Thursday, December 15, 2011

a French dish

A few months ago I was looking for something French to cook. I knew I wanted to make something with St. Andre cheese - it's one of my favorite cheeses since it's buttery and easy to use. So I googled it and came across a great recipe for herbed stuffed chicken papillotes with St. Andre cheese. Although I'm a vegetarian now, before I stopped eating meat I loved chicken anything. But after eating this, it was pretty difficult to find another chicken dish that lived up to its standards. The andre cheese melted perfectly.

While I originally planned to make a side dish with the leftover andre, I realized I didn't have enough. So I cooked up some white jasmine rice with the herbs I had, roasted some tomatoes, and stuffed them. Voila. Along with the mozzarella garlic bread (not French, but goes well with the chicken), and the eclairs, I created a pretty easy and delicious dinner. Pair it with some French white wine and before you know it you're in a hotel balcony looking at the Eiffel Tower. Hey, a girl can dream.

Recipe for the herbed stuffed chicken papillotes with St. Andre:

(Note: because the cheese melts easy, make sure to have it in the fridge for a good hour beforehand)


(serves four)
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
(7-8 oz. each)
- 1 tsp. poultry seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 4 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 6 oz. Saint André cheese,
rind removed, quartered and well-chilled
- 4 tsp. olive oil
- 4 tsp. lemon juice
- 4 sheets parchment paper, 15" long


- Preheat oven to 400°F.
In a small bowl, combine poultry seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
- Cut a pocket in each chicken breast. With chicken breast skin-side down, insert a sharp knife into the thinner end, following through to the thicker end to create a lengthwise pocket. Be careful not to puncture sides of chicken breast.
- Insert one slice of St André cheese into each pocket.
Rub each chicken breast with 1/2 tsp. of spice mixture.
Fold each parchment sheet in half, and cut a large heart shape using folded edge as the center.
- Unfold each paper heart and place 1 cup of mushrooms on one half, near the fold. Place chicken skin-side up with the opening to the pocket folded under to create a seal. Sprinkle chicken breast with 1 tsp. each olive oil and lemon juice. Continue with remaining chicken and mushrooms.
- Fold over other half of heart to enclose the chicken and mushrooms. Starting at the top of each heart, make small overlapping folds to seal the edges together. At the bottom of the heart, twist the last folds a couple of times and tuck under to make a tight seal.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes. Transfer packets to dinner plates and let sit for 5 minutes. Carefully cut an "X" in the top of each parchment package to allow steam to escape. Serve on plates or in bowls.

For the stuffed tomatoes:


- Four large tomatoes
- A bag of white rice
- Lemon juice
- A teaspoon of thyme
- Salt & pepper
- Sugar (for caramelizing the tomatoes)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Cremini mushrooms


-Preheat oven to 300 degrees
-Put three cups of white rice in a rice cooker (or pan) and cook with water, a tablespoon of lemon juice, a teaspoon of thyme, the mushrooms, and as much salt and pepper as you prefer. Cook until soft.
-Cut the tops off of the tomatoes, but set them to the side so you can put them on top of the rice when they are stuffed. Scoop out the contents of the tomatoes with a large spoon, being careful not to puncture the tomato.
-When the tomatoes are empty, place them on a baking pan and drizzle about two tablespoons of olive oil on them. Sprinkle some sugar on them (not too much).
-Roast for about twenty minutes or until they start to brown.
-Stuff with rice, and put the tops of the tomatoes back on.

For the eclairs:


-1/2 cup butter
-1 cup water
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-1/4 teaspoon salt
-4 eggs
-1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
-2 1/2 cups cold milk
-1 cup heavy cream
-1/4 cup confectioners' sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-2 (1 ounce) squares semisweet chocolate
-2 tablespoons butter
-1 cup confectioners' sugar
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-3 tablespoons hot water


-Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C). Grease a cookie sheet.

-In a medium saucepan, combine 1/2 cup butter and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, stirring until butter melts completely. Reduce heat to low, and add flour and salt. Stir vigorously until mixture leaves the sides of the pan and begins to form a stiff ball. Remove from heat. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well to incorporate completely after each addition. With a spoon or a pastry bag fitted with a No. 10, or larger, tip, spoon or pipe dough onto cookie sheet in 1 1/2 x 4 inch strips.

-Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce heat to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) and bake 20 minutes more, until hollow sounding when lightly tapped on the bottom. Cool completely on a wire rack.

-For the filling, combine pudding mix and milk in medium bowl according to package directions. In a separate bowl, beat the cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Beat in 1/4 cup confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Fold whipped cream into pudding. Cut tops off of cooled pastry shells with a sharp knife. Fill shells with pudding mixture and replace tops.

-For the icing, melt the chocolate and 2 tablespoons butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Stir in 1 cup confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in hot water, one tablespoon at a time, until icing is smooth and has reached desired consistency. Remove from heat, cool slightly, and drizzle over filled eclairs. Refrigerate until serving.

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