Saturday, September 5, 2009

Stuffed Chicken Breast with Mediterranean Tomato Sauce

I just made this last night for dinner and it was delicious! The quinoa was so good on its own you could easily have it as a side dish, but using it as a stuffing made this dish an almost complete meal. Serve it with some sauted veggies or a salad and you're all set.

Mediterranean Tomato Sauce
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp chopped leeks
3 Tbsp chopped garlic
2 lbs tomatoes, coarsely chopped or a 28-ounce can Italian plum tomatoes
1/2 tsp dried red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp cumin
ground sea salt

Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add the leeks and garlic and sauté about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and seasonings including salt. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until thickened. Cool for about 5 minutes. Purée in a blender until smooth.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts
1/2 C quinoa
2 Tbsp olive oil
ground sea salt
1 C water
2 Tbsp minced leeks
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 pound eggplant, cut into 1/4 -inch cubes
1 small red pepper, seeded, cored, roasted and diced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 oz goat cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
freshly ground black pepper
4 -8-oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Bring 1 cup of salted water to a boil. Add the quinoa, bring back to a boil, and remove from the heat. Cover and steep for 5 minutes or until water has been absorbed. Uncover, fluff with a fork to separate the grains.

Heat 1 Tbsp of the olive oil in a medium sauté pan, add the leek and garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add the red pepper and cumin and sauté for about 1 more minute. Remove from the heat, mix with the couscous, cilantro and goat cheese. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Preheat the oven to 375º F.

Divide the stuffing into 4 portions. Cut a pocket in the side of each chicken breast, the whole length of the chicken breast, and stuff it with about half of each portion of stuffing. Brush the breast with the remaining oil and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Roast the chicken breast for 25 to 35 minutes or until cooked through and nicely browned. Remove from the oven, cover with aluminum foil to keep warm and let rest for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.

Assembly: Pool some of the Moroccan Tomato Sauce on 4 dinner-size plates. Slice each chicken breast into 4 or 5 pieces and use a spatula to transfer them to the plates.

NOTE: The stuffing keeps these chicken breasts moist while they are cooking and they look beautiful when sliced.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New Adventures in Cooking

Well bloggy friends this simple gourmand has officially entered her early 30s. Being a year older has most
certainly made me a wiser, and thanks to some generous friends, it has made my recipe collection a lot larger. My dear friend, Ashley, sent me Simply Organic: A Cookbook for Sustainable, Seasonal, and Local Ingredients, by Jesse Ziff Cool, and my oldest (and by oldest I mean longest, not the most aged) friend Jenn (Culinary Barbie) gave me Fine Cooking Fresh: 350 Recipes that Celebrate the Seasons. Both collections are filled with healthy, fresh, vegetable laden dishes that look positively scrumptious! I see a great deal of cooking in my future; I'll be sure to share my new favorites ASAP!