December 18, 2008

Italian Stuffed Chicken

Pre-game meals are one of the most important meals in my home. Like any athlete, my boyfriend is concerned about his meal preceding his evening hockey games. Whether it is a home game or an away game, a massive carb oriented lunch is created that day. This past Tuesday I was trying to think up some ideas other than pasta, chicken parm, and roasted potatoes, which was turning out to be our go to meal. That was when this idea hit me. My boyfriend wanted stuffed chicken, so I naturally suggested something Italian, since we are living in Italy.

This recipe is great because it really is quick and simple. Not to mention you can pair it with almost any side dish. I served it with an Italian risotto mix I found that was actually gluten free. Normally I make my own risotto, but when in Italy, the mixes work just as well. This one was made up of freeze dried zucchini, peppers, olives, spices, and of course rice. However, cooking risotto is an art and you simply just don't dump this mix into bowling water. I patiently babied this risotto for a good 20 minutes. Stirring, adding broth, a touch of vino bianco, butter, and lots of love, because to me a good risotto is completely worth it.

Now for the chicken, I have to give complete credit to my boyfriend in executing this one. I had never created stuffed chicken before this and believed that if I just made a pocket in the chicken, everything else would follow perfectly. Well to my surprise making stuff chicken, like risotto, can be seen as an art form. I watched closely with grated asiago cheese in hand and fresh parma prosciutto crudo cascading its aroma around the kitchen, as my boyfriend taught me about the "portefeuille" technique, also known in English as the wallet technique. At this point I almost felt I should start taking notes. He cut the chicken with such finesse and precision, that I have to admit I was thoroughly impressed. But after that initial act was done, I butted back in, as I simply can’t let someone else do all the cooking. And is his words, I took back my kitchen! The meal turned out to be fantastic and I did take a picture of it, but realized to my dismay that my memory card was not in my camera. So, alas there is no photo. But I guarantee you this meal will become a pre-game favorite and in due time I will have a mouth-watering photo to display for everyone.

Italian Stuffed Chicken

~2 large thick chicken breasts(combined should equal a pound or more)
~80 g prosciutto(not ham)
~1 cup grated asiago cheese(or provolone, gouda, etc.)
~gluten free bread crumbs
~1 egg
~olive oil
~salt and pepper

Cut any excess fat from chicken breasts, then lay flat. While pressing your hand down on the chicken breast, cut chicken into a "wallet" being careful not to cut through the other side. Once the pocket is complete, stuff with prosciutto, followed by cheese. Then let the pocket close. You do not want the chicken stuffed so full that it is overflowing. Set chicken aside. Crack egg into bowl and stir thoroughly. Coat two plates, one with cornstarch and the other with bread crumbs. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dip one chicken into egg, then place it on the plate of cornstarch. Completely cover with a light layer and then dip in bread crumbs, cover completely. Repeat with other chicken. Heat a skillet to medium heat and cook both chicken breasts in 2 tbs olive oil for 2-3 minutes on both sides. Then transfer them into baking dish and place in oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes at 350F. At this point, while chicken is cooking, you can make your risotto or other side dish.

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