Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day Four - Ingrid Hoffmann Simply Delicious - Mushroom-stuffed chicken breasts with tomato-cumin sauce

The mushroom-stuffed chicken breasts with tomato-cumin sauce once again was an easy recipe.  You know I like easy, and it tastes great.  The only thing about this dish, which could have been totally my fault was, I found the chicken a bit dry.  But then again, I'm not much of a chicken breast girl.  I will certainly try this recipe again, but I will use chicken thighs next time.  The only catch is you may need to pound two thighs together to get the same effect (size) with chicken breast.

Here is the recipe.

Ingredients for the Chicken:
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ small red onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
Two 8-ounce packages sliced white button mushrooms (about 4 cups)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon dry sherry
½ teaspoon dried thyme or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
½ teaspoon ground coriander
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, tenderloin removed (reserve for another use) and trimmed of excess fat
2 teaspoons achiote powder
Thyme sprigs, for garnish

Tomato-cumin Sauce:
One 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons paprika
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
(serves 4)
Here’s a technique that gives you a restaurant-ready presentation without a lot of effort. The thin chicken cutlet is rolled around a yummy mushroom stuffing and then tightly rolled in a sheet of plastic wrap, and then again in aluminum foil. Even after cooking and unwrapping, the chicken remains in a perfect cylinder, making the prettiest round medallions after chopping. Achiote is the turmeric of the Latin kitchen, and it adds a soft, musky flavor and intense color to foods like chicken and rice.
1. To make the sauce, place the tomatoes, vinegar, garlic, tomato paste, cumin, and paprika in a food processor and pulse until well combined. With the motor running, slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream and process until combined. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside on your counter or in the refrigerator.
2. To make the chicken, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and just starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and add the mushrooms. Cook, stirring a couple of times, until the mushrooms release their moisture, about 10 minutes, then season with salt and pepper. Add the sherry, thyme, and coriander and continue to cook until the mixture is dry, another 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.
3. Place 1 chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap and, using a flat meat mallet or rolling pin, pound until the chicken is ¼ inch thick. Repeat with the other 3 breasts. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and season both sides with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the skin side of the chicken evenly with ground achiote powder and turn it over (this will be the outside of the roll). Place 2 heaping tablespoons of the mushroom mixture in the center of the chicken breast and wrap the top and bottom flaps tightly around the filling. Fold the sides around to make a nice little package. Tightly wrap the stuffed breast in a 12 x 18-inch sheet of plastic wrap, twisting the ends like a candy wrapper. Knot the ends and wrap the roll in a sheet of aluminum foil. Repeat with the remaining breasts and filling.
4. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the chicken packages and reduce the heat to medium low. Simmer the chicken for 18 minutes. Carefully remove the rolls from the water and set aside to cool slightly.
5. While the chicken cools, place the tomato-cumin sauce in a small saucepan over medium-high heat to warm through. Using kitchen shears, cut the ends off of the foil packets and carefully remove the foil and plastic from each rolled breast (use tongs if it’s still hot). Slice each breast into ½-inch discs. Place the sliced rounds on a plate, drizzle with some sauce, and serve.