Wednesday, February 29, 2012
It's a leap year and, on the 29 February 2012, summer has already ended. It's been raining solidly for days, there's more to come and apparently low-lying areas around Canberra are in danger of flooding... I am starting to worry that Kingston is considered low-lying.
But, it's the perfect night to finally break the blogging drought and share a recipe with you - that's if you're still reading after a month's gap! I blame work, but to be fair, I have also been away for a few of the intervening weekends, which - though enjoyable for me - has led to very little cooking and very little blogging. But tonight, with the rain falling outside and absolutely nothing to do other than watch My Kitchen Rules and write-write-write, I offer you my sincere apologies for the break.
To make amends, I am sharing with you a lovely, but straight-forward recipe. I made this on Sunday night for my lovely mother - I also got her hooked on Downton Abbey at the same time, but that's a whole other story!
I always think about chicken breast as ever-so-boring. The grilled meat you eat without sauce when you want to shed a few pounds. But it's definitely not boring if you fill it with a delicious stuffing, wrap it in prosciutto and bake it at 180 degrees Celcius, I assure you.
Now I should note that, the small number of photos I have attached to this post is due to the suggestiveness of raw stuffed chicken breasts. Let me speak no more on this matter but I dare you to make this recipe and not see what I mean. I had to veto an awful lot of photos...
And if that hasn't got you to attempt the recipe, nothing else will!
Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Blue Cheese & Prosciutto
- 2 chicken breasts, skinless and boned (halved, these will feed two girly eaters, but one each for those with a husky appetite!)
- 15 generous but thin slices of prosciutto
- 1 brown onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed (diced is okay if you're without a garlic crusher)
- 100 grams crumbly blue cheese (Danish is great and just use the left overs on some crackers before dinner!)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius.
Cut five of the prosciutto slices into ribbons about 1 centimetre in width and dice your onion. Then, in a heavy frypan, add a tablespoon of olive oil and, when hot enough that a small piece of onion plopped in the oil sizzles, add all your onion. Cook, stirring, on a medium heat until the onion starts to soften and become translucent. Add your garlic and stir briefly. Now, add your prosciutto and stir for a further minute. Remove from the heat.
Take your chicken breasts and open out the two sides of the breasts until they look a bit like a butterfly (this is a loose interpretation of what a butterfly looks like, I might add). Depending on how they've deboned the breasts, you may not have enough of a flap to stuff them. If not, just slice a pocket into the breast - be careful you don't slice all the way through. You just need a pocket to take the stuffing.
Now, add a small amount (around a dessertspoon-full) of the onion and prosciutto mixture. You need to use your judgment. Don't add so much that you can't cover it with the chicken breast flaps, but not so little that there's hardly any stuffing. Don't worry if you discard a little stuffing if you've put in too much. And don't forget that the same goes for the blue cheese, which you crumble over the top of the onions. Again, not too much, the blue cheese packs a punch with flavour.
You need to wrap the meat of the breast around the stuffing. Now lay a slice of the prosciutto on your cutting board and place the end of the breast over the prosciutto. Wrap up the breast like a mummy, using about four or five slices per breast, depending on how big they are and how much you stuff them!
Once they're wrapped up and easy to pick up, transfer them to your baking dish or tray with the ends of the prosciutto tucked underneath the chicken breast. Drizzle them with a small amount of oil (I used black truffle oil for a little treat, but anything will do) - around 1/2 tablespoon per chicken breast.
Put the chicken in the oven for around 40 minutes, then remove and slice. Serve hot and oooooozing with cheese. I served this with steamed vegetables to try and counteract the blue cheese, but if you want to go the whole hog, try some mashed potatoes.
I admit this is very old-school and Mid-1970s-Chicken-Kiev but it also happens to be delicious. And it went down a treat on a rainy Sunday night with a good dose of Downton Abbey. Sigh. Oh, Matthew Crawley - care for a stuffed chicken breast? (Maybe he's a leg man...)