Monday, June 26, 2006
Well, this worked out nicely. Yesterday I made a dressing/marinade/sauce
that I brushed on some boneless chicken breasts that had been stuffed with feta cheese. Now I'm going to tell you what really happened.
The chicken breasts were originally stuffed with Cypress Grove chevre , one of my all time favorite goat cheeses which has the added distinction of being made here in Humboldt county, and which had been mixed with finely chopped cinnamon basil and equally finely chopped leaves from my curry plant. My nose led me to believe that these ingredients would all blend very well with one another, thus making a delicious cheese stuffing for the breasts.
That was before I tasted a bit of the leftover chevre/herb mixture and after I had already stuffed and rolled the chicken breasts. Something wasn't quite right.
I kept on tidying up the kitchen anyway, glancing at the rolled breasts now and then. Was I hoping they would speak to me? Evidently they did, because on tasting the chevre mixture again, there it was: a rather astringent, metallic flavor that was decidedly off-putting. Tasting one more time did the trick. I unrolled the breasts, extracted the chevre filling and, with reverent apologies to Cypress Grove, dumped the mixture into the compost. A search through the fridge found some crumbled feta cheese. Stuffing as much feta into each breast as I could, I re-rolled and secured them with toothpicks. Whew! Dinner saved.
Feta Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Pound 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts to a uniform 1/4-inch thickness. At the rounded end, place a log-shaped mound of crumbled feta cheese across the breast, leaving 1/2 inch on either side. Roll the chicken breast up, tucking in the sides so the cheese cannot escape. Secure each roll with one or two toothpicks.
Brush each rolled chicken breast with this Spicy Asian Sauce, rolling them to coat completely. Refrigerate, covered, for 1 to 2 hours.
Place a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, adding 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon butter. When the pan is hot, add the chicken rolls and sear on all sides until golden brown. Remove from heat and place in a 400 degree oven for about 12 minutes, or until cooked through. Plate on a bed of braised garden greens and drizzle a bit more sauce over each breast.
To prepare the greens, first heat 3 tablespoons good olive oil in a small sauce pan and add 2 finely chopped garlic cloves. When the garlic is just golden, add 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, remove from heat and set aside.
Wash thoroughly a rather large amount (2 arms full?) of greens such as kale, chard, beet greens, etc. and place in a large pot over medium heat, leaving some water on the leaves to aid in the cooking process. When the greens are just wilted, add the garlic-red pepper oil and toss thoroughly. Season with coarse kosher salt to taste.
The rolled chicken breasts needed no dipping in egg or breading or flour, making this a great dish for low-carbers. The sauce gives a tasty caramelized coating to the meat and the feta cheese becomes meltingly smooth without running all over the place. Nice.