Chosen Bites: Spring fling

Simple and quick to prepare, stuffed chicken breasts dress up chicken and add a burst of flavor.

Italian stuffed chicken breasts 370 (photo credit: Laura Frankel)
Italian stuffed chicken breasts 370
(photo credit: Laura Frankel)
Spring has sprung and just as I have hung up my heavy coat and put away my boots, I am lightening up my food a bit. I want the bright fresh flavors of spring and nothing says spring better than fresh herbs.
Roasted chicken breasts can be dry and boring, but adding a bright green stuffing full of herbs instantly takes the everyday chicken to a new level by adding moisture and flavor.
Short on time? Make the filling up to two days ahead of stuffing the breasts and pound the chicken breasts up to three days ahead of serving. I serve the chicken breasts sliced and fanned out on plates with potatoes or rice.
Chicken Involtini (Italian stuffed chicken breasts)
Stuffed chicken breasts are moist, delicious and worthy of a VIP dinner. Simple and quick to prepare, stuffed chicken breasts dress up chicken and add a burst of flavor.
Olive oil½ cup arborio rice2 shallots, minced3 cloves garlic, minced1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms  ½ cup dry white wine3 cups chicken stock, kept warm over low heat in a separate pan2 cups baby spinach leaves3 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme1 cup favorite mushrooms, chopped and sautéed to a crispy brown4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to ¼ inch thickness
String, skewers or toothpicks for fastening the chicken
1. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Lightly coat the bottom of the pan with olive oil. Sweat the shallots and garlic until they are translucent and very soft (about 5 minutes). Add the Arborio rice and stir to thoroughly coat the rice grains with olive oil.
2. Add the white wine and dried mushrooms and increase the temperature to medium high. When the wine is absorbed, add ladlefuls of hot stock stirring continuously until each addition of stock has been absorbed. Continue until the rice has cooked through, has an al dente texture on the inside but a soft outside. Cool the rice slightly.
3. Pulse the baby spinach, chopped herbs and sautéed mushrooms in a food processor with a couple of tablespoons of water until the spinach is pureed and very bright green. Stir the puree into the rice.
4. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Spread the chicken breast wide and place about 2-3 tablespoons of filling toward the edge closest to you. Roll the breast around the filling and secure with string or toothpicks.
5. Brown the chicken breasts in a sauté pan over medium high heat on all sides.
6. Add remaining chicken stock to the sauté pan after browning the chicken breasts and reduce to about 1/3 cup, season with salt and pepper.
7. Roast the chicken until cooked through about 15 minutes at 350.
8. Serve with reduced stock and additional sautéed mushrooms.
Chef Laura Frankel is Executive Chef for Spertus Kosher Catering and author of Jewish Cooking for All Seasons, and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes.