There are so many discoveries on the prairies. It's hard to believe how much culinary richness there is.
—CJ Katz, author
CJ Katz grew up in Ontario and moved to Saskatchewan 10 years ago. Though she came as she says, "kicking and screaming," she has since fallen in love with the prairies.
"There are so many discoveries on the prairies. It's hard to believe how much culinary richness there is," she says.
Saskatchewan has only recently started to have an artisanal cheese industry, so when the first goat cheese producer emerged, she just had to create a recipe around this delicious cheese.
CJ Katz (Tamara Klein)
"I love goat cheese. It has a wonderful earthy and clean taste and works really well in this dressed up dish. It may look flashy, but really, these stuffed chicken breasts are incredibly easy to make."
Here is CJ's recipe, from her newly released cookbook, Taste: Seasonal Dishes from a Prairie Table. Goat Cheese and Red Pepper Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Serves 4 to 6
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
½ cup (125 ml) goat cheese (chèvre), plain or flavoured
3 roasted red peppers, homemade or jarred, peeled and seeds removed
several bunches of fresh basil
salt and pepper, to taste
canola oil, for frying
½ cup (125 ml) dry red wine
1 cup (250 ml) chicken stock
1 tbsp (15 ml) cold butter
Butcher twine to tie the chicken breasts
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
Place one chicken breast between two pieces of waxed paper. Using a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound the breast to about ¼" (.5 cm) thickness. Repeat with the other chicken breasts.
Cut the roasted red pepper into quarters. Remove the basil leaves from the stem.
Lay the chicken breasts on a clean counter. Spread 1 to 2 tbsp (15 to 30 ml) goat cheese on the upside of each breast to completely cover. Lay a single layer of basil leaves on the cheese, spreading out each leaf so it lays flat. Top the basil with the red peppers, laying each quarter flat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Roll up each breast into a pinwheel-style log. Using butcher twine, tie each breast closed. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Preheat a large skillet with an ovenproof handle* on high heat. Add about 1 tbsp (15 ml) canola oil, and sear each breast on all sides, until golden brown but not fully cooked through.
Transfer the skillet to the hot oven. Roast the chicken breasts for about 12 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven. