Gruyère, arugula and prosciutto: Now that we’ve met, I just want to say one thing. I love you. That is all.
Let me tell you, this is delicious. And just look at it - I made that! Not a throw-it-together meal, but deliciously worth the time. Yes, it dirties up a few dishes. Yes, it requires a bit of prep. But with the right planning, you’ll forget all that. (The sweet, melty cheese and creamy potatoes will help you forget, too.)
It’s also not the lightest recipe in cooking light history. Maybe I shouldn’t have skipped the gym to stay home and make it. But I’ve skipped the gym for far less. Like when none of my cute gym clothes are clean. But if my reward is getting to eat food like this, I’ll go to the gym. It’s that good. And here’s how I made it.
First came shopping. Actually, first came dictionary.com. I checked the pronunciation of Gruyère so I wouldn’t look like a complete airhead asking for half a pound of “gruyerie”. (For those like me, it’s pronounced “grew-yair”.) But my new found knowledge was wasted because we went on a Saturday morning. Saturday. Morning. Never again, my friends. There was no way I was waiting in that line for a few slices of cheese. The prepackaged, pricier version would have to do. Same with the prosciutto. And in the future, I'm going to try Wednesday shopping.
The recipe suggests stuffing the chicken the day before, and I highly recommend. Not only does it save time, but refrigerating overnight also melds the edges of the chicken together, making them much more manageable later.
But if you plan to make them the night before like I did, a few questions: Do you live in the second level of an apartment? Are you making them past 9 p.m.? If yes, reconsider. My entire apartment shook every time my rolling pin slammed down on those poor, helpless chickens. The stove rattled. The dishwasher rattled. The floor rattled. And it wasn’t just a few whops, either. I had to give each of the six a good beating (partially because I used 8 oz. breasts instead of 6 oz. halves, partially because I have no upper arm strength due to chronic gym excuses.) And I prolonged the whole event due to plastic wrap battle #2 – you take an already annoyingly clingy product, add sticky raw chicken and a girl who’s overly compulsive about raw meat germs and you’ll end up with carnage that looks like this:
So the beating lasted awhile. I kept imagining our downstairs neighbor thinking either someone was getting tortured, or that we’d undertaken a little moonlight remodeling. Thankfully, no one came knocking, so I stuffed them and went to bed feeling only mildly guilty.
(Note: I’ve stuffed chicken before, and always rolled it up. No. No. No. I’ve been doing it all wrong! Just fold it over and pinch the edges like the recipe says. No need for toothpicks and the stuffing is much more prominent when in the center instead of rolled up in chicken layers.)
Day two was mealtime. Here’s how I planned it out, which worked nicely. First, I snapped the beans and peeled the tots. It reminded me of my Grandma, who to this day still holds duel titles as master of mashed potatoes and potato salad. I remember watching in amazement as she peeled potato after potato at warp speed, paying no attention to the blade that came so close to her fingers. I’d hold my breath and warn that she was going to slice off her skin. She’d stop whistling, laugh and sternly reply, “Now Rachel, I’ve been making mashed potatoes for over 80 years. I know what I’m doing.” Back to whistling. Enough said.
I then prepped everything else: shallots, chives, parsley, even the butter, and measured ingredients into separate dishes. Take head when chopping the shallots. I had to leave the kitchen four times to flush my eyes with water, leading me to conclude that shallots are a close relative to teargas.
I boiled the potatoes and fried the chicken. I have a small pan, so I fried two at a time, adding about a tablespoon more oil each time. I mashed the potatoes, transferred to a serving dish and threw in the beans. I don’t have a steamer, so I boiled them until they were just slightly crunchy, then tossed with herb mix and poured into another serving dish. At that point the chicken was ready for the oven, so I started on the sauce.
The sauce was a little high maintenance and it took much longer to reduce than the recipe said, so it was a lesson in patience. (Especially for my husband who was already running late for a weekend meeting. Sorry!) The chicken also took much longer. Could be since my pieces were large. I kept compulsively checking and cutting every few minutes for fear that all my work would result in dry chicken. When they were done I tasted. Not dry at all. Unless dry is another word for amazing.
