Saturday, February 16, 2013

Caprese Stuffed Chicken with Velouté Sauce

Over the past few years, I've become increasingly aware of how to cook for someone with a food allergy.  Our friend Angie is visiting us from Portland this evening for dinner, and having a gluten intolerance, her visits have taught me a lot about thinking outside the box when it comes to having to omit standard staple ingredients (flour, soy sauce and the like).  Tonight, I'm making a caprese stuffed chicken breast with a delicious, rich velouté sauce, potato smashers and chocolate molten cake for dessert.

In accordance with my vow to blog healthier recipes, I've lighten up the dish to minimize the added fat and calories.  In my original version, I used chicken thighs and butter braised the skin to a crispy, golden brown.  Delicious, yes but a skinless breast yields a much healthier alternative.

Potato smashers, as I like to call them, are incredibly simple to make and combine all my favorite preparations of a potato.  You get the outer crisp of a french fry, the steamy deliciousness of a baked potato and the interior creaminess of a mashed.  Can you beat that?  Take small yukon gold potatoes, about 2-3 inches each in diameter and boil them until fork tender.  On a lightly greased baking sheet, place each potato and smash them with a fork.  Spray them with olive oil (if you don't have a Misto, get one - it's one of the best kitchen inventions ever) and season with sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper and paprika.  Bake on 375 degrees for about 20 minutes and top with a bit of Greek yogurt.

Caprese Stuffed Chicken [serves 4]

2 large chicken breasts, sliced lengthwise into 4 thin pieces of breast meat
2 oz fresh mozzarella (or any semi-soft cheese of your choosing)
2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
4 large fresh basil leaves
2 roasted red peppers
1 finely chopped shallot
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Ozark spice blend (you can get it at Penzey's or substitute it with Montreal Steak Seasoning)
sea salt and pepper to taste

- Preheat oven to 375
- In a small bowl, soak four toothpicks in water
- Place the slices of chicken between two pieces of wax paper and with a meat tenderizer, pound the slices into thin sheets
- Remove the top piece of wax paper and discard
- About a 1/2 inch form the edge of the chicken, layer cheese, sliced tomatoes, basil and peppers
- Roll each chicken breast around the ingredients into a roulade (think jelly roll)
- In a small bowl, combine shallot, garlic, olive oil and spices and mash into a paste
- Rub each roulade with the garlic paste and place in a single layer in a baking dish
- Bake for 35 minutes or until the internal temperate of the chicken (not the fillings) reaches 165 degrees
- Top with velouté sauce and serve immediately

Gluten Free Roasted Garlic Velouté Sauce

3 tablespoons tapioca or rice flour
3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
6 cloves of roasted garlic, mashed
sea salt and pepper to taste

- In a small sauce pan, melt the butter (or gently heat the olive oil)
- One tablespoon at a time, sprinkle the flour over the surface of the melted butter, whisking between additions
- Add the mashed roasted garlic and continue whisking until a roo forms (a flour and butter paste used to thicken the sauce)
- In a separate pan, heat the stock on a low simmer (do not boil)
- Slowly add the stock to the roo, whisking constantly to avoid clumps
- Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve with your chicken immediately

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