Friday, June 3, 2011

Saturday Smells Like . . . Beaten chicken dish of some sort

Hello all, J. here. JE has tired herself by driving back from Marshall County. So it falls to me, your humble narrator (yes, that is a reference to A Clockwork Orange) to tell the tale of the beaten chicken dish of some sort. The beaten chicken dish of some sort was born from the desire to meet simultaneously the following goals: (a) use a thawed chicken breast for dinner; (b) do something slightly different with said chicken breast; and (c) use only ingredients on hand. I'm fairly certain that the same goals drove Dr. Frankenstein, substituting only "dead body parts" with "chicken breast," but it's been awhile since I read the book. (I wanted to say that our experiment turned out differently from Dr. Frankenstein's, but then I realized that the book never discussed how the monster tasted and that JE and I ate the finished dish too quickly for me to say definitively that the chicken breast did not return to life. So, the jury's still out there.)

For ingredients, we have: (1) one thawed boneless chicken breast; (2) some cream cheese (enough to put a layer on the flattened chicken breast); (3) four slices of hard salami; (4) shrimp scampi seasoning; (5) three rashers of bacon; and (6) salt and pepper to taste.

The first step is to use a blunt object to flatten the chicken breast to around 1/8th inch thickness. Remember to use a slight sideways swing when flattening with your blunt object of choice, as otherwise, you will not make consistent progress. After you have salted and peppered each side of the chicken, brush it with a bit of oil (I used grapeseed) and quickly (no more than 30 seconds a side) sear both sides in a frying pan over medium heat. Set aside the chicken breast to cool until you can handle it without burning yourself.

In a bowl, mix the scampi seasoning and the cream cheese, taking a taste to see if you need to add more seasoning or more cream cheese. (You can also add a bit of granulated garlic for a bit more kick.) Then spread the interior side of the chicken breast with the cream cheese mixture and place the hard salami slices to cover the interior side of the chicken.

Next, roll the chicken breast tightly, and, once rolled, use toothpicks to bind the end of the roll, like one would use a toothpick to keep a sandwich together, leaving about one-quarter inch of the end of the toothpick protruding. Then, take one rasher of bacon, stick the end of the rasher on the end of the first toothpick, and wrap the rasher around the chicken breast until you come to its other end, poking the subsequent toothpick ends into the rasher as you wind around. Do the same with the other rashers until the exterior of the chicken breast is encased in bacon. Next, pepper the bacon to taste, and bake the chicken breast on a silpat in an oven set at 350 degrees for around thirty-five minutes.

The result is a creamier Chicken-Kiev type entree that blends the sharpness of the scampi seasoning, the smokiness of the salami, and the saltiness of the bacon with the creamy texture of the cheese. All in all, not a bad dish for fifteen minutes of prep work and improvisation.

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