Friday, January 13, 2012

stuffed chicken breast with shallot pan sauce

On the way home tonight, whilst wracking my brain to come up with some idea for dinner, it dawned on me that we hadn't had chicken breast in a while. This is quite likely because I find chicken breast pretty freaking tasteless and therefore don't enjoy eating it or cooking it. I started thinking about how I could make chicken breast not suck so much. Clearly it needed some kind of sauce, and it might not hurt to bury a little tasty treasure in it, as well. Something to give it a salty little zip.

Something like...prosciutto. I mean, really. Is there anything that cured pork products do NOT improve?

No. The answer is no.

I took four boneless, skinless chicken breasts and cut deep pockets into them, then stuffed them each with a slice of prosciutto, about a tablespoon of chopped roasted red pepper, and about an ounce of fresh mozzarella cheese. I tied each piece of chicken around the middle with kitchen twine so that the goodies wouldn't fall out, then seared them each side, two at a time, in a hot pan with olive oil and a little butter. Once seared, they went into a 450 degree oven for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I decided to make some sauce! I was totally making this up as I went along, mind you. I had an idea of what I wanted it to taste like, but I wasn't exactly sure how to get there. What I ended up doing worked, so yay for that! What I did was take the pan I'd seared the chicken in and put it on medium-low heat, then added a tablespoon of sherry vinegar. I let it steam and fizzle until it was almost cooked away, then added half a cup of water (I didn't have any stock! Kitchen fail!), and scraped the good bits up off the bottom. I added a pinch of salt, a tablespoon of butter, and big shallot which I'd minced. I turned the heat down and let it all cook down for about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. I tasted it and lo, it was too salty! I added a little more of everything else - water, butter and vinegar, and let it cook for a few more minutes, then tasted again. And lo, it was TASTY! Wicked tasty, in fact. The chicken was done at that point, so I plated it and then added the lovely chicken juices from the baking pan into the sauce as well. I spooned a little of the sauce over each piece of chicken and served it with roasted cauliflower and spring greens with balsamic vinaigrette.

Also, a note about roasted cauliflower: I love it. Even if you're not a fan of cauliflower, you should try it. Roasting it with olive oil gives it a wonderful nutty depth of flavor. Yum!