serve smaller gatherings of two to eight.
If you’re looking for an alternative for Thanksgiving, might I suggest roasting a whole chicken instead? This year, I’ll be roasting chicken instead of a turkey on Thanksgiving for two reasons: Chicken is less prone to drying out, and it cooks in less time! This allows for more time and oven space to cook tasty side dishes like stuffing and delicious pies.
Speaking of side dishes, this recipe has built-in side dish potential. We’re going to slice up Royal Riviera Pears into quarters and place them in the roasting dish with the chicken. As the chicken roasts, the pears soften and intensify in flavor. The pears cook in chicken juices and bacon drippings for the perfect sweet and savory combo. I’m not sure I’ve had a better, cooked pear!
If you don’t have a roasting pan, don’t worry! The whole chicken is going to roast on a rack made of halved leeks. When the chicken is done, the leeks are soft and fork-tender. One bite of leeks cooked in chicken and bacon strips tastes like the creamiest potato leek soup you’ve ever had.
If a whole chicken seems like too much, I’ve also scaled this recipe down to just two chicken breasts in a skillet. This can turn the recipe into a one-pan meal of seared chicken breasts with a leek, bacon, and pear hash.
Roasted Chicken Breasts for Two
If possible, find boneless chicken breasts with the skin still attached. If you can’t find them, buy split chicken breasts, and use sharp kitchen shears to cut out the bone and remove the chicken strip. You can place the bones in a freezer bag to make stock later, and put the strips in a separate bag in the freezer as well. When I get enough chicken strips in a bag, I make fried chicken fingers for my kids!
I also recommend making the small-batch version before Thanksgiving so you can get a taste before the big day. Roasted pears, creamy leeks, crispy bacon, and perfectly cooked chicken is a holiday meal or weeknight dinner that can help usher in the season of giving and being thankful!
Roasted Chicken with Pears, Bacon and Leeks
Whole Roasted Chicken for Eight
- 2 Harry and David Royal Riviera Pears
- 2 large leeks
- 1 whole chicken (4-5 pounds, with giblets removed)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus extra)
- 1 tablespoon salt (plus extra)
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper (plus extra)
- 3 thick-sliced strips of bacon
Skillet Chicken for Two
- 1 Harry and David Royal Riviera Pears
- 1 large leek
- 2 boneless chicken breasts (with skin is preferred)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 thick-sliced strips of bacon (cut into 1” pieces)
- ½ cup dry white wine
Whole Roasted Chicken for Eight
- Preheat the oven to 425.
- First, clean the leeks by slicing off the dark green parts and the roots. Rinse them under cold running water, and then slice them in half lengthwise and rinse them again. Leeks have lots of dirt and sand in them, so be sure to rinse them very well.
- Lay the leeks in a row in a 9×13” heavy duty pan. This is the ‘rack’ that the chicken will sit on top of.
- Next, rinse the pears and slice them into quarters. Place the quarters on the edge of the pan.
- Drizzle a small amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper over the leeks and pears; toss to coat.
- Now, unwrap the chicken, give it a quick rinse, and remove the giblets and anything placed inside the chicken.
- Dry off the chicken with paper towels. Pour the 2 tablespoons of olive oil on the chicken, and rub it in with your hands. Sprinkle on the tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoon of black pepper, and rub it all over evenly.
- Place the chicken over the leeks in the dish. Use kitchen string to tie the legs together for even baking. Slice the bacon strips in half and lay them over the breast of the chicken.
- Place the pan in the oven and set the timer for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, you’ll want to remove the bacon strips carefully using tongs so they don’t burn. Place the chicken back in the oven without the bacon for another 35-40 minutes.
- Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches 165-degrees F in the thickest part of the leg, without touching the bone when testing.
- Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before carving.
- To carve: Slice the legs and wings off first. Then slice straight-down closest to the breast bone but slightly off-center. Follow it by a horizontal cut underneath the breast to loosen it. Repeat on the other side.
Skillet Chicken for Two
- Place a 10” cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the bacon pieces to the pan. Stir the bacon occasionally while it cooks and starts to release the fat.
- Clean the leek by slicing off the dark green part and the roots. Rinse it under cold running water, and then slice it in half lengthwise and rinse it again. Leeks have lots of dirt and sand in them, so be sure to rinse them very well. Finally, slice the leek into 1” pieces.
- Add the leeks to the skillet when the bacon is just starting to brown on one side.
- Cook the leeks for 2-3 minutes, until just starting to soften.
- Push everything to the edge of the pan, add the olive oil to the center, and place the chicken breasts skin-side down into the pan.
- Cook the chicken on the first side until it starts to brown, about 5-7 minutes.
- Flip the chicken to cook the other side and add the pears to the pan. Turn the heat down to medium-low and toss the pears with the leeks and bacon pieces on the edges of the pan as best as you can. We don’t want to toss the pears too much, or they’ll start to break down. We just want a light sear on them.
- After 5 minutes of cooking the second side of the chicken, add the white wine to the skillet. Continue cooking the chicken until it registers 165-degrees F in the center.
- Serve the chicken breasts with the pear-bacon leek hash on the side.
The holidays are all about family, and nothing brings all the generations together like food! In Homespun Holidays we explore recipes perfect for new family traditions, shareable plates for your next holiday get-together, and small-batch desserts and sides for more intimate gatherings.