Thursday, March 26, 2009

Roasted Shallot Mashed Potatoes, Stuffed Chicken Breasts, and Balsamic Reduction

Balsamic vinegar is wonderful. Sometimes I come up with dinners that work around it just to make sure I can have some. Most of the time I just have it with fresh greens and olive oil. I already had the plan for the mashed potatoes (thanks Aaron!) and wanted to make something fancy around it. The thing that’s funny about this is that although the whole meal sounds kind of fancy, it’s really easy to do and doesn’t take that much time. Cheater, cheater!

This is what I did:

For the potatoes –
2 large russet potatoes
A hunk of butter
A splash of milk
2 shallots
Olive oil
Pepper to taste

For the chicken-
¼ c. ricotta cheese
A hunk of yellow onion, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
A bit of flour to dredge
Olive oil

1/3 c. balsamic vinegar for the reduction

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Peel the shallots and place in a baking dish or muffin tin, drizzle with olive oil, and cover with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil, and bake for another 20. When they are cool enough to handle, rough chop them and set aside. You can also use this method for roasting garlic, which is fantastic.

Follow mashed potato directions from this post and mix in roasted shallots at the end.

For the chicken, heat olive oil in a small saucepan and add onion and garlic. Cook until onion is glassy and soft, which should only be a few minutes. Add ricotta to a small bowl and mix with onion and garlic. Set aside. Flatten the chicken a bit and cut open the breasts. Cut so there’s a pocket, but not all the way through. I know the picture looks kind of gross. Just go with it. Stuff in a bit of the ricotta mixture and close the pocket. Just eyeball it. Lightly season each side with salt and pepper. Dredge with a bit of flour for a crispier crust.

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Sear on both sides, about 2 minutes each. You want a nice, brown crust. Reduce heat to medium-low and cover saucepan. Cook through, about 10 minutes.

The reduction is the easiest part. Add the balsamic vinegar to a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Let cook until most of the liquid is gone. Mine took about 7 minutes, but it will really depend on your stovetop. Drizzle over chicken, potatoes, anything else you want. It is so, so good.

The timing of this meal was a bit difficult and the potatoes ended up being a wee bit cold. Bummer, I know. The potatoes don’t really take very long to cook and if you have a mixer, the rest is so easy. Next time I’ll start the potatoes a bit later and have the chicken all prepped and ready to go sooner. All in all though, this was a tasty meal.

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