Carmelized Onion and Brie Stuffed Chicken

Brie Stuffed Chicken

chick-onionsSince my last chicken post was kind of a bust (no offense, honey, it just wasn’t really a recipe.  And besides no one can fry those Tyson tenders like you can – it can’t be taught!), I have a really really good one for you today.  This recipe was given to me by a friend who is taking a Healthy Cooking class out in Brookline, MA.  She shared with me some of the dishes she had already made, and I of course weeded through all the really healthy ones with such forbidden items as vegetables, tofu, and whole wheat flour, to find the only one my husband would eat.  And, boy, did he ever!  We are huge fans of this recipe, even more so when I have caramelized onions already on hand to make this even easier!  In fact, may I recommend to all of you that you always have some caramelized onions on hand?  They are great for stirring into risotto, topping on baked potatoes, adding to an omelette, layering into a vegetable gratin, incorporating into hors d’oeuvres or for any number of other possibilities.  And they do keep, especially if you freeze them this way.

Pounded Chicken BreastsIn any case, this dish just really tastes good.  I’ve made it with both grocery store President-brand brie and with the really good Brie de Nangis that my local cheese shop, Joppa Fine Foods, regularly stocks.  The good stuff does make for a richer and more flavorful result, but if you don’t have access to any, the grocery brands work fine.  Also, if pounding out chicken doesn’t sound all that fun to you, I would guess that you could make this recipe by cutting a deep slit into the side of a chicken breast (but not through to the other side) parallel to the cutting board, and stuffing the cheese mixture inside that way.  Close up the slit with a toothpick and proceed with the recipe.  You might not get quite as much filling, but it is more exciting than straight chicken! 

Brie and Caramelized Onion Stuffed Chicken Breast, adapted from Cooking Light May 1997

Onions and Wine1 Tbs. and 1 tsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 c. sliced onion
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/3 cup white wine or dry vermouth
2 oz. Brie, cut into small pieces
1 Tbs. fresh sage, chopped finely
2 skinless boneless chicken breasts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat 1/2 tsp. olive oil in large oven-proof pan (meaning no plastic handles) over medium heat, add sliced onion and cook 3 minutes, until browned. Add sliced garlic and saute until golden brown. Stir in 1/3 cup white wine and cook five minutes or until liquid is evaporated.

Filled ChickenSpoon onion mixture into bowl and let cool. Once cooled, stir in Brie, sage and salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, place one chicken breast into a large plastic bag or between two sheets of plastic wrap. Pound with a rolling pin or heavy sauce pan, using firm glancing blows, until chicken is approximately 1/4 inch thick. Repeat with all of the chicken breasts. Salt and pepper each piece to taste.

Place a dollop of stuffing mixture onto the chicken, roll up and secure with a toothpick. Repeat with the rest of the chicken. In the same skillet you used for the onions, add a bit more olive oil, and brown the chicken roll-ups on all sides.

Put the whole pan into the oven and bake for 25 minutes.  At this point, you can dig in and enjoy, or you can remove the chicken from the pan, and pour into the pan about a 1/2 cup of white wine and some minced garlic, stirring to pull up the browned bits.  As it starts to get thicker, stir in a couple teaspoons of butter, then pour over the chicken for a nice and easy sauce.


Roasting in all its Simplicity

Roasted Onions

So today marks my first official contribution to the “Barefoot Bloggers” – a group of people who share of love of Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa cookbooks and cook their way through them, assigning a new recipe every two weeks.  How kind of them to select a supremely un-intimidating recipe to ease my entry to the fold!  Actually, Kelly who chose this recipe most likely picked it because she likes onions.  And I hope she likes mustard, too, because whoo-eee this recipe has a strong mustard flavor to it.  The components here are extremely simple – some onions, a nice mustard-herb dressing, salt and pepper.  However, unlike many roasted veggie side dishes, you will not overlook this one!  As I said, the mustard flavor is pungent (and delicious) but more importantly, the final product is gorgeous.  By keeping the root intact, the onions stay in their wedges, but they tend to separate at the layers, fanning out into tender, aromatic petals which gather the dressing in their folds.

By necessity (I only had one red onion on hand) my final product has reversed the ratio of red onions to yellow, a mistake I won’t make again.  Something about the way a red onion deepens in color and develops its blackened crust, curling up a bit at the edges – they are just so festive!  Not to mention the fact that they make for much better photos.  I would also have cut my wedges a bit thinner.  Ina did not specify how many wedges to make out of an onion, but I would suggest 8-12, depending on the size of your onions.  If the wedges are too thick, they will need more cooking time – you want to get all of the raw out of those puppies!  Of course, you could add other vegetables to your pan here – peppers, potatoes, brussel sprouts, parsnips to name a few – but the power of the Barefoot Contessa recipe is really in the simplicity.

So give this dish a try as is, then adjust to your liking – it really is infinitely adaptable.  I’m thinking my next version will incorporate some tarragon in the dressing, or maybe a drizzle of a balsamic syrup right at the end.  This could definitely be a great addition to your Thanksgiving table as well, I might add.

Roasted Onions Roasted Onions
2 red onions
1 yellow onion
2 Tbs. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 Tbs. minced fresh thyme leaves
3/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. good olive oil
1/2 Tbs. minced fresh parsley leaves

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Remove the stem end of each onion and carefully slice off the brown part of the root end, leaving the root intact. Peel the onion. Stand each onion root end up on a cutting board and cut the onion in wedges through the root. Place the wedges in a bowl.
Roasted onions and vinaigrette
For the dressing, combine the lemon juice, mustard, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil. Pour the dressing over the onions and toss well.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the onions to a sheet pan, reserving the vinaigrette that remains in the bowl. Bake the onions for 30 to 45 minutes, until tender and browned. Toss the onions once during cooking. Remove from the oven, and drizzle with the reserved dressing. Sprinkle with parsley, season to taste and serve warm or at room temperature. Roasted onions