This is one of my all-time favorite recipes. Although it might appear a bit daunting to a novice cook because you have to butterfly and stuff it, it’s actually easy to prepare, making it a great weekday dinner. It also happens to be a perfect entree for a dinner party because you can assemble it in advance, just short of cooking it. It just screams impressive and elegant! I like serving it with a simple saute (that means fried) of baby spinach that will absorb the delicious sauce you’ve built with the chicken. See my recipe for Saute of Baby Spinach with Garlic. You can also add mashed potatoes or a different starch if you want to really round out the meal. I promise you that within a month, you will have these “add-ons” in your culinary arsenal!
You might wonder why I have you salt and pepper foods within the same recipe more than once. It’s for two reasons. One is that it layers and builds the flavors and the other is that it enables you to control the amount of salt and pepper while you’re cooking. Recipes that call for chicken or beef broth, for example, will never be uniform in taste among different cooks because you might purchase different brands of broth (you’re still clueless so I’m not teaching you how to make your own broths . . . yet). You need to taste as you cook so you’ll be able to adjust the salt and spices accordingly. Think of my recipes as a roadmap and if you need to detour, it’s fine with me.
Note: chicken breasts vary widely in size. The breast might come from a small “broiler” chicken that could weigh only 3 – 1/2 pounds or from a capon (sorry guys, but that’s a castrated rooster) that can weigh 10-12 pounds. This recipe is intended for small to medium- sized chicken breasts. If your chicken breasts are huge, they won’t all fit into one skillet. Here’s how to trim them:
Using a sharp paring knife, trim the visible fat you see. There is usually a bit sticking to both sides of the breast at the narrow end. You’ll also see that there’s a bit of fat and white gristle connected to the wider end of the chicken breast. Cut this portion away — yes, you’ll be discarding a small amount of chicken that’s attached to the fat and gristle. (See photo below in the recipe.) I’ll teach you how to save this “chunk” of meat and fat to make broth in the future. The other side of the chicken breast might have a whitish strip running down its side that needs to be trimmed away as well. Some breasts will have it, and others won’t. Look at the photo and you’ll see the strip that’s been cut away. If your breast does have it, simply slide your knife under the start of the “strip” and gently run your knife under to remove it.
Purchase two cutting boards: one for meat and one for everything else. Now you don’t have to haul out the bleach.
CHICKEN BREAST STUFFED WITH PROSCIUTTO, GRUYERE & SAGE
- 4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
- 4 slices prosciutto
- salt and pepper to taste
- 4 teaspoons grated Romano cheese
- 8 heaping tablespoons grated Gruyere or Swiss cheese
- 4 fresh sage leaves – stack them on top of one another, roll them as in a cigar, slice into strips, rotate 90 degrees and then cut in the other direction. Finally take your knife and give another chop or two – see photo below for guide in how finely to chop
- 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray a large 12-inch skillet with cooking spray. Place the prosciutto slices in the pan and cook on both sides over medium heat until they’re slightly crispy. This will take between 3-5 minutes, depending on the brand of prosciutto. The fattier the prosciutto, the quicker it will crisp up. If your brand is super lean, it won’t crisp up as much. Remove the slices to a plate and let cool.
- Trim the excess fat from the chicken breasts. Usually, there’s a rough white vein on one side that needs to be removed and a section of fat with some chicken attached on the other side.
- Using a sharp knife, slice the breast in half horizontally to open it up like a book. DON’T slice all the way through!
- Place the butterflied breast between a sheet of waxed paper, or in a large plastic bag, and gently pound the thicker parts so that the breast is the same thickness.
- Repeat with the remaining breasts.
- Sprinkle salt and pepper over both sides of the butterflied chicken and rub it in.
- Sprinkle one teaspoon of Romano cheese evenly over each breast. Crumble a crisped prosciutto slice and sprinkle it over the cheese. Place two heaping tablespoons of the Gruyere on top, followed by the chopped sage leaves.
- Carefully fold each breast in half, stuffing whatever falls out back inside.
- Put the flour on a flat plate. Add the 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper and mix well to combine. Place each breast in the seasoned flour (this is called dredging), coating it on both sides.
- Heat the olive oil in the same skillet you used for the prosciutto over medium high heat. Sprinkle a drop of water into the pan, and when you hear it sizzle, place the chicken breasts in the pan.
- Cook for about 3 minutes and then carefully turn each breast over. Cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Pour the wine over the chicken and place the skillet in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the oven and place the chicken on a serving platter.
- Put the skillet on the stove and heat over medium heat. Add the butter, and scrape any bits that might have stuck to the pan. Cook for a minute to blend the sauce.
- Pour over the chicken and serve.