You can turn any day into a special day...All you need is a little imagination!
Here's what I came up with on one of those 'every day' days and it made that day a 'special' day....
Ideas to make it special?
well...got some tulips, served some nice wine and printed the Menu on a paper and kept 'reserved' sign on the table...Silly...isn't it?
- Chicken breasts ( possibly sliced)
- Monterey Jack cheese
- Cream Cheese
- Pepper Jack Cheese
- Feta Cheese
- Curry powder
- Fennel powder
- Sun Dried tomatoes
- Thinly sliced white onions
- Garlic cloves- 4-5
- Figs - 15 to 16 ( More the better)
- Baby Spinach
- Fresh lime Juice
Step A : Preparing the Chicken.
- Wash and pat dry the chicken breasts. Cover the firm working surface ( wooden cutting board etc) with plastic wrap. Put the sliced chicken breasts on it and add another layer of plastic wrap on the chicken breasts locking them in 2 layers.
- With a hard bottomed pan pound the chicken breasts to make them thinner. Please be careful as you don't want to ruin the soft tissues of the muscle.
- Mix together 1/3 cup of each type of cheese. There is not a hard and fast rule about the measurements here. If you don't have one kind of cheese you can replace it with what you like. The only important cheese is the cream cheese as it is used to bind the stuffing together.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. If you are using the pepper jack cheese go a little light on the pepper.
- Add a pinch of paprika, 1/2 teaspoon of curry powder, 1 teaspoon of fennel powder, finely chopped sun dried tomatoes, basil leaves(5-6), 12-15 capers, lime juice ( 1/2 teaspoon) and 1 teaspoon oregano to the cheese mixture.
- There is no perfect measurements for these ingredients. You can choose them as you like.
- Mix well and keep aside for 5 minutes.
- Add olive oil to the pan to coat bottom just enough. ( I added 2 teaspoons)
- Once the oil is hot add onions, garlic cloves and chopped fig.
- Saute this mixture just till the oil coats the onions. Add a little salt and pepper to this and keep cooking on the lowest possible heat.
- Remove the wrap from the chicken breasts and pat dry again. Season the breasts with little salt and pepper.
- Spread the cheese mixture on each chicken breast.Add baby spinach leaves on the cheese mixture.
- Take the short end of the breast in your hand and start rolling the chicken to the other end.
- The most important part is not to stuff the chicken too much.
- Take a cooking thread and tie the chicken roll as tight as you can without getting the stuffing out.
- Season the rolls with salt and pepper from out side.
- In the pan carefully place the chicken rolls on the bed of onions, garlic and figs. You need to make sure that the chicken does not directly touch the bottom of the pan.
- Preheat over at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- It's ideal if you can use the pan which is oven safe as well. That's where the 'star of my kitchen' - my Le Creuset Dutch Oven comes into the spotlight :-).
- If you don't have a pan which you can use on the stove and in the oven - don't worry. You can still pull it through.
- Take a baking pan and cover the bottom of it with the slightly cooked onions, garlic and figs. Place the chicken rolls on that bed and cook it in the oven for 30 minutes.
- If you have any leftover stuffing then you can use it with tomatoes. Cut the tomato in half,remove the seeds, stuff it with the cheese mixture and bake it with the chicken in the same pan. The water from the tomatoes helps to keep the chicken moist.
- Each oven is calibrated differently and only you know how it works. The key to check if the chicken is done is to do a toothpick test.
- Once the chicken is cooked take the rolls out and let it cool. Once it is cooled remove the threads.
- In a blender blend together the cooked onions, garlic and figs into a paste.
- In the same pan add the blended mixture and the chicken rolls and simmer on a low heat.
- Serve the chicken and the sauce with saffron pilaf ( as I did) or with bread or with just simple boiled rice.