Easy Entertaining: Make-Ahead Entrée.
There is nothing I like more than having friends or family over for a meal. The sharing of food and drink over lively conversation with people I care about means much to me. Entertaining is one of my favorite hobbies.
I liken my love for entertaining in the same way I feel about coffee: I adore everything about it. When getting a latté, I love standing in line waiting for my turn to order, anticipating how good that coffee will taste. I love ordering, hearing the milk steam and then waiting for my name to be called. And I love the first sip of the rich, foamy drink as much as I love the last. It’s an experience, just in that little cup of coffee.
My feelings for entertaining are the same. Pouring over cookbooks for hours to find the perfect combination of dishes that might please our guests, making the list for the grocery store, and deciding which table linen and napkins to use gives me a high. Spending the day in the kitchen preparing the meal actually energizes me, and then when our guests arrive, the music is playing, appetizers are being eaten and corks are popping, there is pure magic in the air.
But, as I’m sure you know, there is a trick to entertaining: you want to enjoy the company of the people who are sharing their evening with you, not be stuck in the kitchen all night working on the meal. So I delight in creating recipes where I can do a fair amount of prep work in advance, to maximize the time with guests.
Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts fits this criteria nicely – you can easily prepare the pepper-feta sauce the day before, as well as stuff the chicken breasts the morning of your dinner party (even that dinner party is for one!).
Broil the peppers till charred (red, yellow, or orange will all work well in this recipe) and steam to loosen the skin.
Use boneless, skin-on chicken breasts. If you don’t want to debone the chicken yourself, ask your butcher to do the deboning for you. Just make sure they select breasts with the skin intact, still attached to the muscle.
Using your fingers, gently lift the skin from the muscle to create a pocket. Place a basil leaf up against the skin. Fill the pocket between the meat and skin with the pepper-feta sauce. Toothpick the skin closed; season with salt, pepper and a small knob of butter.
Recipe can be halved or doubled easily.
|Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts|
- 2 red bell peppers
- 5 ounces feta cheese
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
- 10 basil leaves, divided
- 4 boneless, skin-on chicken breasts
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter
- Preheat oven broiler. Place bell peppers on a baking sheet and place under broiler. Turn peppers, as necessary, until all sides are blackened. Remove from oven and reduce heat to 350°F.
- Transfer peppers to a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow peppers to steam for 10 minutes. Gently peel and discard blackened skin; stem and seed peppers.
- Place peppers, feta cheese, garlic, red wine vinegar, salt, and red pepper flakes into the bowl of a food processor; process until smooth. Cut 6 basil leaves chiffonade. Transfer red pepper-feta mixture to a bowl and stir in pine nuts and chiffonade basil. Set aside until ready to use.
- Just beneath the wing joint, using fingers, gently lift the skin from the breast meat to create a pocket. Stick a basil leaf to the underside of the skin. Spoon equal amounts of the roasted red pepper-feta mixture into each pocket. Gently toothpick pockets closed. Season with salt and pepper; top with each with 1 tablespoon butter.
- Bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes or until chicken registers 165°F on a meat thermometer.
Make-Ahead Tips: If making the red pepper-feta mixture a day ahead, chill after removing from food processor; stir pine nuts and chiffonade basil in right before stuffing chicken breasts. Chicken breasts can be stuffed up to 8 hours in advance; chill on baking sheet until ready to bake.