Thursday, December 8, 2011

Goat cheese stuffed chicken breast with couscous & braised kale

Most of the time dinner at home doesn't need to be overly difficult to taste good and satisfy, especially when you have been working all day and the last thing you want to do is spend an ungodly amount of time in the kitchen when all you want is something warm, that tastes good, and isn't terrible for you.
This is what drives a lot of my cooking day in and day out. I want my food to taste good without being too terrible for me.
Gail has slowly been incorporating a little bit of meat into her diet here and there. This usually happens in one of a few ways: We are out to dinner and I am enjoying a particularly tasty bit of meat and I offer her some to try, I have brought home some sort of salami or other meat preserve that I offer up, or I cook something in the hopes that she will eat more then 3 bites (which means she might actually like it)

Earlier this week we enjoyed a simple and satisfying dinner of breaded chicken breasted stuffed with goat cheese, garlic couscous, and braised kale. Not everything was local, but I was able to include the chicken breast from John Crow Farm & the russian red kale from Heron Pond Farm.
The best part is that the chicken breast can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance and stored in the refrigerator until it is time to throw into the oven. Once the chicken is in the oven (35 minutes cooking you can relax for a few minutes, and then start on the braised kale (20 minutes) & couscous (10 minutes).

Braised Kale
2 lbs kale
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 cup chicken stock
Wash, trim and chop kale. In a medium pot heat oil and lightly saute the garlic. Add kale and chicken stock. Cook covered for 12 minutes.

Goat Cheese Stuffed Breaded Chicken Breasts
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
salt and ground black pepper
cheese filling (I used 4 oz herbed goat cheese from Westfield Farm)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4-5 slices of bread (to make bread crumbs, or you can use store bought)
1 cup all-purpose flour
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
For the breadcrumbs: Preheat oven to 300 F. Place half the bread in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Repeat with remaining bread. Toss the bread crumbs with oil, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper and spread on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake, stirring a few times, until the crumbs are golden brown and dry, 22-25 minutes. Transfer to a small dish and let cool completely.
For the chicken: Butterfly each chicken breast by slicing it lengthwise almost in half (start with the thin side) and then open to create a single cutlet. Place each cutlet between sheets of plastic wrap and pound until cutlets are 1/4-in thick. Place cheese filling in the center of each breast. Roll tightly over the filling and ensure the cheese is completely enclosed and forms a cylinder. Press the seam to seal. Repeat for each breast. Refrigerate the chicken, seam side down and uncovered for 1 hour to allow the edges to seal further.
Combine the flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper in a shallow dish and whisk the eggs and Dijon together in a second shallow dish. Take 1 chicken breast at a time, dredge in the flour, then coat with the egg mixture,, and finally roll in bread crumbs.
At this point the chicken can be stored for up to 24 hours. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 F and place the chicken in an oven safe dish. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Let rest 5 minutes & serve.

I prepped the chicken breasts early in the morning and left them in the fridge all day.  Everything else was prepared while the chicken was in the oven. No fuss & the leftovers were a great lunch!

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