Chicken in pancetta

Zita has pointed out an omission in the blog’s chicken section, and I agree that no family recipe collection would be complete without ‘Chicken in pancetta’. It is a comforting, home-made invention that often served as a special meal when we marked rites of passage: birthdays, heading off on travels, returning home from university. Feel free to use bacon instead of pancetta, and any cream you need to use up in the fridge.

Serves 4


4 chicken breasts
8 fat sprigs tarragon
1 pack pancetta or thin streaky bacon – you need 3 slices per chicken breast
50g butter
150ml white wine
Crème fraîche and / or cream (single or double)
Salt & pepper


Preheat the oven to 200 / 180 fan.

Cut a slit down the underside of each chicken breast. Lay the pancetta slices out, slightly overlapping, in groups of three and place a chicken breast on top of each set of slices, slit side up. Stuff a big sprig of tarragon into each breast and season with pepper; you shouldn’t need salt because pancetta is already quite salty. Fold the pancetta slices over, encasing each breast. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan or shallow casserole dish – use something that can go both on the hob and in the oven. Fry the chicken parcels, seam-side up for a couple of minutes, then turn them over so that the seam is underneath and fry for another couple of minutes. Cover with foil and put in the oven for 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken breasts. While they’re cooking, strip the leaves from your four remaining tarragon sprigs and chop finely.

Remove the chicken parcels to a board and return the pan / casserole dish to the hob on a medium-high heat. Deglaze the pan with white wine and allow to cook down a little, then add crème fraîche and / or cream (I recommend 2 tbsp of the former and 100 ml of the latter), bubble through and allow to cook down a little on a lower heat for 5 minutes. Stir in your chopped tarragon at the end and check the seasoning.

While the sauce is bubbling, slice the chicken parcels into ¾ cm strips and arrange on a serving dish. Pour over the sauce and serve with vegetables of your choice.

Published by motherrach

Alongside this blog, which records tried and tested family favourites, I’m documenting on Instagram (mother_rach_cooks) my efforts in repertoire expansion.

One thought on “Chicken in pancetta

  1. sounds scrummy

    took a mild chicken curry to Sh Park last evening and allowed to invite the Rimmers so a jolly party and Mumsy stayed up until 2200 and eat slightly more than a sparrow

    following UC with especial interest, RD

    Sent from my Galaxy

    Liked by 1 person

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