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Chicken Involtini in Lemon/Wine Sauce

Tired of boring, dried out chicken breasts? Here’s a way to pack some flavor into these bland cuts of meat and keep them moist at the same time. Start out with a couple of skinless, boneless chicken breasts and cut each one in half, then pound them with a meat mallet between sheets of waxed paper, to make them as even as possible.Next, spread some seasoned bread crumb filling on each one, topping with small bits of butter, less than one tablespoon for all four pieces.

Secure with toothpicks and mix the ingredients for the liquid – chicken broth, white wine, lemon juice and spices and herbs.

Season with salt and pepper, and place a small pat of butter on each chicken piece – about one tablespoon divided among the four pieces. Cook for only about ten minutes.

Doesn’t look like much yet. But just wait.

Top it with the reserved bread crumb mixture and place back in the oven for another five minutes, or until the topping is browned.

Reduce the sauce on the stove top if it’s too liquidy, but the bread crumbs do get absorbed and thicken the sauce.

Serve the involtini with some of the sauce and enjoy!

Chicken Involtini
 
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Ingredients
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 5 ounces each)
  • ¼ cup fine, dry bread crumbs
  • ⅛ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably the Sicilian or Greek type, dried on the branch, crumbled
  • salt, pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • ⅛ cup fresh lemon juice
  • a sprinkle of crushed hot red pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
Instructions
  1. Cut each chicken breast half in half crosswise to yield two pieces of roughly equal size.
  2. Place a piece of waxed paper over each piece , and pound with a meat pounder or mallet to flatten slightly.
  3. Toss the bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, ½ teaspoon of the oregano and salt, in a bowl until blended.
  4. Sprinkle each chicken breast with salt and pepper to taste, and spread with a bit of the bread crumb mixture, reserving half the crumbs.
  5. Roll each chicken piece, securing them with a toothpick.
  6. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.
  7. Arrange the filled chicken breasts in an ovenproof baking dish.
  8. Stir the wine, stock, lemon juice, hot pepper, the remaining olive oil and oregano and some salt and pepper to taste in a small bowl.
  9. Pour into the baking dish. whack the garlic cloves with the flat side of a knife and scatter them along the chicken pieces.
  10. Bake 10 minutes.
  11. Top the chicken with the butter, the remaining bread crumb mixture.
  12. Return to the oven and bake until the bread crumb topping is golden brown, about 5 minutes more or so.
  13. Remove the casserole from the oven, and if it is flameproof, put it over a medium high heat on the range to thicken and reduce the pan juices, adding more parsley.
  14. If the casserole is not flameproof, remove the chicken pieces and keep warm.
  15. Place the liquid in a pot, then reduce over a medium high flame.
  16. Serve the chicken pieces, removing the toothpicks and spreading the sauce around the chicken, in order to keep the topping crunchy.
 

Chicken with fennel and clementines

Before clementines and fennel bulbs disappear for the season, you’ve got to make this dish – if you haven’t already done so. It’s been around for a few years, and is one of my favorites from Yotam Ottolenghi, the Israeli chef whose recipes I go to when I have a yen for Middle Eastern food.

The combination of fennel and clementines, roasted at high temperature, along with the mustard and other ingredients, deliver an intense flavor to the chicken. I’ve taken a few liberties with the original recipe, replacing the Arak in favor of Sambuca, another anise flavored liqueur, and one that most Italian-Americans have in their pantry.

I also changed the quantities of some of the ingredients, adding more orange and lemon juice, for instance, to allow for more sauce to spoon over the chicken at the end, and to drizzle over rice or noodles you might like to serve on the side.

You’ll also notice I used chicken breasts in this recipe. Feel free to use legs or thighs, but always with the bone intact and the skin on. You could even use an entire small chicken, as Ottolenghi does, but if you do, make sure you increase the quantities of the other ingredients.

Chicken with fennel and clementines
 
Author:
 
Ingredients
  • For Two People:
  • 1 large chicken breast, with bones and skin, cut into four pieces
  • ¼ cup Sambuca, or any anise flavored liqueur
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ⅛ cup lemon juice
  • 2 T. grainy mustard
  • 2 T. light brown sugar
  • 1 medium fennel bulb, cut into about eight pieces
  • 2 clementines, sliced, with the skin on
  • 1 T. fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • salt, pepper, to taste
  • fennel fronds to garnish
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
  2. Mix the Sambuca, olive oil, orange and lemon juice, mustard and brown sugar and fennel seeds.
  3. Season the chicken pieces and fennel with salt and pepper and place in a lightly greased casserole. Scatter the clementine slices around, making sure that everything is in one layer. Pour half of the marinade over the chicken and fennel. If you have time, do this step ahead of time and let it sit at room temperature for an hour.
  4. Cook for about 35 to 45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked and the skin is slightly charred. About ten minutes before the chicken is fully cooked, pour the rest of the marinade over everything and finish cooking. If it doesn't look "browned" enough, crank up the temperature to 500 degrees.
 

