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french-style stuffed chicken breasts

February 4, 2011

Or, all my favorite things in one chicken. I’d been wanting to try this for a while before Chris and I finally made it a few weeks back (and by “a while,” I mean probably a week or two, because I’m patient like that), but I had to wait until we had access to a food processor (i.e. not when skiing) to make the chicken-baby food that goes into ‘em.

Apparently, I felt it was really important that the only prep-photo I take for this one was leeks.

These took a little bit more effort than your average pan-seared chicken breasts, but I think it was well worth it. The stuffing actually held together really well (probably because of the aforementioned baby food), the sauce was lovely and flavorful, and the meat stayed nice and juicy even after all the flipping and simmering and such. Also, Chris usually doesn’t like poached meat, but I think these passed his test.

French-Style Stuffed Chicken Breasts
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (8 oz. each)
3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced thin
1 small leek, white part halved lengthwise and chopped (about 1 cup)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, divided [we left this out because parsley is useless and not tasty]
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. If your chicken breasts have the tenderloin attached, remove the tenderloin and set aside. Using a sharp knife, butterfly each chicken breast horizontally, almost all the way through but not quite, leaving the two halves attached like the pages of a book. Open up the butterflied breasts and lay them out flat. Place each piece of chicken, laid out flat, in a large zipper-lock bag one at a time. Pound the chicken pieces to 1/4-inch thickness. Trim about 1 1/2 inches from the long side of the cutlets, to remove about 1 1/2 to 2 oz. per chicken. (Use the reserved tenderloins in place of or in addition to the trimmings to equal about 1/2 cup total reserved chicken pieces.) Process the trimmings in a food processor until smooth, about 20 seconds. Transfer the puree to a medium bowl. Do not wash out the bowl of the food processor.
2. To make the stuffing, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until all moisture has evaporated and the mushrooms are golden brown, about 8-11 minutes. Add an additional tablespoon of oil as well as the leek; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 2-4 minutes. Mix in the garlic and thyme and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons of the lemon juice and cook until the moisture has evaporated, about 30 seconds. Transfer the mixture to the bowl of a food processor. Return the pan to the heat; add the wine and scrape the pan to loosen browned bits. Transfer the wine mixture to a small bowl and set aside. Turn off the heat on the pan.
3. Pule the mushroom mixture in the food processor until roughly chopped, about five 1-second pulses. Transfer the mushroom mixture to the bowl with the pureed chicken. Mix in half of the parsley and the salt and pepper. Use a spatula to fold together the stuffing ingredients until well combined.
4. With the chicken breasts laid out flat, spread a quarter of the filling mixture over each of the breasts, leaving a clear edge around the perimeter. Roll up each breast as tightly as possible without squeezing out the filling and place seam-side down. Tie evenly with 3 pieces of twine around each chicken breast.
5. Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add the chicken bundles and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Add the broth and reserved wine mixture to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 160 degrees, about 12-18 minutes. Transfer to a plate or cutting board and tent loosely with foil.
6. While the chicken is resting, whisk the mustard into the cooking liquid. Bring the heat to a high simmer, scraping the pan bottom to loosen browned bits. Simmer until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 7-10 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the butter, remaining parsley, and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the pieces of twine, slice the chicken pieces on a slight diagonal, and serve with sauce spooned over the top.

Source: Annie’s Eats

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