Hmmmphh, fall is still not in the air, down here (up here, for some of you) in South Carolina. High temperatures around 70ºF do not bring visions of sugar plum fairies dancing in our heads, that’s for sure. I suppose we’ll just have to pretend for now…
- 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3-4)
- 8 oz assorted (or not assorted, it’s up to you) mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 c hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- FOC (fat of choice)
For the Pan Gravy
- 1/2 c chicken stock
- 1/4 c dijon mustard
- 2 T fresh sage, chopped
Preheat your oven to 400ºF.
In a large saute pan, heat a few tablespoons of your F.O.C. and add the onions and garlic. When they’ve softened, add the mushrooms and let it go over medium heat until all the moisture the mushrooms released has been evaporated. This could take some time, so be patient. Add the hazelnuts. Place the stuffing in a bowl and set aside. Take the saute pan off the heat, because you’re going to need to rinse it off for the next step.
To stuff the chicken, use a paring knife to slit a hole in the thickest part of the chicken breast. Use your fingers (of the knife) to make the hole bigger, being careful not to tear through the chicken at any point. Use a spoon to cram as much stuffing as you can possibly fit into the chicken hole. Use some butcher’s twine to truss (fancy word for “tie up”) the chicken like this…
It looks as though our chicken boob is being held captive, doesn’t it?
Clean out the pan you used to cook the stuffing and heat up a few more tablespoons of your F.O.C. Generously salt and pepper the outside of the chicken breasts. Over medium high heat, brown the chicken on each side and then slip them into the oven so the chicken can finish cooking. When an instant read thermometer reads around 165ºF, remove the chicken from the oven. This will take about 15-20 minutes.
Once the chicken is out, remove it from the pan and let it rest. Add the ingredients for the pan gravy directly in the saute pan. Do not clean it out. Use a whisk to pick up any yummy chicken bits that are stuck to the pan. Keep the gravy over the heat just long enough to let it reduce a bit and thicken, don’t let it evaporate too much because that means less yummy pan gravy for you.
Once the chicken has had about 10 minutes to rest, remove the string, slice it up and top with the pan gravy.