I stuck the potatoes and beans in the oven on low to warm them up while I finished the sauce. I’ve never caramelized anything, or cooked with wine, or even heard of a shallot, so it was new fun. And it smelled so sweet and oniony.
When the sauce was done, we were ready to eat and as you can see, it’s just as delicious to look at. Luke kept repeating the same thing over and over as he stuffed his face, “Why would we ever go to a restaurant again?” I agreed. This is definitely food fit for company. Every part went so great together, which makes me especially proud because I paired it up myself. The chicken was juicy and perfect with the sweet, nutty Gruyère, arugula and slightly salty prosciutto. The potatoes were creamy and the beans make a great go-to vegetable. And the sauce. Oh the sauce. Caramelized is my new favorite adjective. I wonder what else I can caramelize? Needless to say, I’ll definitely be making this meal again. Now, it’s about time for some leftovers…
Gruyère, Arugula, and Prosciutto-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Caramelized Shallot Sauce
Yield: 6 servings (1 chicken breast half and about 1/4 c. sauce)
6 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
6 (1/2-ounce) slices prosciutto
6 (1/2-ounce) slices Gruyère cheese
1 1/2 cups trimmed arugula
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
Caramelized Shallot Sauce:
1 cup thinly sliced shallots
2 teaspoons tomato paste
2 cups dry white wine
2 1/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon cornstarch
Preheat oven to 350°.
To prepare the chicken, place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or rolling pin. Discard plastic wrap. Top each chicken breast half with 1 slice prosciutto, 1 slice cheese, and 1/4-cup arugula, leaving a 1/4-inch border around edges. Fold in half, pinching edges together to seal; sprinkle with salt and pepper. (The chicken can be prepared up to a day ahead and refrigerated at this point.)
Dredge chicken in flour, shaking off excess. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 5 minutes on each side. Place chicken in a shallow baking pan; bake at 350° for 5 minutes or until done. Keep warm.
To prepare sauce, add shallots to skillet; sauté 4 minutes over medium-high heat or until browned. Add tomato paste; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine; bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until reduced to 1 cup (about 6 minutes). Add broth; bring to a boil. Cook until reduced by half (about 8 minutes).
Combine water and cornstarch in a small bowl, stirring with a fork until smooth. Add cornstarch mixture to sauce; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Nutritional Info: Calories: 339 (27% from fat), Fat: 10.3g (sat 4g,mono 4.2g,poly 1.2g), Protein: 49.2g, Carbohydrate: 10.1g, Fiber: 0.5g, Cholesterol: 123mg, Iron: 2.4mg, Sodium: 809mg, Calcium:189mg. Source: Cooking Light: Complete Cookbook, 2008.
Creamy Herbed Mashed Potatoes
Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup)
(Yukon golds make brilliant mashed potatoes, thanks to their balance of waxiness and starch. Because yellow potatoes are more flavorful than others, they don't need a lot of fat to taste rich. Mash them by hand just until creamy. Overworking the potatoes will make them gummy.)
4 cups cubed peeled Yukon gold potato (about 2 pounds)
1/2 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
1/4 cup low-fat sour cream
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Place potato in a saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until tender. Drain. Return potato to pan. Add milk and remaining ingredients; mash with a potato masher to desired consistency.
Nutritional Information: Calories: 215 (30% from fat), Fat: 7.1g (sat 4.5g,mono 1.8g,poly 0.3g), Protein: 4.5g, Carbohydrate: 34.5g, Fiber: 2.4g, Cholesterol: 20mg, Iron: 0.7mg, Sodium: 280mg, Calcium: 51mg.
Chive Green Beans
Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup)
1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
2 teaspoons butter
1/2 teaspoon stone-ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Steam green beans, covered, 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove from steamer; toss with remaining ingredients.
Nutritional info: Calories: 53 (32% from fat), Fat: 1.9g (sat 1.2g,mono 0.6g,poly 0.1g), Protein: 1.5g, Carbohydrate: 7.1g, Fiber: 4.2g, Cholesterol: 5mg, Iron: 0.6mg, Sodium:175mg, Calcium: 58mg. Source: Cooking Light: Complete Cookbook, 2008.