Sunday, April 12, 2009

Farfel Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Blackcurrant Sauce

Farfel Stuffed Boneless Chicken Breasts with Black Currant Sauce
Adapted from Joan Nathan’s Jewish Cooking in America and served here with Wild Mushroom Potato Kugel and roasted asparagus spears this time just tossed with some oil, salt & pepper.

Hands-on time: 20 minutes
Baking time: 1 hour
Serves 8-10


1 cup boiling water (or ½ cup water, ½ cup chicken broth)
3 cups matzo farfel (or matzo crumbled into medium sized bits)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
3 large cloves garlic, chopped
1 tbsp oil
Salt & pepper to taste
3 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp dried thyme

1 boneless chicken breast half per person (plus I always add 2 just in case)

¼ cup Manischewitz or other sweet red wine or Port
1 jar (12oz/340g) blackcurrant preserve – apricot jam, or whatever jam you favor

Preheat the oven to 350°F/170°C

1. Pour boiling water (or water/broth mix) over the farfel in a large bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes or until the water is all absorbed. Allow to cool for a few minutes.

2. Meanwhile, sauté onions, mushrooms, thyme and garlic in some oil over medium heat until the onions and mushrooms are soft and starting to brown. Remove from heat, allow to cool and add to the farfel, toss together.

3. Add the beaten eggs, salt & pepper and mix well.

Preparing the chicken breasts:
1. Oil a large oven proof dish just large enough to hold all the chicken rolls with a bit of space between them.

2. Butterfly the chicken breasts (tutorial at end of post) and flatten evenly.

3. On a cutting board, or other flat surface, place the prepared breasts shiny side (where the skin used to be) down. Spoon some filling (about the size of a lime) in the center of the breast. Roll the chicken over the filling, starting at the bottom and then place the roll, seam side down in the baking dish. No need to use tooth picks or string to secure them.

4. Once all the breasts are in the dish, drizzle with a little wine and spread a large spoonful of jam over each breast, trying to cover the top. Bake, uncovered for 30 minutes or so and then add the rest of the jam to the juices and shake to incorporate the jam into a “sauce”. Continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is no longer pink in the center, spooning sauce over the chicken occasionally.

5. Place the chicken rolls on a platter and place the baking dish on top of the stove over medium high heat to thicken the sauce. Serve separately or pour over the chicken on the platter.

How to Butterfly boneless chicken breasts:

1. Place chicken breast skin side up on the cutting board. If the piece has no skin on it, place the shinier, smoother side up. Start at the edge of the breast that is slightly split (the filet).

2. Work toward the opposite edge but don’t go right to it, making a cut through the thickest part of the breast, creating a much larger, thinner piece of chicken.

3. The idea is to end up with a piece of chicken of almost even thickness and about twice the original size.

4. Flatten with a wooden mallet or heavy bottomed pan until the breast is the same thickness all over.

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