Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Beet and Basil Stuffed Chicken Breasts
If you've ever had a CSA, you've probably had the 'problem' of too many beets. What starts out as a bounty of beet salads quickly turns to beet drudgery. But beets can do so much more than look pretty atop a pile of lettuce! This dish is delicious and, while it takes a bit of effort, really looks more impressive than it is difficult.
- 2 plump chicken breasts
- 2-4 golden beets, roasted and peeled
- a generous handful of fresh basil
- salt, pepper, and olive oil
- With a sharp knife, slice the chicken breast nearly in half to butterfly it open.
- Sprinkle the inside with salt and pepper.
- Place a layer of basil leaves on the bottom then add an overlapping layer of thinly sliced beets. You want the breast to be quite stuffed. A few crumbles of goat cheese would also be great in there, but it definitely doesn't *need* it.
- Pull the top flap over the stuffing and secure with two toothpicks. It's okay if it doesn't completely close.
- Brush the outside with olive oil. I also topped mine with a few decorative slices of beets that were extra.
- Put the breast in an oven safe pan or dish (I used a pre-heated cast iron skillet) and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes. You can pop it under the broiler for a few more minutes to brown the top a bit if you'd like.
For the sides:
- Combine 1 cup French green lentils with 1 1/2 cups water (or chicken broth) and 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp whole grain mustard. Ideally let it soak for two hours before cooking.
- Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook until the liquid is absorbed.
- Wash a trim green beans.
- Toss them with a drizzle of olive oil, a drizzle of honey, a sprinkle of salt, and a dash of cayenne.
- Roast them in the oven along with the chicken, though in their own dish.
- Pour any juices over the lentils when serving.
The chicken breasts can be stuffed ahead of time, covered, and refrigerated. The recipe is easily multiplied to feed a crowd, just don't crowd too many in the same pan or you'll increase the cooking time. If you're looking to make the meal a little lighter, serve the chicken breasts along side chilled lentils or a salad.