Stuffed Chicken Breast and Lemony Polenta

Chicken breast can get super boring unless you can stay super creative. I think this is the precise reason why "they" made Pinterest. You could look at about three bajillion different ways to cook chicken breast and never get bored. When I get sucked into the Pinterest vortex I get to the point where my hand starts cramping from scrolling on my trackpad. I try using my left hand for a while, but then I realize that it's probably a physiological indication that I need to back up from the internet machine. Sometimes I get so pathetic that I just hit the space bar to page down. This is real life.

The moral of the story is this: when life hands you left over arugula, make the following meal.

This recipe can serve as a template - change what you stuff the chicken with, change how you flavor your polenta, go bonkers. But this polenta...you must try it this way at least once.

Stuffed Chicken Breast with Creamy Lemon Polenta
for 4

  • 1 tbsp EVOO
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/2" thin
  • Salt and pepper 
  • 4 oz. smoked mozzarella, sliced into 1 oz. slices
  • 2 c. fresh arugula
  • 1/2 c. roasted red bell peppers, drained
  • 1/4 c. sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained
  • 1/4 c. chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 c. 1% milk
  • 2 1/2 c. chicken broth
  • 2 tsp lemon pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 c. polenta
  • 1 tbsp lemon EVOO (or 1 tbsp EVOO + 1/2 tsp lemon zest)
We will start with chicken and once it is in the oven we will start the polenta. It's all about timing when you're trying to look pro. 

Preheat oven to 375 F.
In a food processor, process red bell peppers and sun dried tomatoes until it's a tapenade-like consistency.  Note: You could substitute a jarred red pesto for an easier way. TJ's version has basil and my guinea pig dinner company was allergic. 

Profess your love to this cheese.

And set up an assembly line. Note the cute little birdy toothpick thingy.

On the inside of each chicken breast, season with S&P and layer 1 tbsp red pepper/sun dried tomato mixture, slice of cheese, and bunch of arugula. Roll up and secure shut with 2-3 strategically placed toothpicks.

Heat EVOO in a frying pan over high heat and sear chicken on all sides until golden.

Move chicken to a baking dish. Deglaze the frying pan with chicken broth. Pour broth magic over the chicken, then top each roll with what is left of the pepper/tomato mixture.

Nestle any extra arugula around the chicken and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of your chicken breasts. When time is up, either sacrifice once to check for doneness or use a meat thermometer to confirm thorough cooking.

Moving on to polenta.

I follow the recipe on the bag for proportions, but have my own method. Once the liquid is boiling, it actually only takes about 5 minutes to finish the polenta. So time yourself accordingly.

My new crack dust:

Bring milk, chicken broth, lemon pepper, and salt to a boil.

Pour in the polenta.

Pay attention when trying to take the above shot, because you might burn your hand, flinch, and fling polenta all the eff over the kitchen.

Bring back up to a boil, then reduce heat to super duper low (I remove from heat for 10 seconds, then back on for 10 seconds). And stir, stir, stir. You can't walk away from polenta. It will come together quick! Once it's thick, swirl in EVOO and stir briskly. Remove from heat, and serve immediately.

Fun fact: I bought that bag of polenta in 2010. It has lived in three cities with me.

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