pecan stuffed chicken breast

pecan stuffed chicken breast



INGREDIENTS: Recipe courtesy of Daphne Brogdon, modified 
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus for drizzling
4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 to 7 ounces each), butterflied*
1 tablespoon molasses, mixed with 2 teaspoons hot water
1 teaspoon ground fennel
Salt and fresh ground pepper
1 medium shallot, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup pecans, toasted, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon
3 tablespoons safflower or grape seed oil
1 cup white wine
1 cup chicken broth
Half 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

*I asked my butcher (or the person at the meat counter at your market) to butterfly and even out the meat. It was way easier than doing this at home.

pecan stuffed chicken breast

Lay out a 15-inch-long piece of plastic wrap on a cutting board and drizzle it with a little olive oil. Lay a butterflied chicken breast, cut side up, on the plastic wrap. Fold the plastic wrap over to cover. Using a meat pounder, pound out the thicker parts of the breast so that it’s uniformly thick. Fold the plastic wrap open and brush the chicken breast with the molasses; season with generous pinches of fennel, salt and pepper. (This will be the inside part of the breast that gets stuffed.) Fold the plastic wrap back over and flip the breast over. Fold plastic wrap open and season the other side of the breast with salt and pepper. (This is the outside that will later get seared in the pan.) Re-cover with the plastic wrap and place on a plate. Repeat this process with the remaining chicken breasts. Refrigerate for 1 hour or up to overnight.

pecan stuffed chicken breast

Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions, season with salt and pepper, and saute until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and pecans, and cook another 2 minutes. Add the tarragon and cook another minute. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

pecan stuffed chicken breast

Remove a butterflied breast from the plastic wrap. Place it on a cutting board, molasses-side up. Place 1/4 cup of the filling on half of the chicken breast. Fold over the other half to enclose the filling. Using a bamboo skewer, close up the opening by threading the skewer through one end of the opening to the other to secure. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts and filling.

pecan stuffed chicken breast
pecan stuffed chicken breast

Heat the canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the stuffed chicken breasts and cook for about 3 minutes per side, until nicely browned. Add the wine, chicken broth and crushed tomatoes. Turn down the heat to low, cover, and poach until the chicken is cooked through, another 8 minutes.

Pecan stuffed chicken breast.

Transfer the chicken to a plate, remove the skewers, cover the chicken with foil and let rest for 5 minutes. While chicken is resting, turn up the heat on the poaching liquid to medium, add the crushed red pepper, and let simmer until thickened and reduced by a third, about 5 minutes (I did it for 15 because I wanted it really thick). Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Strain the sauce into a small pot and keep warm over low heat until ready to serve. Instead of the liquid, I used the tomato mixture as my dressing and it was glorious.

To serve: Slice the chicken, if desired, and arrange on a serving platter. Pour some sauce over the top. Serve immediately, with extra sauce on the side.

pecan stuffed chicken breast
pecan stuffed chicken breast

brunch for two: lemon chicken + roasted veg salad


LEMON CHICKEN INGREDIENTS: 2 large {or 4 small} chicken cutlets pounded to 1/2 inch thick | 1 cup whole wheat flour | 1 tsp cracked black pepper +1 tsp sea salt| Zest + juice of one lemon | 1 lemon sliced thin | 2 tbsp butter + 1 tbsp olive oil |

LEMON CHICKEN DIRECTIONS: Mix the salt, pepper, lemon zest, and flour in a large bowl | Dredge the cutlets so both sides are covered | In a large pan melt the butter + olive oil | Add the chicken and lemon juice | Fry for 3-5 minutes per side | Remove the chicken from the pan, and add them to a bed of your roasted veggie salad {I added 2 cups of kale + an additional tbsp of oil to the original recipe} and add the sliced lemon, and fry for a minute on each side until the slices are golden brown | Add the slices and remaining juices to your culets | Serve pipping hot!

noodle salad with kale 
and chili-scallion oil

Can we just hit delete on this week and start over? What started as an irritating cough dovetailed, quickly, into a full-blown fever. It took collapsing on my couch — body ravaged with sweat — to realize that I might be under the weather. For two days, I couldn’t stop shivering; I couldn’t stop coughing. And the idea of eating a bite of food was unimaginable. I slept most of the day and into the night.

Of course when I’m alone and my mind wanders, I start to catalog all the things wrong with my life. The friends who have disappointed me, the projects that didn’t happen, the tax bill that hovers like some gruesome spector, and my violent, crippling indecision, my sheer inability to decide what it is that I want to do with my life — all of this haunts my waking hours.

I opened my laptop to work on my novel, and then immediately closed it because the act of writing felt like surgery. I ordered pancakes that I didn’t eat and cancelled a party because the amount of schedule juggling was just too much to manage while simultaneously coughing up my insides.

People who know me well know that I don’t like being immobile; I don’t like a rest I can’t control. So while I understand that these days are about getting healthy again, I can’t help but think they’re a waste. This was a week where I saw nominal progress on the novel. This was a week when I wasn’t vigilant about going after projects. This was a week when I watched movies and indulged in a modicum of self-pity.

At least I’m aware.

Believe me when I say that I made this noodle salad because I had to do something. Something had to mark the passage of today. Something.

{Apologies in advance for any typos or run-ons — I’m possibly still delirious from all the flu medication}

INGREDIENTS: Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit, with a slight modification.
For the chili-scallion oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 star anise pods
2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1 teaspoon Sichuan peppercorns
½ cup vegetable oil

For the noodles and assembly
6 oz. Japanese wheat noodles (such as ramen, somen, or udon)
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 cups kale, finely chopped
1 cup cilantro leaves or any sprout

For the chili-scallion oil
Cook all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat, swirling pan occasionally, until scallions and garlic are just golden brown, about 3 minutes. Let cool; transfer oil to a jar.

DO AHEAD: Chile oil can be made 4 days ahead. Cover and chill.

For the noodles and assembly
Cook noodles in a large pot of boiling water according to package directions; drain. Rinse noodles under cold water, then shake off as much water as possible. Whisk soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, and oil in a medium bowl until sugar dissolves. Add noodles, kale, cilantro, and scallions; toss to coat. Drizzle a tsp of chili oil over the noodles.