Don’t get me wrong, I love my BC cherries, they’re the opening act on our short lived fruit season. Then along come peaches, that golden fleshy goodness that happily drips down your chin and highlights the fact our summer is a little too short.
The best way to enjoy a fresh ripe peach is to give the fuzz on the skin a wash under cold water and rub it off. Cut it in half, take the seed out and enjoy.
If your like me and your driving through the Okanagan or checking out a local farmers market and you end up with a whole case of them and are looking for new recipes to enjoy with them, then I have one for you. A little roast chicken and peaches.
Start with a whole chicken and season it inside and out with salt and pepper. Then take some garlic cloves and peaches that have been cubed and stuff the chicken. For the coating I used the green walnut and grappa preserve from Vista D’oro and a touch of grainy mustard and coated the entire outside of the chicken.
Half some peaches and lay them out over some fresh rosemary and more garlic. Place the seasoned and coated chicken on top of the peaches and insert your leave in digital thermometer. If you don’t have a leave in meat thermometer, then please go get one. They don’t have to be expensive and will soon become your best friend. Simply set the alarm to your desired doneness and you’ll never overcook your meat again.
I prefer a lower temperature when roasting as I believe slower cooking results in more tender meats. I cooked this one at 285 degrees Fahrenheit. As the chicken cooks, the peaches will slowly break down and combine with the juices from the chicken.
Once the chicken is finished cooking, remove from pan and let rest before cutting up. Put the pan over medium high heat and let it begin to sizzle. Once the roasted peaches and rosemary begin to darken the bottom of the pan, add your favourite BC white wine and deglaze (150-200ml). Reduce the wine and juices until it is syrupy and starting to thicken. Then add some good sherry vinegar, the older the better and reduce again (3-4 tablespoons). Remove the rosemary and give the peaches a good squish with the back of a spoon to make sure it is all dissolving in the liquid. Once the sauce has reduced by 1/3 strain with a fine strainer and give the peaches a light press to work out some pulp to help thicken the liquid. This is the basis of your gastrique and all you need to do is check for seasoning and make sure its the consistency you like. If its too thick but has the right acidity you can add a touch of wine to thin out. If its not thick enough just reduce a bit further. Once the sauce is ready, I like to take it off the heat and add a dollop of butter (1 tablespoon unsalted) and just swirl it in until its dissolved. This will give it a nice sheen and just round out the flavour and texture.
Portion your chicken and drizzle your peach sauce over top. Enjoy.