Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Potatoes and chicken with style...

Once we try a recipe that I've printed or clipped out, unless it was a total bomb (which thankfully does not happen very often), I place it into one of several possible binders that I keep around. I have a few based on sweet or savory, but I also keep one handy for recipes that we especially liked and would be good to serve for guests. We often try out new sweet recipes when people come over, but I'm more apt to choose a savory recipe that we especially liked as I'm more confident it will actually turn out well! The two recipes I will be talking about today quickly went right into the 'company' binder as we quite enjoyed their flavor and how it plated.

As long as the thought of green potatoes doesn't weird you out, this Cheesy Broccoli-Potato Mash we had as a side was a fun way to jazz up ordinary mashed potatoes! Rather than boiling the potatoes and broccoli, this recipe has you steam them, giving the potatoes a head start, until they are both just tender. To help the broccoli break down a bit so it combines better, the bright green veggie is first coarsely mashed by itself. The soft Yukon Gold potatoes are then added with creamy fontina cheese, milk, salt and fresh ground black pepper. Be sure to warm the milk before you add it; I find that it does make a difference as you are not shocking the potatoes by adding a cold liquid. If you don't groove on fontina cheese, you can substitute any creamy cheese that melts well - Jeff suggested that we should try this out with those Swiss Laughing Cow wedges if we make this again. The texture was slightly heavier than plain mashed potatoes, but that was quickly overlooked by the combination of flavors and the rich buttery flavor the fontina brought. Jeff usually adds a pat of butter on top of his potatoes, but he skipped that tonight as he thought these didn't need it at all!

Cheesy Broccoli-Potato MashWe had fun stuffing those chicken breasts last week, so we decided to do another stuffed chicken dish with these Rolled Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Prosciutto and Barley. Prosciutto makes my heart beat a little faster just at the thought of including it in a meal, so as you can imagine I was quite excited to dive into this. Once I had assembled this recipe, I knew this was going to be something we would trip over each other to get at any leftovers.

To some softened onions, a quarter cup worth of chopped prosciutto is added, along with fragrant fresh rosemary, to cook until it lightly browns. A small handful of pearled barley with some chicken broth is then added and left to simmer until the barley is tender with a hearty chew. As we waited for the barley to cool, we butterflied a few chicken breasts and then pounded them thin between a couple pieces of plastic wrap. Once the barley cooled a bit, it is mixed with a little sharp Parmesan and then divided between the pounded chicken pieces. The chicken is then wrapped up jelly-roll style and, because one can not have enough prosciutto, the rolled breasts are encased in a thin slice of it. The assembled breasts are then placed in a casserole dish with a healthy dose of white wine to help keep them moist as they bake.

Rolled Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Prosciutto and BarleyTo not waste any of the the flavorful juices and wine left behind, they are brought to a boil in a saucepan and thickened with a cornstarch slurry to create a light sauce to pour over the cooked breasts. While the chicken breasts may look a little lacking just being wrapped in the prosciutto, the excitement begins when you slice them into rounds revealing the exquisite hearty filling. While barley can be a little bland cooked by itself, preparing it with the crispy prosciutto and broth heightened its nutty flavor with such an enticing flavor and aroma. The opaque sauce made from the juices and wine pushed this over the top with its clean sharpness. The (almost) best part of the recipe? You can easily assemble the chicken ahead of time so all you need to do is slip the baking dish in the oven before your guests arrive.

Rolled Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Prosciutto and Barley


  1. Love the idea of using barley as a stuffing ...

    I am SO impressed at how organised you are with your binders. I started my blog because I could never find the recipe I wanted, although it's evolved since then. Nowadays, if I want a recipe I've already cooked, I need to put in a Google search, which means it's not only time to tidy up my study, it's also time to tidy up my blog ;)


  2. I will keep that recipe for chicken breast when we have company. I like the colors and the combination of flavors. Can't wait to try this one.

  3. Joanna - I had to get them under control otherwise I would feel like I was drowning in them!

    Helene - I'm anxious to hear what you think!

  4. Joe, what kind of wine should I use? A dry or more on the sweet side?

  5. Helene - We used a dry white wine.