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.


Weeknight Enchiladas

enchilada-sunny-finalAs promised, below is my favorite recipe for leftover chicken.  Truth be told, however, RJ and I often go to the grocery store and buy a rotisserie chicken for the sole purpose of making these enchiladas.  They are fast to come together, delicious, and they work well for lunch the next day too.  Making your own enchilada sauce is optional, but the El Paso stuff in the can is nowhere near as flavorful or satisfying as the homemade.  It doesn’t add too much time to your prep either.  I, too, will be brief today, and just let the recipe speak for itself.

Quick Enchiladas, copied from The Best 30-Minute Recipe
quick enchiladas

2 c. finely shredded chicken, beef or pork
3/4 c. refried beans
1 1/2 c. enchilada sauce (either from the can or see the recipe below)
2 oz. canned chopped green chiles (optional)
1/2 c. chopped cilantro
3 c. shredded cheddar cheese
pack of 8 inch corn or flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Lightly spray 13×9 in baking dish with vegetable oil spray and set aside.

Combine the meat, refried beans, 1/2 cup of the enchilada sauce, and – if using – 2 oz. chopped green chiles in a microwave-safe bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Microwave on high until hot, 1-3 minutes.  Stir cilantro and 1 1/2 cups of the cheddar cheese into chicken mixture and set aside.enchilada-mix

Microwave your tortillas until warm and pliable, about 40-60 seconds.  Arrange warm tortillas on clean work surface.  Divide meat mixture evenly among tortillas, about 1/4 cup filling per enchilada, and spread evenly down center of each.  Tightly roll tortilla around filling.  Place seam-side down in baking dish.

Lightly spray enchiladas with vegetable oil spray. Pour 1 c. enchilada sauce over enchiladas to coat.  Sprinkle 1 1/2 shredded cheese over enchiladas.  Cover baking dish with foil and bake until enchiladas are heated through, 10 minutes.  Remove foil and continue to bake until cheese is completely melted, about 5 minutes longer.  Serve with sour cream and (optional) warmed enchilada sauce.

Fast Enchilada Sauce

1 Tbs. vegetable oil
1 onion, minced
Salt and pepper
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbs. chili powder
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. sugar
2 (8 oz.) cans tomato sauce
1/2 c. water

Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until very hot.  Add minced onion and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook until onions soften, about 5 min.  Stir in garlic, chili powder, cumin and sugar.  Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Stir in tomato sauce and water.  Bring to simmer and cook until slightly thickened (see picture) about 5 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  If you like a smoother sauce, strain through a fine-mesh strainer.