NEWGRACENEWS.COM CHICKEN

by Reese Millridge

I have a confession to make. I am very surprised to be writing this article. This is only the second edition I am appearing in and I have spent the last two weeks fretting over what to make as if this decision was some crucial turning point in my life. Should I make a vegetable dish to show that I believe in  healthy cooking?  Should I make Amaretto Crème Brulee to show I am creative or will that be seen as decadent?

Then on Thursday night my husband, Merrick, told me his cousin and his wife were coming to town and he invited them for dinner on Friday. I knew instantly what I was going to make – Chicken Breast Stuffed with Tomato, Zucchini and Basil.  How come that decision was easy? Wow, it could be the same decision.

Don’t let the pictures intimidate you into thinking that this is a difficult dish. Trust me it is not. It’s a bit time consuming, but if you think of it as a craft project instead of a culinary creation its difficulty level seems to go way down.  One warning I must give you, this dish takes time – marinating the chicken, cutting the vegetables, stuffing the chicken and heating the grill if you want to make it over the fire which is how I prepared it, however, you can cook it in the oven.  So if it is 5:00 and dinner is at 6:00 this is not the meal for you.  It can be done, but the flavors won’t have a chance to really develop.

NEWGRACENEWS.COM STUFFED CHICKEN

CHICKEN BREAST STUFFED WITH TOMATO, ZUCCHINI AND BASIL

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon oregano, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 8 basil leaves
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. The first thing you need to do is butterfly the chicken. Simply slice the chicken from one side to within a half an inch of the other, open it up and pound it flat (this video shows you how). Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Now let’s make the marinade. Here we get into a little personal preference. You can mix all the marinating ingredients in a bowl big enough to flip the chicken around in to coat it or you can mix it in a small bowl and then use a brush to paint the marinate on the chicken – same results. Let the marinade do its thing for at least 30 minutes (I put it in the refrigerator for three hours and went shopping, but that’s just me).
  3. While the chicken is marinating, thinly slice the tomato and the zucchini. Remember, neatness counts, part of this dish's appeal is how pretty it is – even slices.
  4. NEWGRACENEWS.COM STUFFED CHICKEN It’s time to stuff the chicken. Save the marinade. Lay the chicken flat and layer the tomato, zucchini and basil on one side of the breast. Drizzle some of the marinade* over the vegetables, it will make them more flavorful and keep them from drying out. Fold the other side over the vegetables and hold it in place with toothpicks or tie it closed.
  5. Cook the chicken over a medium fire, carefully turning often until done or cook in a 400 degree oven, either way it will take around 20 – 30 minutes.
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Don’t forget you can make this ‘your’ way.  Try replacing the zucchini with asparagus. Do you prefer thyme to basil? How would you make it?

Eat and enjoy,

reese's signature

*NEVER use the marinade for any kind of meat or fish on the cooked dish; it can make you very sick.  In this case we have not cooked it yet, and it is the same stuff it has been absorbing, so it is safe. If you fear you might overcook the meat, making it dry, you can quickly whip up a bit more marinade to drizzle over it when you serve it if you need to.