Ok, this takes a bit of work, but not really as much as it seems, things go pretty quick, I swear. And trust me, it is well worth the results.
- Rosemary (preferably fresh and not ground)
- Marjoram (optional)
- Sea salt
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup honey (preferably mesquite honey)
- 1 large red onion
- 1 garlic bulb
- 1 large cleaned carrot
- 2 bell peppers (bright colors are fun!)
- 4 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 4 oz light mozzarella or gouda
- 4-6 oz Danish bleu cheese or Roquefort
- 8 skinless chicken breasts
Pour the honey and olive oil together in a small mixing bowl. Add 1/2-1 tsp rosemary and 1/4-1/2 tsp thyme. I find that marjoram brings out the flavor, so add just a dash if you have it. Salt lightly. Whisk these together with a fork until the consistency is fairly uniform, let sit to allow herbs to infuse the oil and honey. (If you do this far ahead of time, it will have a better effect)
Open bleu cheese and allow to dry a bit. Thinly shred cheddar and mozzarella, add to medium mixing bowl. Peel and mince 1 to 3 cloves garlic (depends on your garlic tolerance, but this should be a secondary flavor). Cut in half and thinly shred carrot, onion and both bell peppers. Crumble blue cheese as finely as possible. Add a dash of salt, thyme and rosemary. Mix all of this together as well as possible in your mixing bowl (I find a fork works best for this too).
Slice the remains of the bell peppers into thin strips. Cut the onion into about 1 centimeter slices and then quarter these so you have thin strips. Use a peeler on the remains of the rest of the carrot. You can also thinly slice a couple more cloves of garlic, or even mushrooms if you like, but I prefer not to. Add 1-2 tbsp honeyoil mixture and toss well, then set aside.
Okay, this is a little difficult but it should be no problem. Take your chicken breasts, and with a long, narrow (and of course, sharp) knife make a 1-2 inch incision on the side of the breast, at the thickest part. With the knife inside the breast, slowly slice through the inside, using the point of entry as a pivot. This should create a pocket inside the breast of about 2x2 inches, but the larger the better.
Now, take a heaping tablespoon of your stuffing and bring it to the incision, then use your fingers to push it inside. Get as much inside the pocket as you can while still allowing the lips of the incision to meet. (See, who said there was no such thing as chicken lips). You can use the two halves of a toothpick to seal the incision, but I usually find that this isn't necessary. You should have a bit of stuffing left over when this done (or a lot, I am not really Chef Exacto).
At this point I usually cut off the 'tail' of the chicken breasts (the thin triangular piece at the bottom) to create nice 4-5 inch medallions. These can pretty easily be turned into chicken fingers for the kiddies or anything else you can think of really. Ok, now we are ready to rock.
All right, you can cook this a couple different ways, but I usually start with a large frying pan instead of baking. So put 1-2 tbsp of your honeyoil in the bottom and roll the pan until the bottom is completely coated. Then arrange the medallions in the pan. If you are doing 8 it should just about fill your pan. Start it out on medium to high heat to get it going, but as soon as it starts to simmer bring it down to low or medium-low heat. Now lightly brush the tops of the chicken with your rosemary honeyoil and cover (but not all the way).
On low heat, this should take about 20-30 minutes. While it’s cooking, you should uncover every 3 or 4 minutes and reapply the glaze. I also recommend moving the medallions around to prevent the ones near the middle from getting overdone. If you want to add to the aesthetics, throwing an extra pinch of dry rosemary on each looks nice (and it doesn't hurt the taste either!). Unless the stuffing is really well sealed, the natural sauce surrounding the chicken is probably a little orange and cheesy now, but that's all to the good.
Once the chicken is lightly browned, remove from the pan. If you would like it a little more crispy you can throw it in a baking dish and do it at about 325f in the oven for five minutes or so, I usually just put it on a plate and wrap it with foil to keep the heat and moisture in. Now toss the dressing in the pan with the sauce, and lightly sauté for a couple minutes, if you want to add some of your remaining honeyoil, feel free. I think that it is best aldente, so don't over do it, just a couple minutes should be fine.
Remove the medallions and place two to a plate. At this point I top it with the dressing and garnish with a dollop of the remaining stuffing. You could also toss the dressing and the stuffing together and serve it that way. I like this with a side of garlic roasted potatoes but anything nice and starchy like rice pilaf or a light angel hair pasta will do just fine. If you are worried about the richness of the dish, a nice mandarin salad can serve as an excellent counter.
Ok, you're done, pour yourself a nice chilled glass of some mildly fruity white wine, light the candles and get your grub on.