Do You Have Any Crack?

And, by crack, I mean culinary crack. And, by culinary crack, I mean epicurious.com. I realized the other day that I have seriously gone overboard with making recipes from the E lately. It’s because I’m antsy-pantsy and rather impatient.

I don’t like doing the same recipe over and over again. But, I also don’t want to spend 200 hours in the kitchen trying to get that perfect sauce (or at the very least trying not to overcook some meat bits). I’d rather go to my crack source, get a recipe that sounds tasty, and then read all of the user comments. Then, I steal from them and voila! presto change-o! people think I’m a good cook.

But, I need to stop relying on others to do my dirty work. I also need to stop relying on the computer to help me cook. What if the power went out? (And the way my lights are flickering these days, it’s a wonder we haven’t blown a fuse… have I mentioned that I can no longer run my microwave while the washer is on a spin cycle? Good times at the old ranch. Good times.)

Back to my rustic cooking: What would happen if the power went out and I couldn’t get something from epi-crack.com? Well, I wouldn’t be able to cook because my gas stove has an electric start and the microwave is already toasted from the above power outage so I guess this is a moot point.

NO! No, points that can’t speak. The real point is that I need more cookbooks. (See how nicely I turned my laziness into my buying-ness?) That’s why this turkey day weekend, I’m off to King Books in the D to get my hands on some dusty cookbooks for more ancient crockery fun. In the meantime, this is the last recipe from that crutch of a cooking web site. (Original epicurious.com recipe here.)

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goodies

(well actually goat cheese and basil)

Chicken

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • ½ C fresh goat cheese (about 4 oz) (If you don’t have goat cheese, cream cheese would do in a pinch, but then it makes it less fancy because you have to tell your guests that their chicken boobs are stuffed with cream cheese instead of saying, “This chicken boob is stuffed with cheese from a French speaking goat.” Your choice. I’m just saying….)
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 basil leaves, shredded
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten to blend
  • ½ C cup dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 T (¼ stick) unsalted butter melted

Mushroom-Wine Sauce

  • ¼ C (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • ½ lb mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ C dry white wine
  • ⅔ C chicken stock
  • 4 T chilled unsalted butter (½ stick), cut into 4 pieces
  • Salt and pepper

For chicken:

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Before we get to the actual recipe, I’m going to say this: If your chicken breast is very thick, you’re going to want to slice down the middle. (Not the long way or the short way, but the hard way where you put your hand on top of the chicken and slice the entire thing so it opens like a book.) If you don’t do this, pounding your chicken is just going to turn it into chicken shreds. Such a mess chicken breast number one… such a mess.

Pound chicken between sheets of waxed paper to thickness of ¼-inch using meat mallet. (Yeah, I don’t use the wax paper. This might be part of my problem.) Pat chicken dry.

Combine cheese, green onions, and basil in small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Spread cheese mixture lengthwise over half of each chicken piece. Tuck short ends in. Roll chicken up, starting at one long side, into tight cylinders. Secure the heck out of the roll with toothpicks. Dip chicken in egg, allowing excess to drip into bowl. Roll in breadcrumbs, shaking off excess. (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead if you slap it in the refrigerator.)

Place chicken in 8-inch square baking dish. Pour 2 T melted butter over. Bake until cooked through, about 20 minutes. (Right. I needed a bit more… more like 45 minutes… but my chicken boobs were extra big.)

For sauce:

Meanwhile, melt ¼ C butter in heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes (I did it way longer—like maybe 15-20 minutes). Add wine and boil 3 minutes (Again a bit longer, like 5 minutes total). Add stock and boil until liquid is reduced by half, about 6 minutes (Took longer than 6 minutes… but you get the idea).

Remove from heat and swirl in 4 T cold butter one piece at a time. Season sauce with salt and freshly ground pepper. Remove toothpicks from chicken. Cut rolls crosswise into ½-inch-thick rounds. Fan on plates. Serve immediately, passing sauce separately.

Results

Fabulous! (No pictures as they were all garbage.) The chicken is moist (icky, hateful word), but the butter sauce really makes it. I guess the cheese also doesn’t hurt. Putting cheese inside anything is a tasty pastime of which all Americans should be proud.

Seriously, this is an easy (weekday? maybe) recipe. And, the mushroom wine sauce is a staple for other dishes as well. It’s particularly nice on potatoes. You should give that a whirl.

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  1. #1 by Andrea on 11.18.2011 - 6:24 pm

    If you are looking for cookbooks, I saw this- we get the magazine at work.

    http://www.rabelaisbooks.com/home.php
    This is a culinary book store in Portland, Maine.

    In this month’s Bon Appetit they picked the “year’s top titles.”

    Home Made: The ultimate DIY Cookbook (Amsterdam restaurant)
    American Flavor (New York chef)
    The Family Meal: Home Cooking with Ferran Adria
    The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts (Montreal restaurant-comfort food)
    Mourad: New Moroccan (San Fran chef)
    Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal (yuck)
    Eleven Madison Park: The Cookbook (New York Restaurant)
    Bocca Cookbook (London chef- mostly Italian food)

    My pick is the first one.

    • #2 by e.marie on 11.21.2011 - 12:04 pm

      oh no!! now i have even more books on my list… thanks though… i will have to check them out…

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