Thursday, November 26, 2009

Spinach, Roasted Red Pepper & Chèvre Stuffed Chicken Breast

I recently discovered the wickedly delicious flavor combination of goat's milk cheese or chèvre, roasted red pepper and spinach. And the best part is, it is so simple to make, you can whip up a delicious meal in less than 30 minutes. All you need are those 3 ingredients I mentioned above and a chicken breast cutlet to make a meal that may look complex but is really super easy to prep and cook.

Start off by sauteing some spinach. Now, spinach is very delicate and can shrivel down to almost nothing when heated. So, always cook more than you think you need. For 2 servings, I used 2 big bunches of spinach, which is simply saute with salt and pepper. This process takes not even 2 -3 minutes, depending on how hot your pan is. After that is done, remove the spinach from the pan and chill it in your fridge. This is a restaurant trick, which will prevent the spinach from cooking further even when it is out of the pan.

As for the roasted red pepper, you can buy them from any grocery store and they usually come in a glass bottle jar. As they are already cooked, the only prep you need to do is simply dicing them. As for the goat's milk cheese or chèvre, just make sure that they are somewhat soft and pliable before adding the other 2 ingredients. When you add the spinach and roasted red pepper, make sure that you gently fold them into the cheese so as not to turn them into cheese mush. When all the ingredients are thoroughly combined, set it aside in the fridge as you prepare the chicken breast cutlet for stuffing.

Try to remove as much fat from the cutlet and cut a slit down the middle. Spread out the cutlet and drape a piece of saran wrap on top and pound it with the back of a frying pan to flatten it for easier cooking. The next thing you do is stuff the chicken with the cheese stuffing that you just made and bake it in the oven. Oh, remember to season the chicken first with salt and pepper and if you want, brush it with some melted butter as well. And that's it really. Super easy to make and trust me, even more delicious to partake.

As for the sauce, I usually make a chicken velouté (one of the French mother sauces). Start off by melting 2 tablespoons of butter and sweating some shallots and garlic in it. Add 2 tablespoons of flour and incorporate with the rest of the ingredients and saute until it becomes lightly brown. Next, add about 1.5 cups of chicken stock (I make my own but you can buy them off the shelf) and start stirring. At this point I also add some fresh thyme and a bay leaf. Bring the sauce to a boil and you'll notice that it starts to thicken up. Turn down the heat and simmer. Continue stirring until it comes to the right consistency for a sauce (not too thick or thin like a soup). If it is too thick, add more chicken stock. Too thin and you need to reduce it slightly by continuing to simmer the sauce. Next, season it to your taste with salt and pepper and you are done.

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