A Pocket Full of Summer

Just for the record: those potatoes in the background aren't burned - they're purple. It was simply necessary to get them because I had never before eaten a purple potato. You know how it is.

Tomato and basil recipes are springing up all over the place, it seems, and as this one’s been on my list to try for a while now it just made sense to jump on the bandwagon. It’s a mere twist on a basic tomato salad by using it as a filling for the chicken. While I have this squeamish thing about touching raw chicken, it is a necessary evil and I just love the way that stuffed chicken looks all prissy and elegant, like maybe somehow in another life I could give it a fancy title and charge ridiculous amounts for it and get it without question, and therefore I happily stuffed away. The filling, I think, either needs less lemon juice or a less moist/more crumbly feta, as I thought it was just shy of being a bit more runny than one would like it, and I'd remember that for the inevitable next time. Typing the recipe up, I just realized I also goofed on the buerre blanc, having used only and left out a 1/2 c butter, which would explain why it seemed not quite like the picture . . . To be honest, not knowing any better, it seemed tasty enough with just the half cup, though thin, and I had (until now) simply attributed it to using half-and-half instead of heavy cream to stabilize the sauce. But overall it's one I'm pleased with - but how can you really go wrong with fresh tomatoes and basil?

adapted from Cuisine At Home magazine, August 2003

for the chicken
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 c feta cheese, crumbled
3/4 c Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/4 c total mix of chopped fresh basil and parsley
1/4 c lemon juice
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 Tbsp garlic, minced or pressed
salt and pepper to taste
nonstick cook spray
for the buerre blanc
~ 1/2 c white wine
2 Tbsp or so orange muscat champagne vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp half-and-half
1 c cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon size pieces
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 tsp minced fresh parsley
2 tsp minced fresh chives

Prepare the chicken: Place your hand on the thickest part of the chicken breast and insert a boning or other thin knife into the chicken, making sure that the knife stays parallel with your cutting surface. Slowly move the knife in back and forth, side to side to make a pocket that takes up 1/2 to 3/4 of the length of the breast, leaving a small portion uncut at the end. There should be enough room to fit either a spoon or one to two fingers inside. Use your fingers to feel the inside of the pocket, widening it a bit, and breaking apart any layers the knife may have missed.
Once you've got the chicken ready for stuffing: in a bowl combine the feta, tomatoes, herbs, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt and pepper. Stuff each breast with about 1/4 c filling, making sure you tamp it in either with your fingers or the spoon. Mist both sides of the chicken with nonstick cook spray and season with salt and pepper.
Preheat an indoor open grill to high (or a regular grill to medium-high - oil the grates before cooking). Grill the chicken about 12-15 minutes per side until the chicken has cooked through.
While the chicken is cooking on the second side, make the buerre blanc: reduce the wine and vinegar over medium-high heat in a small saucepan until the liquid is reduced by half or so, about four-five minutes. Add the half-and-half and simmer again until reduced by half, a minute or two. Off heat, whisk in the butter, 2 Tbsp at a time, until melted. Stir in the lemon juice and the herbs. Serve over the chicken.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


That looks fresh and gorgeous! Well done ...

9:44 AM  

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