Friday, April 21, 2006

Be My Guinea Pigs

I'm going to try something different today. Usually when I post a recipe, it's to brag about a meal I've already cooked. Today I'm going to post a recipe I have conceived but not tried, and challenge my readers to try the recipe, then comment here or email me and tell me how it turns out. Go on, I dare you.

I will give you this reassurance -- the recipe is based on other tried and true recipes, and was inspired by a successful spur-of-the-moment recipe I tried last night. So it's not completely out of left field.

I enjoy making stuffed meat dishes, and lately have become quite good at it. I also have a mean non-stuffed chicken dish based on Chicken Cordon Bleu.

So the other day as I was raiding the freezer for meat to thaw for the next few days' meals, and noticed a turkey breast right next to a package of Prosciutto, I had an idea. I stuffed the tuyrkey with the prosciutto and some Spanish cheese, and it came out delicious.

That got me to thinking of Chicken Cordon Bleu and Chicken Parmesan and how they both have something to offer, and inspired the following idea for an upgraded Chicken Parmesan recipe:

Pollo farcito del parmigiano

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 slices prosciutto
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup crushed bread crumbs
1 cup and 1/4 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
2 eggs
2 oz. fresh mozarella cheese
1 bunch fresh basil leaves
1/2 tsp & 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp & 1/2 tsp onion powder
1 16 oz. can tomato puree
1/4 cup chopped onion
2-4 cloves minced garlic (to taste)
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp paprika
salt
pepper
olive oil

Preheat the oven to 325 F.

In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the tomato puree, chopped onion, minced garlic (to taste), basil, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer while making the chicken.

Prepare the stations for the outer coating. In a plate or wide shallow pan mix the flour with 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper. Crack the eggs into a wide bowl and whip the yolks into the whites. In another plate or wide shallow pan mix the bread crumbs with 1 cup grated parmesan, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp onion powder, a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper.

Slice the mozarella as thinly as possible. Butterfly the chicken breasts and lay them open on the cutting board. Lay two or three slices of mozarella on one half of each breast. Lay a slice of prosciutto on top of the mozarella so that only half of the prosciutto slice is on top of the mozarella, and the other half os on the cutting board. Rinse three or four large basil leaves for each breast. Lay the leaves on the half of the prosciutto slice that is on top of the mozarella, then fold the other half of the prosciutto over to cover the leaves. Lay down two ore three more slices of mozarella on top of the prosciutto, then close the chicken breast.

Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in an oven-safe sautee pan over medium heat. Carefully place each breast in turn in the dish containing the flour, then coat it thoroughly. Repeat the process in the egg and then the bread crumb/parmesan mix. Place the chicken breasts in the sautee pan and cook for about a minute per side, until the coating is a golden color. remove from the stovetop and place in the oven. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until the breasts are just done.

Plate the chicken and cover with the red sauce. Garnish with more grated parmesan and fresh basil leaves. Side serving suggestions: Leftover red sauce can be used with a side of spaghetti. A light salad or sauteed green beans would go nicely. Serve with a dry white, soft red, or blush wine.

UPDATE (08 May, 2006):
I finally tried this myself. Based on my efforts, I'd recommend these changes to the recipe: leave the salt, pepper, garlic and onion powder out of the dredge and the breading, and add some dried oregano and basil to the breading. Beyond that, it really was as delicious as I hoped it would be.

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