We’re right in the depths of fall, and fall calls for warm, one pot meals. Put the salads away, folks.
You don’t win friends with salad, after all. But you might win some friends with this dish. And you can make it in under an hour, making it a great weekday meal.
Assemble your ingredients. I used Applegate ham and Grafton Lakes 1 year cheddar, but you could use any salty meat and sharp cheese that you like. I also used some basil we had hoarded from over the summer, but you could use pretty much anything you wanted. Be creative.
You want to use about 4 cups of mushrooms. I used portobello, white button and shiitake, because I like chewy mushrooms. Instead of butter, you could use coconut oil or even olive oil, but butter is the best. Especially pastured butter.
If you noticed the booze in the back and are curious about the drink I made, wait until Wednesday. All will be revealed. For now, dust off something warm and strong from your liquor cabinet (or the top of your fridge, or the back of your cabinet) and sip while you prepare your meal.
Here’s the setup. Butterfly the chicken breasts lengthwise, leaving them attached on a long end. Pound them out to 1/4″ thickness. Put in two slices of meat, some cheese, and your herbs. Roll them up and tie with kitchen twine, or poke a lot of toothpicks through the open side. If your rolled chicken looks like a hot mess, don’t worry about it. Just do the best you can. It will be surprisingly forgiving.
Preheat your oven to 450*. Heat up an oven safe pan over medium heat and toss in about a tablespoon of your fat of choice. Brown the chicken on all sides (about 1.30 per side).
In the meantime, mess around with your dog by placing an ice cube on her butt. When the chicken is browned on all sides, put it in the oven. You want to cook the chicken rolls until they’re 165* when stuck with a thermometer. This took me about 15 minutes, because I didn’t go crazy with the browning. Take them out of the pan and set them aside to rest while you prepare the gravy.
The next step involves committing a crime against Julia Child. She really hates it when you crowd mushrooms, because they won’t brown properly. Mushrooms have a pretty high water content and will release some liquid, thus preventing a proper browning. If you want, you can drain the liquid from your pan and brown your mushrooms in turn, giving them room to breathe.
Or, you could do what I did, which was to leave all the juices and cheese that oozed out of the chicken, and dump the mushrooms in. Add an extra tablespoon of butter. For your health. Cook the mushrooms until they’re brown. Add a splash of red wine to taste (about 1/4 cup, on average), season to taste – I added salt, pepper, and fresh thyme – reduce the heat, and let simmer for 10 minutes until it thickens. If you like it really goopy, add some corn starch.
Put some mushroom sauce on your plate, and slice the chicken all fancy. Not bad, huh? Don’t forget to remove the twine and take out the toothpicks. And make another drink before you sit down to dinner. Enjoy.