Tuesday, April 20, 2010

(Not So) Stuffed Chicken

I haven't had much energy to cook new meals from recipes lately so most of my dinners have been either meat and potatoes or pasta dishes. A girl can only get so creative while whipping up dishes like that. Tonight, I wanted to get back in the swing of regularly cooking so I took some time to think. I always have an abundance of chicken and typically serve it with some sort of starch. Since I am so comfortable with that, I figured the obvious decision would be to NOT do that again. After perusing various recipe sights, I was inspired by one of Rachel Ray's recipes on Food Network for Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken. I enjoyed making homemade Chicken Cordon Blue so I couldn't wait to try this recipe.

I defrosted my chicken and made the best attempt I could to pound the meat as flat as I possibly could. It was incredibly difficult considering I do not have a heavy skillet or mallet to flatten with, but I tried my best. (On another note: These breasts were suppose to be thin sliced to begin with, but definitely didn't come out that way.) After a 10 minute struggle, I gave up on the flattening and moved on to creating the stuffing.

I followed the recipe word for word and created a lovely looking spinach and mushroom stuffing. I couldn't wait to roll it up in the chicken and toss it in the pan. That excitement lasted about 90 seconds. I realized quite quickly that my breasts were to thick, making it extremely hard to roll the chicken. I ended up squeezing as much stuffing in as possible and sticking toothpicks in to hold it together. It did NOT look pretty.

After being on the skillet for all of 3 minutes, the rolls started falling apart. After throwing a hissy fit (literally screaming) I removed the toothpicks, threw out the stuffing and laid the chicken flat to fry. Once the meat was thoroughly cooked (and I was splashed by hot oil numerous times - causing my second tantrum) I removed the meat from the pan, heated the remaining stuffing mixture and served it atop the meat. I drizzled the spinach and mushroom topped chicken with the mushroom sauce and enjoyed.

It was quite the process and took me some time to calm down, but still delicious! That is definitely one meal I will never forget making. Looking back now, it's funny how many things went wrong - things that I did not handle so well. But what can you do? Everything can't be perfect, right?

Ok - enough talking. Enjoy the recipe! :)


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Large plastic food storage bag or waxed paper
1 package, 10 oz, frozen chopped spinach
2 tbsp butter
12 small mushroom caps, crimini or button
2 cloves garlic, cracked
1 small shallot, quartered
salt and pepper
1 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated parmigiano or romano
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp flour
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth

1) Place breasts in the center of a plastic food storage bag or 2 large sheets of waxed paper. Pound out the chicken from the center of the bag outward using a heavy-bottomed skillet or mallet. Be firm but controlled with your strokes. (Yeah - let's call this step a huge FAIL for me!)
2) Defrost spinach in microwave. Transfer spinach to a kitchen towel. Twist towel around spinach and wring it out until very dry. Transfer to a medium mixing bowl.
3) Place a nonstick skillet over moderate heat. When skillet is hot, add butter, mushrooms, garlic and shallot. Season with salt and pepper and saute 5 minutes. Transfer mushrooms, garlic and shallot to food processor. Pulse to grind the mushrooms and transfer to the mixing bowl, adding the processed mushrooms to the spinach. Add ricotta and grated cheese to the bowl and the nutmeg. Stir to combine the stuffing. Return your skillet to the stove over high heat.
4) Place a mound of stuffing on each breast and warp and roll breast over the stuffing (HA!) Secure breasts with toothpicks. Add 3 tbsp of oil to the pan then add breasts to the pan and brown on all sides, cooking chicken 10 to 12 minutes. (The meat will cook quickly because it is thin.)
5) Remove breasts; add butter to the pan and flour. Cook butter and flour for a minute, whisk in wine and reduce another minute. Wish in broth and return breasts to the pan/ Reduce heat and simmer until ready to serve.
6) Serve breasts whole or remove from pan and slice on an angle. Top with additional sauce.

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