A Surprising Dish
I was sitting around here on a lazy Sunday afternoon, trying to come up with something original to cook for dinner. Nothing fancy mind you, but just something different to help move me out of my year long cooking rut.
Since I already had some Perdue thin sliced chicken breast pieces that needed to be cooked or put into the freezer, I decided that stuffing my chicken parts with something was in order for the evening. A little internet surfing gave me a few good ideas, and after a quick trip to the grocery store, here’s what I did to make dinner for two.
Six pieces of thin sliced chicken breast (or three medium boneless breast halves, pounded thin)
Three pieces thick sliced bacon
Nine thick (½”) slices of Portobello Mushroom cap
½ medium Shallot, diced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
Three handfuls of baby spinach leaves
Two tablespoons butter
2/3 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
3 thick slices Whole Milk Mozzarella
Two tablespoons Butter
Three tablespoons Extra virgin Olive Oil
Flour--about ¼ cup
½ cup chicken stock
¼ cup white wine
4 tablespoons sherry
½ tsp salt
1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
First toss a large skillet on the stove top over medium heat, and cook your bacon until it is nice and crisp.
Hold on there…SAVE THAT BACON GREASE… you’re gonna need it.
Once the bacon has been cooked and reserved to drain on the side, toss in a couple tablespoons of butter and sauté your mushroom slices and shallot for about ten minutes--five minutes per side. Now add your minced garlic and the baby Spinach, turn the heat down a little, and cover the skillet and let things cook for another five minutes or so.
Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 360 degrees, get your chicken out of the fridge, slice your Mozzarella and grate your parmesan.
Now that your mushroom/shallot/spinach mixture is done, pull the skillet off the heat and spoon it into a bowl on the side.
Put your skillet back on the heat, add your olive oil and butter, and once the butter has melted start sprinkling flour into the mixture. Scrape the bottom of the skillet to break loose all of the tidbits as you continuously stir your oil flour mixture. You’re making a basic roux, and you have to keep adding flour and stirring until it thickens and you get the color where you want it.
I made my roux a medium dark brown. Meanwhile, while your roux is cooking, lay a couple of thin slices of chicken out on a plate so they’re overlapping, top it with a slice of mozzarella, then spoon 1/3 of your spinach/mushroom/shallot mix on top. (If you use boneless chicken breast halves, just pound them out thin and top them as described.) Add 1/3 of your grated parmesan, then fold the sides of the chicken over and pin it all together with three or four toothpicks and place it fold side up in a greased casserole dish.
Do the same with the other chicken slices or pounded breast pieces, then toss the whole thing in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
Back at the skillet, once you’re satisfied with the thickness and color of your roux, kick the heat up a notch and dump in your white wine and chicken stock.
Sizzle, sizzle, scrape scrape.
Add your salt and a few twists of black pepper, and keep stirring as the liquid evaporates and things thicken back up. I called this a sauce, but I guess that it really is more of a sophisticated gravy mix.
Now turn down the heat and let things coast while the chicken bakes, adding the Sherry during the last five minutes, and giving things a nice stir on about five minute intervals also.
Kick the oven up to broil for the final couple of minutes, then when your chicken is up to about 155 degrees F, pull it out and let it rest on the cutting board while your plates heat up in the oven.
Put the plates on chargers, slice your chicken into three or pieces pieces each, top with a generous portion of your sauce, grab yourself a fork, and EAT.
The Redneck Gourmet