People often ask me what is my favorite dish to prepare as a chef. The answer is the onle that peope will love the most and that will make the restaurant the most money.
When I was a banquet chef, this dish was among the most popular for weddings, awards banquets and other catered affairs. It is very easy to make in bulk, especially if you have a big work table and can set up an assembly line.
The mushroom duxelle can be made ahead of time, as can the pesto. I would prepare huge batches of these, and then knock out hundreds of stuffed chicken breasts in an afternoon. Commercially, I used a shredded gruyere cheese, but for home use I substituted a simple cheddar and jack combination. You can really use any type of cheese you like.
When I made this at home, I served it on a potato latke and sauced it with some sour cream I put into a squeeze bottle, then garnished it with scallions. But in the banquet kitchen, I would serve these napped with a chicken veloute sauce, with rosemary roasted red potatoes and a combination of steamed carrots, broccoli, zucchini and yellow squash.
Honestly, once you master this dish, you can make a fortune catering banquets. People love it. Plus, for the home cook, it is easy to make many of these at the same time if you entertaining or hosting a dinner party.
Chicken Breast Stuffed with Mushroom Duxelle
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup basil pesto
2 TBS EVOO
4 oz container fresh button mushrooms, chopped fine
1/2 medium white onion, small dice
3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 TBS Italian seasoning
Fresh cracked black pepper
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses
1. To make mushroom duxelle, put cast iron pan on the fire. When hot, add the EVOO. When smoking, add onions and cook about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until all the liquid in them is evaporated and they start to brown, about 7 minutes. For the final minute of cooking, stir in the garlic and Italian seasoning. Remove from heat and let cool a little. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Place chicken breasts on cutting board. If they are large, cut them in half horizontally,as if you were cutting a deck of cards. Each serving should have about 6 oz of chicken. Place a plastic freezer bag over the breast, then pound it with a meat tenderizer or a rolling pin so chicken breast if flattened out to about the size of your hand.
3. Preheat oven to 350F. Rub both sides of the breast with pesto. Place about 2 TBS of the duxelle mixture and about a TBS of shredded cheese in the center of each breast then roll up into a log shape, tucking the ends underneath to form a seal. Spray a sheet pan with pan spray, then lay each chicken breast seam side down on the pan. Arrange stuffed breasts so that they are not touching — you want the heat to surround them on all sides so they cook evenly. Just before they go into the oven, rub them with a little more pesto. Bake for 35 minutes, then remove from oven. Let rest about 3 minutes before cutting.
4. To serve, cut each breast at bias into about 4-5 medallions, then shingle on the plate over potatoes, rice or whatever starch you are using. Nap with sauce or serve unsauced.
To make the potato latke, shred a leftover pre-cooked baked potato then mix with 1/2 onion, diced small, and salt and pepper. Heat a small cast iron pan. When smoking, add some vegetable oil and let it get smoking hot. Melt a teaspoon of butter in the oil, then place the shredded potatoes in the pan and pat down slightly with a spoon or spatula. Fry about 4 minutes, then invert onto a plate. Get the cast iron pan back up to temperature, add fresh oil, a tab of butter, and slide the potato uncooked side down back into the pan. Finish frying and invert onto a sheet pan.
You can make multiple latkes ahead of time and line them up on a sheet pan. When ready to serve, reheat for about 10 minutes at 375F. These can serve as a delicious base for many different entrees, or serve them by themselves with a little sour cream or apple sauce, and garnish with sliced scallions or chives.
Wow, I’m really giving away all my chef secrets today! Thanks for looking at my blog!