Sunday, January 1, 2012

Stuffed Chicken with Tomatoes and Arugula

I got some pretty rad new additions to my kitchen for Christmas!
  • Crockpot (from my parents)
  • Cast iron dutch oven pot thing (from LeGreg's parents, at his suggestion)
  • What to Cook & How to Cook It, by Jane Hornby (from my sister)
My sister got me the cookbook after I flipped when she mentioned making goat cheese stuffed, bacon wrapped chicken. Can you even imagine. The cookbook is rad, because it shows pictures of the ingredients and each step of each recipe. I had to stop putting sticky notes on the recipes I liked out of it, because it was basically every page.

Last night, for New Years Eve, I decided to make that chicken for LeGreg and our friends Nic and Rob. It was....killer.

Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Serves: 4 (easily halved)

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
4 med skinless boneless chicken breasts (omg the ones I got from Trader Joe's were ENORMOUS)
3.5 oz soft goat cheese (or any full-fat soft cheese)
8 strips dry-cured smoked bacon (Trader Joe's didn't have any cured bacon, so I just got smoked un-cured)
1 Tbl sunflower or veggie oil
4 large or 6 smaller ripe tomatoes (I got 5 med, and it was A LOT...but not too much)
1 clove of garlic
2 Tbl extra-virgin olive oil
3.5 oz arugula or other leafy salad green
1/2 lemon

Preheat the oven to 400F. Finely chop the needle-shape leaves from the rosemary. Put the chicken onto a cutting board. Using a small sharp knife, cut a slit into the thickest part of each chicken breast, then poke down inside the chicken to make a pocket, using your fingers to help, then seal the pocket up as well as you can (uhhh.....yeah right).

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with half of the rosemary. Wrap 2 strips of the bacon tightly around each piece of chicken, tucking in any loose ends.

Place a shallow, flameproof casserole (dish?) (like your brand new cast iron dish!!) over high heat, then add the sunflower or veggie oil. After 30 secs, add the chicken. Cook for at least 2 mins on each side, until the bacon is starting to turn golden. Kitchen tongs are useful here. (The bacon totally stuck to the pan and my gigantor chicken had to be shoved in there for all 4 pieces to fit, so it looked slightly mangled by the time they were done browning. Oops)

Meanwhile, very thickly slice the tomatoes and thinly slice the garlic. Add the tomatoes to the casserole (DISH), then sprinkle them with the remaining rosemary and the garlic. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with about 1/2 Tbl of the olive oil. Put the pan into the oven for 25 mins.

Remove the pan from the oven and set aside for a couple of minutes to let the chicken rest. The chicken will be surrounded with delicious tomato flavored juices.

(I stopped here. I didn't serve with the arugula, instead I served with a side of green beans. )

Put the arugula into a large bowl. Squeeze the juice from the lemon over it and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve the chicken with the salad, drizzling some of the pan juices around each plate.

Everyone, including myself, LOVED this. The chicken was cooked perfectly, the goat cheese was creamy and delish, and BACON. 

I really need to get some different colored plates to take my pics on. My pea green plates look like snot on camera! Damn it...

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