1.07.2005

Fetabulous Chicken (With Basil Cous Cous)



I'm always looking for new uses for feta cheese. I have incorporated it into omelettes, sandwiches, and meat and seafood dishes of all kinds. If somebody made feta ice cream, I would probably try it. I love its flavor, its saltiness, and its texture, whether fresh or melted. I like its name: "FETA." Like some sort of sleek and heroic, but briny, Greek God who protects the children of sailors.

This dish is an amalgamation of 3 different recipes, and it turned out great, although using chicken breasts instead of chicken thighs might make the going a bit easier. But all I had were thighs, and dark meat tastes better anyhow. The recipe involves making a paste from feta, lemon juice, and oregano, which is then sealed inside the pounded-flat chicken with skewers or toothpicks. The thighs are then sauteed with tomatoes, broth, and other ingredients.

Is it a summer dish? Perhaps, but then, in Sarasota it reached 78 degrees today.

Serve it with some nice cous cous, some olives (Calamata would be best, but all I had at the time was an can of ol' Californian,) and some pita or flatbread. Your friends and family will enjoy it, and your children will be well protected, sailor.

2 comments:

Kitchen Monkey said...

FETA-STUFFED CHICKEN

Serves 4, Prep time: 20 minutes Cook time: 20 minutes

1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs (or breasts)
2/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
salt and the pepper
3/4 cup flour, for dusting
1/4 cup flour for sauce
1 cup chicken stock or broth
1 14 oz. can of imported plum tomatoes
1 can chickpeas, or 3/4 cup soaked & cooked chickpeas
1/2 cup calamata olives

1) Beat the chicken thighs or breasts until they are flat!
2) In a bowl or bowl-like object mix together the feta, lemon juice, and oregano until it is soft but not liquidy, the consistency of ricotta is what you want.
3) Spoon a bit of misture into the center of each chicken thigh or breast, leaving at least a 1/2 inch of meat on every side. Fold or wrap the chicken to encompass the mixture, and hold together with strategically placed toothpicks or short wooden skewers.
4) In the meantime make sure your other ingredients are ready. Mix the 3/4 cup of flour with a good bit of salt & pepper, then dust the chicken on every side, coating it completely.
5) Heat some olive oil in a large sautee pan, over medium heat. When it's rather hot, place the chicken pieces in with tongs, and let them sizzle, turning them until they are brown on all sides.
6) Whisk the flour into a bit of the chicken stock, then add the rest of the stock and the juice from the tomatoes. Turn the heat up to medium heat, add this mixture to the pan and bring to boil. Reduce to medium or medium-low heat, and simmer for approx. 20 minutes.

In the meantime make the simple cous-cous:

BASIL COUS-COUS

1 cup cous-cous
1 cup chicken stock or broth
2 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tsp. salt
5 - 6 fresh basil leaves

1) Bring the chicken stock, salt, and butter to a boil, remove from heat, and add cous-cous. Cover tightly.
2) Cut the basil into very thin strips.
3) The cous-cous should be ready in about 5 minutes. Spatulate into a bowl, add the basil, and stir mightily.

PRESENTATION

Spoon a mound of cous-cous into the middle of the plate.
Add a few spoonfuls of chickpeas and calamata olives to the top. Place two chicken thighs (or 1 chicken breast) to the side, and ladle on a couple tomatoes and some of the sauce. Serve with pita, flatbread, and dried apricots.

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