The inspiration for this dish was a simple seasonal meal with great flavour. I wanted to make a dish that was easy to prepare with at least some components that could be made ahead of time. A Saturday morning trip to the local farmer's market was what inspired the ingredients in this recipe; locally grown asparagus, fresh Ontario goat's cheese, organically raised local chicken breasts and I was on my way! They key to this recipe is simple and flavourful ingredients. Using ingredients that are in season makes a big difference since this is the time when they are at their flavour peak. I decided to serve the chicken with a fresh spring salad using some of the same ingredients from the chicken. It would also be nice with a crusty baguette and a warm bowl of soup. The simplicity of the flavours in this dish make it easy to pair with other foods. The result was a delicious springtime meal that was perfect for a casual night with friends. Buying local and seasonal ingredients allowed me to stay way under my $100 budget and the ease of preparing the meal allowed me to spend time with my guests - which is what entertaining is all about!
- Portion size 6 servings
- Credits : yoka.canrinus
- 6 oz goat cheese
- 1 bunch fresh basil
- 6 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 green onions
- 6 chicken breasts boned and butterflied
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 30 spears fresh asparagus washed and trimmed
- 6 tablespoons grapeseed oil or another oil with a high smoke point
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 6 tablespoons honey
- 1 teaspoon hot pepper flakes
MethodPreheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Lightly grease a 9x13 casserole or baking dish, or something big enough to hold 6 chicken breasts.
In a food processor, combine goat cheese, fresh basil, half of the chopped garlic and the green onions. Pulse the mixture until it forms a smooth paste. Set aside. (This can be made 1-2 days in advance and kept in the fridge).
Lay the butterflied chicken breasts on a cutting board and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Spread the goat cheese filling in a thin layer over the meat, leaving a half inch border on all sides. Lay 4 or 5 asparagus spears at one end of the chicken.
Starting at the end with the asparagus, roll the chicken over itself to make a cylinder shape. Tie the chicken with one or two pieces of kitchen twine so that it holds together during cooking. Sprinkle the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper. (The chicken can be assembled up to one day in advance and kept in the fridge until ready to cook).
Heat the grapeseed oil over medium high heat in a large skillet big enough to hold all 6 chicken breasts. (If you don't have a big enough skillet, it's fine to do this step in a few batches). Place the chicken in a single layer and brown for about 5 minutes, turning once to brown evenly. The outside should look lightly golden, but will be raw inside. Remove the chicken to the casserole dish and set aside. Turn the heat down to medium and add the chicken stock to the skillet, gently scraping the pan to remove the stuck on bits. Add the remaining garlic, the honey and the hot pepper flakes and let it reduce for about 2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant and the sauce has thickened a bit. Pour the sauce over the chicken and place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F.
Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest at room temperature for 5 minutes. Resting the meat allows the juices to redistribute throughout the meat. Slice the chicken in half in thick slices and serve with the pan sauce.
Serve with a fresh salad and crusty baguette.
Tip: If you prefer your asparagus to be slightly softer (rather than with a bit of crunch as it is in this recipe), blanch it in boiling water for about two minutes prior to rolling it in the chicken. This will give it a chance to soften up before it goes in the oven.