White Wine Reduction
This meal came about when I was making dinner for myself, using only what I had available in my house. When I can, I like to plan all my meals and take a trip to the grocery store to buy the things I need; however, this particular night I found myself having to make do with what was already accessible to me. This is what I came up with: chicken breast stuffed with spinach and feta with a side of artichoke hearts. I had an undeniable craving for artichokes and I thought, how about making a sort of “deconstructed” spinach and artichoke dip? The filling has a Greek twist to it, resembling the Greek spinach pie dish called spanakopita. Everything I make reflects who I am as a person and I think that is exactly what food should do; it should be an extension of yourself.
For the chicken:
1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, butterflied and pounded out
1 package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 scallion, chopped
Red pepper flake, as spicy as you like it
Fresh or dried mint; I used mint from the garden that has been dried
White wine, just a splash
Feta cheese, crumbled
Bucket o’ Feta
You know you’re Greek when…
For the sauce:
Pearl onions, enough for one serving (I used frozen)
1/4-1/2 cup white wine
3 tablespoons butter
For the artichoke hearts:
1 package frozen artichokes ( I had fresh artichokes in my refrigerator but I am saving those for something else so stay tuned!)
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 lemon, juiced
White wine, just a splash
Red pepper flake
In a sauté pan, heat a small amount of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the chopped garlic and scallions along with the pinch of red pepper flake and cook for a few minutes until soft. After draining all the water from the spinach, add it to the pan and splash the pan with some white wine, just for some extra flavor. To the spinach mixture, add the mint and fresh dill and season with salt and pepper. Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool. Once the mixture has cooled down a bit, add some crumbled feta to it.
* You can add a beaten egg to the spinach mixture before setting it up on top of the chicken breast. The egg will make the mixture softer as opposed to it being a bit stringy if you don’t add it. This step is not absolutely necessary; it is just a tip for you to take into consideration.
Clean and rinse your chicken breast. Pat the chicken breast dry and place it on a cutting board. Using your knife, butterfly your chicken breast and flatten it onto the cutting board. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the chicken breast and using a meat mallet, pound the breast out until it is about 1/4 inch thick. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Take the cooled spinach mixture and flatten it on top of the chicken breast. From one end, start to roll the chicken breast and fasten it with a toothpick. When I am without a toothpick, I use a paper clip that I bend out of shape. When I was in college I was forced to be innovative and I used this trick all the time. Butcher’s twine would also work well, but at the time, I never had that on hand either.
Preheat your oven to 300°. Heat some olive oil in a sauté pan. Use just enough to brown the chicken; you do not want too much oil in the pan. When the oil is hot, carefully place the chicken breast in the pan seam-side down. Placing the seam-side down will help keep the roll intact during cooking. After a few minutes, turn the chicken breast over and brown the other side; do the same on all four sides. Place the entire pan in the oven to continue cooking. After a few minutes of the chicken being in the oven, I add the pearl onions to the hot pan to get the sauce started. Allow the onions to brown a bit before splashing the white wine into the pan. At this point, add the butter to the sauce and allow it to reduce. The butter will give the sauce a velvety consistency.
* Keep an eye on the chicken in the oven. After 5 minutes or so, turn the oven off and open the door to allow some of the heat to escape so the chicken will not be over-cooked. This will still keep the chicken warm without drying it out.
On to the artichokes. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a pan and add the chopped garlic. Let the garlic cook for a minute or so before adding the artichokes. Once the artichokes are added, splash the pan with some white wine, squeeze a lemon over the top, and season with salt, pepper, and red pepper flake. Let the flavors combine a bit before removing from the heat. Once off the heat, top with fresh dill.
At this point, the chicken will have already been cooked and rested. Resting the chicken is important. Do not cut into the chicken, or any piece of meat, immediately after you remove it from the oven; let it rest to allow the juices to redistribute themselves through the meat. Slice the chicken and top with the pearl onion and wine reduction. Serve the artichokes as a side.
Préparée avec amour,
© 2011 Xristina Miros