This dish is pretty enough for company, and it tastes amazing. The stuffing will have people scratching their heads - many stuffings rely on bread products, but this one is bread free, but it's still light and fluffy.
Perfect for your friends who are low-carbing or who have gluten issues.
While you could opt to serve these breasts whole, slices make a nice presentation. If you prefer, you could make a sauce from the drippings in the pan, or just serve as-is.
So ... you could buy boneless, skin-on chicken breasts and buy separate tenderloin strips ... or do it the easy way and ask the butcher to do the work for you.
While the preparation takes a little time and the assembly is a little bit messy, you can do all of the well ahead of time - a day in advance if that works for you. Brown the chicken just before company arrives and put it in the oven to finish cooking. Then, one more trip to the kitchen to take it out of the oven and let it rest before slicing and plating.
A before, I asked the wine experts at the Whole Foods liquor store on Pearl Street what wine they would suggest. This time I was pointed to a Viognier by Loredona Vineyards. Again, it was a perfect choice for this meal.
Mushroom-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/4 pound chanterelle mushrooms
1/2 pound fresh white mushrooms, sliced
2 ounces cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
About 1/2 cup of ice cubes (4-6 cubes)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Remove the chicken from the bones. You can do this with a knife, or use the Jacque Pepin method and simply pull the meat away from the bones.
Chances are that the tenderloin strip will stay attached to the bone. If not, it's easy to recognize, because it's a separate strip of meat that's not well-attached to the other breast meat. The tenderloin has a small white piece of tendon that you should remove.
Keep the chicken refrigerated while you work on the stuffing.
Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the chanterelle mushrooms and cook until cooked through. Remove and set aside to cool. Add the white mushrooms to the skillet and cook until lightly browned and any liquid that was released has been reabsorbed. Let the mushrooms cool to room temperature.
When the mushrooms have fully cooled, put the white mushrooms, cream cheese, salt, thyme, ice cubes, and chicken tenderloins into your food processor. Process until you have a smooth paste. Add the chanterelle mushrooms and pulse until they are roughly chopped.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
To stuff the chicken breasts. lift up the chicken skin ... starting on the uneven side. The skin will be loose from the meat on that side, and attached on the other side.
Until all the meat is uncovered. Don't pull the skin all the way off - you want to be able to keep the stuffing enclosed.
Pile the stuffing onto the chicken meat. There will be a lot of stuffing. That's what you want.
Fold the flap over and secure with toothpicks.
Heat the olive oil in an ovenproof frying pan over medium heat. A cast iron frying pan is ideal. Cook the chicken, skin-side down, until it it nicely browned.
Turn the chicken over and put the pan in the oven. Cook at 375 degrees until the chicken is cooked through to 160 degrees, about 15-20 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts. Remove the chicken from the oven, cover with foil, and let rest for at least five minutes before slicing.