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Bundled in a pretty package

October 6, 2014

Fresh figs, prosciutto and Comte cheese fill a chicken breast, served with a simple pan sauce.

A stuffed chicken breast or other meat is an elegant way to change up the dinner menu. And it need not take a great deal of time. Simply prepare a filling, pound the chicken to create more surface area, spread on the filling, roll and secure.

A bit of kitchen string does the job neatly and quickly; just bundle up as if tying ribbon around a birthday present. A few toothpicks also do the job, but might make the chicken pieces a bit difficult to turn in the skillet to brown all sides.

This version takes advantage of seasonal figs, but you could use dried. Soak them for 10 or 15 minutes in hot water or warmed port or other sweet wine if they seem a bit hard.

To serve, slice the bundles crosswise, revealing the pretty filling and drizzle with the pan sauce. The weeknight meal will seem like a special occasion.

FIG- AND CHEESE-STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Makes: 4 servings

8 to 10 fresh black mission figs (or 4 brown Turkey figs), stemmed, finely chopped

2 ounces Comte or similar cheese, finely diced or grated

4 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves

2 tablespoons very finely chopped tropea or other red onion

1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

4 boneless chicken breasts, pounded about 1/4 inch thick

4 to 8 thin slices prosciutto or other cured ham

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 cup dry white wine or dessert wine

1 or 2 tablespoons cold butter

Mix together the figs, cheese, thyme and onion in a small bowl; season with a pinch of salt. Lay chicken pieces flat on a baking sheet or other work surface. Cover with prosciutto slices, 1 or 2 per chicken breast, depending on their size. Divide the fig mixture among the chicken breasts, spreading thinly. Starting from a narrow end, roll up each chicken breast, compressing to keep the filling inside the best you can. Secure each with toothpicks, 3 or 4 per breast, or kitchen string, tying the bundle like a gift box. (Securing the rolled meat with string will make cooking easier, but it takes more time.)

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the outside of the chicken with salt. Add chicken to the skillet; cook to brown all over, turning as needed, 8 minutes. Pour off most of the fat from the skillet. Add the wine; reduce heat to a simmer and cover the skillet. Cook until chicken is cooked through, 5 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a plate; turn heat under the skillet to high. Stir in butter to thicken sauce; cook to reduce slightly. Serve chicken, sliced crosswise, with the sauce.

Nutrition information per serving: 440 calories, 18 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 139 mg cholesterol, 20 g carbohydrates, 47 g protein, 1,183 mg sodium, 3 g fiber

 

 


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