breaking bread is a universal ritual that brings us together. a good meal has the power to heal us, body and soul. all my cooking comes from the heart.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

red pepper and feta-stuffed chicken breasts

I recently had a friend over for dinner aboard the boat. He does not eat red meat, so my much-loved chicken and italian sausage was not a menu option. Therefore, I opted for red pepper and feta-stuffed chicken breasts accompanied by a white wine and parmesan risotto and fresh spinach sauteéd in olive oil and fresh garlic, with a touch of Kosher salt.

The chicken came from The Fresh Market; large, antibiotic-free, vegetarian fed. Here is my mise en place of crumbled feta, chopped red pepper, and chopped garlic, and then the breasts before they went in the oven.

The chicken breasts were large and much thicker at one end. I took the four breasts and created six servings by cutting the breasts in half and stacking the thinner ends, then taking the thick halves and slicing them horizontally for stuffing. I put a few tablespoons of olive oil in the baking dish, added a heaping tablespoon of garlic, fresh ground black pepper, and Kosher salt to taste. I dredged each piece of chicken in the oil and garlic marinade, then placed a spoonful each of red pepper and feta on the bottom six pieces of chicken, stacked the top pieces of chicken in place, and garnished each with a little more feta and red pepper. In my propane oven aboard, they were baked uncovered at 350 degrees for 90 minutes.

Here is the finished product. You can easily tell which side of the pan was adjacent to the gas flame.

Everything was so delicious I forgot to take a photograph before plating up our meal and forgot to take a photo of the plated dish. Sorry!

Here is a snap of the risotto in the works. It begins by sauteíng half a medium onion (chopped) in two tablespoons of olive oil and two tablespoons of butter. When the onions are translucent, add one cup of arborio rice and sauté for one or two minutes. Three cups of water are called for. The only rice I ever cook in water is white basmati. All other rice should be cooked with flavor. For risotto I use one cup of vegetarian vegetable broth and two cups of wine. I often use a dry Washington Riesling, but I am currently on a kick drinking a lovely Vinho Verde from Portugal, pictured below with the parmesan that is added at the end.

Once the liquid is added, stir the risotto constantly until it is thick and creamy and stir in the parmesan at the very end. I save some time by using my pressure cooker and putting it under pressure for 10 to 15 minutes.