Recipe by Mike Newnham
excerpted from Mark Bittman The New York Times May 25, 2008 Take two chicken breast halves and pound them just a little. If they're an inch thick at first, maybe take them down to three-quarters of an inch. Lay some cooked greens on one, put the other on top, and tie them together. It's really not stuffing, but layering. The cooking of greens and chicken takes place in one pan, first on the stove top, then in the oven. The resulting dish not only looks impressive but tastes better than chicken and greens served separately.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1⁄4 cup raisins
- 1⁄4 cup pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 lb fresh spinach leaves
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 750 g boneless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons water
Directions See How It's Made
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut six 8-inch pieces of butcher twine. Put 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add raisins, pine nuts and garlic, and cook for about 30 seconds; add spinach, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted and fairly dry, about 10 minutes. Remove and roughly chop; stir in panko, if using. Set skillet aside.
- Spread out two chicken breasts on a work surface so that the sides where the bones were face up. Flatten them a bit with your palm, a rolling pin or the bottom of a pot. Place stuffing on top, then top with remaining breasts, end to end, the thick side of the top breast on the thin side of the bottom one, so the “sandwich” is of fairly even thickness. Tie each stuffed breast in three places with twine.
- Sprinkle all sides with salt and pepper. Use remaining tablespoon of olive oil to brown chicken in skillet used for spinach. Transfer to oven and bake, turning once, until chicken is cooked through and opaque, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Remove chicken from skillet and tent with foil. Set skillet over medium heat and add vinegar, mustard and water.
- Cook, stirring frequently, until sauce is a thin syrup. Add a few more grinds of black pepper. Remove string from chicken and slice crosswise into thin or thick pieces. Serve with a spoonful of sauce drizzled over all.