Thursday, August 11, 2011
Chicken Stuffed With Cherries and Caramelized Shallots
You've probably seen the show: a chef is given a bunch of "mystery" ingredients and then has to make a meal out of them, or something along those lines. Such a challenge was proposed to me from my friend Dwayne and it was crazy fun. So here is what he brought to my house Sunday morning: a box of Chex cereal; 2 chicken breasts; a bunch of shallots; a small bag of sesame seeds; and a bunch of radishes. Really.
I was allowed to use anything else in my fridge and cupboards, so that sort of lessened the challenge. The chicken, cereal and shallots were easy; the radishes and sesame seeds were a bit of stumper, but after some furious googling I found a pretty delicious salad recipe on Chatelaine which combined both of those ingredients. Yay! They were out of the way!
Luckily I had some cream cheese in the fridge, alongside some cherries almost past the point of ripeness. With the aid of the caramelized shallots and sprigs of fresh thyme from the garden, I figured why not stuff the chicken breast with cherries and cream cheese? It may sound weird to combine chicken and cherries, but don't be scared! It was really delicious! The chicken was crispy on the outside (thanks to the Chex cereal), tender and flavourful on the inside. The cast iron pan browns the meat beautifully and seals in all of the juices, then I finished the dish in the oven for the remainder of the cooking time. Do you have a cast iron pan yet? It really is my favourite thing in the kitchen right now. I fried up some fresh garden potatoes to accompany the meal and it was a lovely way to spend an August afternoon.
Dwayne was impressed with my challenge success, but I KNOW he's racking his brain on ways to stump me further. Bring it on Dwayne. Bring. It. On.
Chicken Stuffed with Cherries and Caramelized Shallots
In my haste to use all of the ingredients Dwayne brought me, I really didn't measure, so everything is approximate. Please forgive?
2 fresh chicken breasts, skinless, boneless
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
8 cherries, pitted and halved
4 shallots, sliced and caramelized in a bit of butter until soft and golden
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup Chex cereal, crushed to make crumbs. You can always substitute bread crumbs if you like.
a few tablespoons of flour
salt and pepper
To cut a little pocket into the chicken breast, take a sharp paring knife and make a small cut horizontally in the fattest part of the chicken breast. Run your knife to the edges, being careful not to cut through the sides and bottom of the meat. Slowly make the pocket bigger, trying to keep the initial cut small so most of your filling stays inside. Set the prepared chicken aside. In small bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, cherries, caramelized shallots and seasonings. Using your hands (I wore disposable gloves!) take some of the filling and stuff the chicken. In a Ziploc bag, combine your coating ingredients and give a little shake. Carefully set the chicken breast in and gingerly coat it. Don't shake it like mad or anything. Heat a little oil in your cast iron pan, or other heavy bottomed pan that can go in the oven, and cook the chicken over medium high heat for about 4 minutes per side until golden. Place the chicken in a preheated 350 degree oven and cook for another 20 minutes. Let sit for another 5 minutes before digging in. Serves 2.