Thursday, March 18, 2010

Boursin-stuffed Chicken Breast


Today's recipe comes to you courtesy of the BB's mother. She claims she has made this for us before, but I think she's full of crap. Either that, or she made it when I still scrunched my nose at anything different, and didn't consume solid foods fit for an adult dinner. Or maybe the phase where everything I ate was dull and flavorless. Or maybe the phase where more than 2 tablespoons of sauces and the like were shunned. I clearly went through a lot of picky food phases and still refuse to consume certain items (namely anything with mustard, bell peppers, olives, or hot dogs), but luckily, for those people in my life, my palette is no longer so picky, and spans numerous cuisines. But I digress...

I really like chicken breasts -- they're quick, healthy, versatile, and live in the freezer. However, sometimes chicken breast gets boring and needs to be spiced up. This one happens to combine my love of chicken with my love of cheese. And let me tell you, I love cheese. Especially sharper, pungent cheeses. And creamy cheeses. And cheese with herbs in it. I drool when I pass the artisan cheese area in the grocery store. This recipe uses Boursin--it's a soft cheese mixed with herbs. The one I specifically used was infused with garlic and herbs. There's also a pepper version, and one with shallots and chive. Costco sells the cheese in a three pack at a good price, so you can use your leftover cheese on good multigrain crackers, or attempt to stuff something else.

The best thing about this recipe? You get to hit things. Good food and stress relief -- what could be better?

Ingredients
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 egg
1/2 cup of italian seasoned bread crumbs (you can also use regular bread crumbs and add in some grated parmesan)
1 package, Boursin cheese
butter
olive oil
toothpicks

Directions
1. Preheat your oven to 350 F with a shelf in the middle.
2. Grab a kitchen mallet and your chicken breast. On a solid surface, pound the chicken until it is about 1/4 inch thick. If an area seems to be resisting your anger, you could use a knife and fillet that portion of the breast. You want it to remain in one piece, so be careful not to cut the piece off. Tips: plastic wrap on top of the chicken will help keep your mallet clean, and if you don't have a mallet, use a rolling pin. It might be a bit awkward, but it works.
3. When your chicken is flat, whip out your cheese. You're going to want to spread the cheese across the majority of the breast, leaving a little space on the sides so it doesn't pour out when you roll. If you're feeling adventurous, some precooked and drained spinach or basil can be placed on top of the cheese. If you do this, drain the leaves well, so you don't end up with green liquid everywhere.
4. Start with the smallest side of the breast, and roll it up like a jelly roll. When you're done, stick in two toothpicks to keep the roll closed.
5. Take the chicken roll and dip it in beaten egg, and then in the bread crumbs. You may need more than I did, but that depends on how big your rolls are and whether or not you want two layers of crumbs. If you see yourself getting low, just add more to your bowl.
6. Set the rolls, seam side down, in your baking dish. I would use a rack in the dish so the bottom crust does not get soggy from any drippings. It also allows any liquid from the cheese or spinach to drain.

 My mom rolled that ugly one at the top right. She also did 
the breading. If you like lots of breading, do two layers.
7. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until they appear cooked through. Turn over once during baking. Rumor has it they will read at 165 F when done, but if you choose to do the next step, it can be a little less.
8. Heat up a little butter (for flavor!) and olive oil in a pan. Cast iron is good for this. Place your cooked chicken in the pan, turning every now and then until the crust gets a nice crispy brown color. You don't have to do this step, but if you like crispier crusts, I'd go for it.

 Mmm...brown crispy crust.
9. Eat.

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