I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! Our Christmas Eve buffet was splendid, featuring a beautiful antipasto salad, stuffed shrimp, meatballs, kielbasa and sauerkraut, and homemade manicotti. And of course, a dessert buffet featuring fruit salad, apple cranberry crisp, candy, and lots of cookies.
Christmas dinner was a much smaller affair, and so we planned a simpler meal centered around these stuffed chicken breasts featured on the Today Show. If you’ve ever struggled to cut a pocket in a chicken breast, you need to watch this video and see Mark Bittman’s easy method for making stuffed chicken.
The stuffing in the original recipe calls for pine nuts and raisins, but my Mom made a more savory stuffing. We started with Connecticut-grown spinach purchased from the Billings Forge Farmer’s Market in Hartford. After the spinach was sauteed, we added panko breadcrumbs, pancetta, vegetable broth, and Parmesan cheese. Then my Dad pounded the chicken breasts and placed the stuffing between two pieces, securing it with string. We sauteed the chicken breasts on each side until lightly brown.
This pan went right into the oven, and in about 15-20 minutes, the chicken breasts were cooked through. The chicken was removed from the pan, and we made the sauce with balsamic vinegar and mustard as indicated in the original recipe. Accompanied by potatoes, root vegetables, Brussels sprouts, and cranberry sauce, it was a great meal.
We all loved the chicken, and this method of stuffing the breasts was so much easier than traditional methods. The vegetable recipes are coming up next!