Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Chicken Clausette

Tonight was the famous Chicken stuffed with zucchini and cheese night! My husband was joking tonight that we need to name it because it is a mouthful to say. He kiddingly said we should name it "Chicken Clausette", I think just because he likes the way he almost has to spit when he says the name. It is the name of Claire Dane's role in Les Miserables. What the heck, why not? When we're 60 and I've been making this for him for over 30 years and someone asks how it got it's name, it'll be funny. It has taken me over a year to master this recipe, but that's because I had to completely do it blind, trying to match a restaurant's recipe that I love. It has a lemon butter cream sauce, which was the hard part to figure out. It is SOOOOOO good. Start out by pouding out your boneless chicken breasts. I go a little overboard to protect from chicken contamination so I encase it in plastic wrap before I pound. I picture microscopic drops of salmonella flying all over my kitchen if I don't. You would too, if you ever spent the night out of town, at the ER with your 1 year old whose brain was about to boil from catching salmonella from 3 other adults in the family that had it. (Thankfully I wasn't responsible for that bbq! Yikes, my father in law won't eat chicken to this day- and that was about 4 years ago!)
Prep your ingredients by shredding your zucchini and cheddar cheese. I always shred extra zucchini and saute separately to have extra veggies. I also lay out several toothpicks so that I don't have to reach into the box with raw chicken on my hands.

This is what the chicken looks like pounded out. This is ONE chicken breast.

Season the chicken with pepper, salt and garlic granules. Flip it over so that the seasoned side is out. Put a pile of zucchini and a pile of cheese on top.

Roll it up. Don't worry if it falls out the edges. Do the best you can and secure it with a few toothpicks. Have a pan heating up with EVOO in it. Brown on both sides before transferring the pan into a 400 degree oven. I use an oven-safe pan so that I don't have to move the chicken to another pan, but if you don't have one, just transfer the browned chicken to a baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. DON'T OVERCOOK! Dry chicken is one of the biggest mistakes people make because "I didn't think it was done" and then they serve you a hockey puck. Trust me, you pounded it so thin, it will be done.

Here is one side browned.

You will need 1 stick of butter, melted. I used this contraption, so that I can clarify my butter. It is a very important step. Trust me, like I said...a year of trial and error! If you don't have one of these things you can just melt your butter in a bowl and wait a minute, then skim off the solids that float to the top with a spoon. It doesn't have to be perfect, just get most of the white part out. Use a small saucepan, add your clarified butter, and 2 Tbsp flour. whisk together over medium heat for about 2 minutes. Depending how many people you are cooking for...add your heavy cream. About half of a pint is good for 2 people. Whisk it together and it will thicken. Now comes the lemon juice. I don't measure, but I can tell you, it's a lot. I would start with the juice of 1 lemon, or about 2 Tbsp. (that's on the LIGHT side), taste it, and then add more. You can always add more, but you can't take it out once you add it.

It will look like this. Nice and thick consistency but not too thick. Once you get the thickness you want, turn it to LOW so that it doesn't get TOO thick.

This is one dinner I always plate up for everyone, because I like to take the toothpicks out of the chicken. I serve it with rice pilaf (it tastes great with the sauce!) and the extra shredded zucchini that I saute up in a separate pan. Cover with lemon butter sauce and YUMMM.

See how pretty it looks when you cut it. =) See you don't have to be at a fancy restaurant to have restaurant style food! You can make it yourself...and then have your hubs do the dishes since this dinner was so labor intensive! =)

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