Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Sad Tribute to the Cowboys Loss - Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Popper Chicken

I know, I know - no picture. But trust me, the one I took was so ugly I couldn't bring myself to share it. The battery was dying on my camera and my husband was starving, so I snapped a quick one in low light. The end result had a horror movie quality not seen since the height of the slasher era in the early 80's. So instead I uploaded a random pic of my Texas vacation in October. Someone it seems, had lost a longhorn. If you've seen it, call them.

Anyhow, this recipe is a tasty one and I love it because you can prep it ahead and keep in the fridge before baking off. Just flatten the breasts, stuff them, roll them and wrap them in bacon, then cover on your baking sheet with plastic wrap in the fridge for up to 12 hours. Just remember to give them 20-30 minutes at room temp to lose their chill.

Bacon Wrapped, Jalapeno Popper Chicken
• Serves 3.

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts flattened to 1/4 inch evenly all over

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 large shallots, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
2 medium jalapenoes, seeded and finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup ricotta
3/4 cup shredded sharp yellow cheddar cheese
1/8 teaspoon dried mustard
1/8 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

6 slices of bacon

Start with the filling. Heat up the olive oil and butter in a large, nonstick skillet for 30 seconds over medium heat. Add the shallots and jalapenoes, season with salt and pepper, and saute until soft - about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the ricotta, cheddar, dried mustard and additional salt. Let the filling cool slightly while you prep the chicken.

Rinse and dry your breasts, then pound to about 1/4 thickness. Divide the mixture evenly over the center of each of the breasts, then use a butter knife or spoon to spread evenly over, stopping about 1/8 inch near all edges to prevent leakage. Then, beginning at the widest part of your breasts, carefully roll them up. Take your bacon and wrap each chicken roll with the bacon (usually two pieces of bacon per chicken.) Transfer to a Pam sprayed, aluminum lined baking sheet.

Bake on 400 for 18-22 minutes, or until bacon is crisped on the outside and chicken is cooked all the way through. Let rest for 3 minutes before serving.

PS - I have this post listed under potatoes because the night I made this, I only had two chicken breasts and used the leftover cheese/jalapeno mixture (about 1/3 cup) to add to 4 medium boiled red potatoes, mashed with a splash of lowfat milk, and it made the best mashed potatoes I've had in a long time!

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