In my efforts to actually use the all the things I have stockpiled in my chest freezers, I’m trying to use up that feta cheese I got such a good deal on a few months ago. Aside from it’s appearance as a dip, that feta is having a cameo in some stuffed chicken tonight. This isn’t the most original recipe, but if it ain’t broke…
Stuffed meat seems to be disproportionately more impressive than it is hard to make. It takes a bit of time, but it’s not too challenging and is a great make-ahead dish for when you need a show-stopping entrée.
***And now for something completely different.***
So, I need your help on difference of opinion that I had with my fireman. He was helping me cook my rice pilaf, (just a simple one of sauteed onion, rice and a bay leaf) and after it had come up to a boil and been covered, I caught him opening it up and stirring it and I just freaked out in a matter entirely inappropriate for matters of rice cookery. My reaction was more suited to a situation like finding a kid feeding your dog chocolate bars…
Now, I have a difficult history with ‘white people rice.’ Coming from an Asian household I had only learned how to do rice using a rice cooker. When I was in culinary school, I learned that once you bring the rice up to a boil in rice pilaf you cover it and let it ride over low heat without ever touching it or opening the lid or stirring it. Since this seemed to work for me, I have held up this method as gospel. My fireman says his Mom taught him to stir it occaisonally. I have no doubt that both methods will result in rice that is fully cooked, and any differences would be that of personal taste and final texture; and the rice was certainly not ruined like my reaction might have indicated. Infact, it was equally as tasty and fluffy as it usually it. My whole world is shattered. What do you do in your house?
On with the show.
Feta Suffed Chicken
Served with Roasted Beets ($1) and Rice Pilaf ($.67)
Serves 4 – cost approx $1.28 per serving, including rice and beets!
- 1/2 onion, small dice, sauteed ($.11)
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 Tbs minced parsley
- 1/2 tsp dry oregano
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs ($0 if home made from stale bread)
- 1 lemon’s zest ($.15)
- 1 egg ($.28)
- 5 oz/1 small package/1 scant cup feta cheese ($.48)
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 4 chicken pieces to be stuffed – could be breasts or leg pieces that have been de-boned ($2.18)
Start off by making the filling. When I cooked up some rice pilaf to go with dinner I just sauteed one onion and took out half for my stuffing and kept half in the pot for the rice. If that’s not what you’ve got planned for dinner, saute up that onion half. Then mix all the ingredients in the first set.
For stuffing chicken breasts (or pork chops or any solid piece of meat for that matter) you can just hollow out a pocket in the meat with a long, thin knife that runs the whole length of the breast. Then pack in the stuffing through your initial incision. I’m always amazed how much stuffing a chicken breast can hold! And for thighs, I just remove the bone and pound out the meat a little bit so that it’s an even layer of chicken and then roll it up with a handful of filling inside and secure it with toothpicks. I stuffed all my chicken pieces really full, but with the ammount of filling I had, I could have easily suffed twice as many chicken pieces. But hey, go big or go home, right?
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Heat up a oven-safe pan over medium heat with some olive or vegetable oil in it. Sear the skin side of the chicken, 3-5 minutes. Flip over your pieces gently and then toss in the oven for 30 minutes or until completely cooked through. (Which is 165 F for any stuffed meats, according to The Man, to make sure any salmonella that infiltrated the stuffing is fully dead) You can toss in some small to medium diced veggies too to cook with the chicken! I had some beets that joined the party…