Tuesday, November 25, 2008

stuffed chicken marsala

I often order Chicken Marsala when dining in an Italian restaurant. It's one of those dishes that I sometimes crave. Since we don't often eat out, I satisfy the craving with this recipe. The stuffing of prosciutto and fontina cheese makes it special and is easier than you would think. My trick of wrapping the cheese in the prosciutto keeps the cheese from oozing out while it cooks.

stuffed chicken marsala

4 chicken breasts
4 slices prosciutto
4 pieces fontina cheese
flour, for dredging
olive oil
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup diced onion
2 minced garlic cloves
1/2 cup marsala wine
2 cups chicken stock
1 tbsp butter, at room temperature
1 tbsp flour

Cut pockets into the side of the chicken breasts. Season the breasts with salt, pepper and thyme. Place a piece of cheese at one end of a prosciutto slice and roll up, tucking the sides over the cheese. Carefully stuff the roll into the pocket of a chicken breast. Repeat with remaining chicken, cheese and prosciutto. Dip chicken breasts into flour to coat. Heat a large skillet. Add olive oil and saute chicken breasts until brown on both sides. Remove from skillet. Add mushrooms, onions and garlic to the skillet and cook over high heat, adding more oil if necessary, till mushrooms are browned. Add marsala to skillet and reduce by half. Add chicken stock and put chicken back into the pan. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 5 to 10 minutes. While it is cooking, mix the butter and flour together till it forms a paste. This is called a beurre manie. Transfer cooked chicken to a platter. Thicken the sauce by whisking the beurre manie into it and cooking for a few minutes. Add fresh parsley. Serve the chicken with a long pasta like fettuccine, spaghetti or egg noodles and top with the marsala sauce.

We should look for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink... ~Epicurus

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

lemon-herb roasted chicken and potatoes

This is my family's favorite recipe for roast chicken. What makes it stand apart, in my opinion, from the hundreds of other lemon roasted chicken recipes is the addition of lemon curd. You may not be familiar with lemon curd but if you have had lemon meringue pie than you have had something very similar. It is a traditional British spread typically eaten with scones and used as a tart filling. You can find commercially produced lemon curd at the grocery store, usually in the jam aisle, but homemade is easy to make and much better tasting. My recipe is lower in fat than most and when I know I am using it in this recipe I also use less sugar. When rubbed under and over the chicken skin it creates a lovely tangy glaze.

lemon-herb roasted chicken and potatoes

1 - 4 pound chicken
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher or sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1/3 cup lemon curd (recipe follows)
4 - 6 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 inch dice

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
Remove and discard giblets and neck from chicken. Rinse chicken with cold water, pat dry. Starting at neck cavity, loosen skin from breasts and legs by inserting fingers, gently pushing between skin and meat.
Combine the rosemary, thyme, salt, pepper and garlic. Toss 1/3 of the mixture with the cubed potatoes in a bowl. Rub the remaining mixture under loosened skin over the breasts and legs. Lift wing tips up and over back; tuck under chicken.
Place chicken in a roasting pan. Rub the lemon curd under and over the skin. Tie legs together with kitchen twine.
Scatter the potatoes around the chicken in the roasting pan.
Roast at 450 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and stir potatoes. Return to the oven and reduce the temperature to 350 degrees. Roast for an additional hour or until the thigh meat reaches 180 degrees, tested with an instant read thermometer, stirring the potatoes every 30 minutes so they will brown evenly. Remove the chicken from the oven and cover loosely with foil. Let stand 10 minutes before carving.

lemon curd

2/3 cup sugar (3/4 cup if using in a sweet recipe)
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
2 large eggs
2/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 large lemons)
2 tablespoons butter

Combine the first 3 ingredients in a saucepan and stir with a whisk. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until sugar dissolves and mixture becomes light in color (about 4 minutes).
Stir in lemon juice and butter and cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes or until mixture thinly coats the back of a spoon.
Cool. Cover and chill.
Lemon curd can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week or frozen for longer storage.

We are living in a world today where lemonade is made from artificial flavors and furniture polish is made from real lemons. ~Alfred E. Newman