As promised, here's our first Recipe of the Month - chargrilled breast of chicken stuffed with Boursin and spinach, with a cream and white wine sauce.
So, to start, and the ingredients you need. These quantities are for two people:
2 x chicken breasts, preferably skin on
handful of fresh spinach leaves
150g Boursin - you'll only need about a quarter of the pack
for the sauce:
150ml white wine
150ml chicken stock
OK, so now you've got all those, let's make a start....
We normally buy our chicken breasts from a catering butcher, but for this exercise, we took them from a whole chicken. If you feel confident enough filleting the chicken, this is a more cost effective way of buying the breasts, and you can then use the remainder of the carcass to make the stock.
So, feel along the breastbone to find the ridge in the centre and cut along that. Then, with one hand pulling back the breast as you remove it, run the tip of the knife along the carcass to gently remove the breast meat. Finally cut though the skin to separate it from the leg and wing. We leave the skin on for the chargrilled effect later, and it also keeps the meat moist as it's cooked. You should then be left with two plump chicken breasts like so:
Reserving the legs for making something else, you can then chop up the remaining carcass into smaller pieces to make chicken stock for the sauce. Here's Patrick's instructions for making the stock:
With the carcass that is remaining, I cut this into 8 pieces, and then brown these off in the oven for about 20 minutes on 180°C.
I will then roughly chop a carrot, onion, some garlic and some herbs such as fresh thyme and rosemary. Brown these off on the stove top in a saucepan with a little bit of olive oil in the bottom to stop them sticking
Keep stirring these vegetables as you don’t want them to catch, otherwise you will have a bitter sauce. Once the 20 minutes is up on the chicken, add the chicken to the vegetables in the saucepan, including any juices and caramelised bits which may have stuck to the bottom of the roasting pan.
Cover these bones and vegetables with cold water, add some salt and pepper, bring to boil, and then let it simmer. Don’t let them boil dry !!!!
What you are looking to do here is reduce the stock right down, this intensifies the flavour, if you don’t reduce it down you get a tasteless stock
After the stock has simmered for 2 hours, sieve into a clean container. You should have around 150ml of lovely, fresh stock.
For those of you who bought the chicken fillets, here's your starting point.
1) remove the inner fillet from the breasts and finely chop to use with the stuffing.
2) pan fry the spinach in a little butter to wilt, and allow to cool. Once cooled, squeeze to remove any excess liquid and then combine with the Boursin.
3) add in the finely chopped chicken, and mix well
4) Take the chicken breasts and insert a knife through the top edge, to make a pocket for your stuffing. Make sure you don't push the knife all the way through, but go deep enough to make sure there's room for lots of the lovely garlicky filling.
5) next you need to put the filling mix into a piping bag and push the nozzle into the pocket in the chicken breast.
6) Squeeze the bag until the pocket is full of the filling mix
7) Next is the chargrilling bit. We use a griddle pan for this, to create the stripes across the skin, but you could use a barbecue grill or even a hot metal skewer to give the same effect. Remember, this is just for colour and presentation, not to cook through, you'll do that later in the oven.
Once the surface is chargrilled, turning the chicken through 90° to get the criss-cross effect, transfer to a clean tray or plate, lined with baking parchment if you have some, and season with salt and crushed black pepper.
Once that's done, cover with cling film and put in the fridge till you're ready to finish cooking them.
8) When ready, cook the chicken breasts in the oven at 180°C. for 20-25 minutes depending on their size.
9) OK, next make the sauce, which should take a few minutes, and again it's over to Patrick for this part...
Taking 150ml of chicken stock (either the fresh stock you made from the carcass, or make up 150ml using stock cubes), add it to some finely chopped shallot in a frying pan and cook without colour.
Add 150ml of white wine once the onions become transparent, and simmer to reduce again so you have taken the acidity off the wine.
Then add a 150ml of double cream (NOT SINGLE).
Reduce down so it thickens enough to coat the back of a tea spoon. Correct the seasoning. Do not over reduce it otherwise you will end up with a salty sauce
The sauce will be ready to serve now
10) Once the chicken breasts are cooked and the sauce is ready, slice the chicken breasts across, into four pieces, and arrange on your warmed plate. Pour the sauce over.
11) Add your potatoes and vegetables of choice, and you're ready to go.
Why not make this for that special someone next Tuesday (Valentine's Day) and really impress them?
So, there it is, the first recipe of the month. What did you think? Too long? Enough photos? Too much detail? Not enough? Please let us have your feedback in the comments section below - but be kind, it's only the first one!