 

 

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Chicken With Olives And Figs

Chicken with Olives and Figs

If you’ve ever eaten Chicken Marbella from “The Silver Palate Cookbook,” this recipe is somewhat similar in flavor, but with far fewer calories. It uses only two teaspoons of oil, rather than the 1/2 cup called for in the well-known recipe for Chicken Marbella. A few other things are different here. There’s cilantro, rather than parsley, balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar, and most noteworthy – figs rather than prunes. Unless you’re Stacey, from Stacey Snacks, (a real figaholic if ever I met one) the jury is still out on the figs. I think the prunes melt more into the sauce, lending a sweetness that the more sturdy figs don’t. But change is good sometimes. Both recipes are great for make-ahead meals, since they can be assembled and marinated ahead of time, then baked right before serving.

I made this with boneless chicken breasts that weighed a total of about 1 1/4 pounds. It would easily have served three people. However, you can use as much as two pounds of chicken with the quantity of ingredients in the recipe below.

Chicken With Olives and Figs

Adapted from a recipe in the Oct. 2004 issue of Health Magazine

about 10 olives, sliced in half (I used kalamata olives)
about 10 dried figs (slice some in half)
3 T. light brown sugar
3 T. chopped fresh cilantro
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 t. dried basil
2 t. extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
boneless chicken breasts, cut into large pieces
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/4 c. chicken broth

1. Combine all the ingredients in a zip-lock plastic bag, except the white wine and chicken broth. Let it marinate in the refrigerator at least four hours, turning bag occasionally. Leave it overnight if you want.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
3. Remove chicken from bag. Place in a casserole or baking dish. Pour broth and wine over mixture and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until done.

Chicken Breasts Stuffed With Goat Cheese And Mushrooms

Chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese and mushrooms

This dish is terrific for when company’s coming. It tastes great, and it looks like you slaved all day in the kitchen. Don’t tell anyone, but it takes only 15 minutes to assemble. Then you’re home free.

Get everything prepared ahead of time, set it aside or keep it in the fridge until guests arrive. Then pop the pan in the oven and go chill out with your guests. Twenty minutes later, your main course is ready to serve. What could be simpler? But don’t wait for company to come calling to make this dish. It’s great any night of the week.

For two large servings:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
6 medium -size white mushrooms, finely minced
1 T. butter
goat cheese, about 3 ounces
2 T. olive oil
1 T. butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
salt, pepper
minced parsley

Open up the chicken breasts and pound with a mallet to flatten. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Saute the finely minced mushrooms in the 1 tablespoon of butter until cooked and liquid has evaporated – about two minutes or so. Season mushrooms with salt and pepper. Spread the mushrooms over the chicken breast, then divide the goat cheese evenly between the two breasts. Roll from the narrow end toward the wider end. Tie loosely with twine.
Heat the butter and olive oil in a heavy, oven-proof skillet. I used a small, cast-iron skillet. Over medium high heat, brown the chicken rolls on all sides. This should only take five minutes max. Lower heat and slowly add the white wine. Don’t add too quickly or over high heat or it could flame up. Season with salt and pepper and minced parsley.
Place an oven-proof lid on the skillet and bake for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Remove string and serve with juices from pan.

Election Day Roast Chicken

Election Day Roast Chicken

It’s finally here! Election day takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 4 in the U.S. after what seems like an interminably long campaign. Miranda (the lovely lady in the photo) implores you to vote. No matter what the outcome, you’ll be taking part in a historic election.
By Wednesday morning (hopefully) somebody will be declared a winner — and a lot of people who supported the losing candidate will be feeling pretty glum. It may be small solace for the losers, but I’m posting one of my favorite comfort foods to help you get through the day.
The technique of starting the bird with the breast-side down is just as important as the recipe, so make sure to follow the directions.

Favorite Roast Chicken

1 6 lb. roasting chicken
olive oil
1 lemon
1 large onion
bouquet of fresh garden herbs
dried herbs and spices:
lemon pepper
herbs de provence
paprika
kosher salt

Rinse the chicken with cold water and pat dry. Squeeze one lemon into the cavity and place the lemon inside the cavity, along with a bouquet of fresh herbs. I used fresh thyme, oregano and rosemary, but use whatever you have. If you don’t have any fresh herbs, sprinkle inside with dry herbs.
Rub the outside of the chicken with olive oil and place in a greased roasting pan, breast side down. This will ensure moist breast meat and evenly cooked skin. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and the dry herbs: lemon pepper, herbs de provence and paprika. Chop a large onion into quarters and nestle in the pan next to the chicken. Roast in a 375 degree oven for one hour. Turn over so that breast side faces up and sprinkle with the dry herbs. Lower the temperature to 350 and roast for another hour or until juices run clear after piercing a fork into the thickest part.