Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cacciatore Butter-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

I have been seeing variations of stuffed chicken breasts or roulades as some recipes call them and I was totally intrigued with the technique. I decided to start my experimentation with this recipe which has a compound butter stuffed inside a pounded out chicken breast half, which gets the standard breading treatment before being quickly fried and then finished in the oven. This technique is not really difficult, but it is a very time consuming one and best left to weekend cooking. It will take several hours from start to finish with the various chilling times required. However, it is very much worth the time investment.

Our side dish with the chicken was Lemon and Parsley Ditalini which was cooked pasta tossed with some fresh lemon zest and juice, fresh chopped parsley, some unsalted butter and salt and pepper. This lemony pasta was the perfect side dish to the rich chicken and I can't believe how much I enjoyed a pasta without sauce or cheese.

Cacciatore Butter-Stuffed Chicken, Serves 4
Adapted From Cuisine at Home, February 2012 Issue

1 cup diced cremini mushrooms
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons dry red wine
1 stick unsalted butter, cubed and softened (8 tablespoons)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon minced lemon zest
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6-7 oz. each)
1/4 cup flour
1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
1 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
Canola oil

Mince mushrooms, onion, bell pepper, garlic, and rosemary in a food processor.

Saute vegetable mixture in 1 tablespoon butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat, season with salt and pepper, and cook until moisture evaporates, 15 minutes. Add tomato paste; cook until dry, 2 minutes. Deglaze pan with wine and cook until dry, 2 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl; cool to room temperature, 15 minutes.

Mash 1 stick butter, vegetable mixture, basil, and zest in a bowl; season with salt and pepper.

Spread filling onto plastic wrap into a 4-inch square; wrap, chill, until firm 30 minutes, and quarter.

Pound chicken breasts to 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick, one at a time, inside a resealable plastic bag with 1 teaspoon water using the smooth side of a mallet. Place the bag on a kitchen towel to cushion the chicken during pounding. Avoid pounding breasts too thin to prevent holes or torn edges.

Stuff chicken breasts by placing a quarter of the filling in the center of each pounded breast. Fold the end of the breast over the filling, tuck in the sides, then continue rolling until the filling is covered. Tightly wrap the stuffed breast in plastic wrap, then repeat stuffing and wrapping with remaining breasts. Chill breasts at least one hour, as long as overnight, or freeze until just firm.

Bread the chicken by first dredging in 1/4 cup flour, then dipping into the beaten egg, and finally rolling in the panko bread crumbs, pressing to coat. At this point, the crumbs need to adhere to the chicken. Wrap the breaded breasts in plastic wrap and chill to set the coating, at least one hour or up to 3 hours.

Fry all the stuffed breasts until browned on both sides in 1/2-inch of canola oil heated to 375 degrees, 5-7 minutes. After browning, transfer breasts to a rack set over a baking sheet and transfer to the oven preheated to 450 degrees. Roast stuffed breasts until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the chicken registers 165 degrees, 15-20 minutes.

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