Today in culinary school I learned that every time I have ever made a stuffed chicken breast I was actually torturing the people eating my food because I had no idea what I was doing. Yes, I just admitted that I am not perfect. Someone take note, or a photo, or something like that because it does not happen often.
Today in class we made chicken breasts and legs stuffed with duxelles. Duxelles is a mixture of mushrooms, shallots, and breadcrumbs that is used in many different French recipes.
We used a technique called tunnel boning on the leg. To do this, the whole bone is removed from the leg while keeping the meat intact. Duxelles is then stuffed in place of the bone.
To prepare the chicken breast we were taught a technique using caul. Caul is the web like membrane of fatty material that encases the internal organs in a pig. I think this is disgusting and I do not know why some crazy French person thought this would be an ideal material to use for for cooking. I also think menudo is gross. I know that these things are unrelated, but they remind me of each other and I just really feel the need to put that out there.
To stuff the chicken breast, we pounded it lightly with a meat mallet, wrapped the chicken around the stuffing, and then wrapped the caul around the chicken breast. When the caul is cooked it melts and shrinks, holding the chicken together and leaving a web-like design on the meat. The one upside of caul.... it made my chicken look kind of pretty.
Ok, so this is definitely not the simplest chicken recipe, but it is so tasty and very French.
stuffed chicken breast.
Chicken breast and leg
Mirapoix- onion, celery, carrots
Salt and pepper
Prepare the stuffing first. Sweat the shallots in a mixture of butter and oil. Add mushrooms and sauté until most of the moisture has evaporated. Remove the pan from heat. Add breadcrumbs and a little butter to keep the mixture moist. Season with salt and set aside.
Next, prepare the chicken. To remove the bone from the leg, turn the leg with the skin/ presentation side down. Scrape meat with your knife to expose the bone. Cut around the knuckle and continue to separate the meat from the bone until you reach the end of meat. You will end up with your chicken meat attached only at the end of the bone and turned inside out. Cut the bone and turn the chicken right side in. It should look whole and as if the bone is still inside. Stuff the mushroom mixture inside the leg to replace to bone.
To prepare the breast, begin by removing the skin and trimming the fat. We left the bone in for presentation. Pound the breast with a meat mallet until it is thin enough to wrap around the stuffing. You should use about a tablespoon of stuffing. Wrap the folded breast in the caul fat. You can also use string to hold the breast together.
Heat oil in pan and brown both pieces of chicken. Brown the presentation side of the leg and the side with the caul seam on the breast. Remove chicken and set aside. Add mirapoix to pan. Add a little more oil and then place both pieces of chicken on top of the mirapoix and roast in the oven at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
Note: For perfectly cooked chicken, you can remove it from the oven when it reaches 150 degrees. It will continue to cook for several minutes and will ensure that the chicken does not dry out.
Prepare a pan sauce using the mirapoix left from the chicken. 'Sange' the mixture with flour. Add chicken stock. Reduce and season.
Slice breast for presentation. Serve thigh whole. I served my chicken with a rice pilaf and a medley of glazed carrots, pearl onions, and brussel sprouts.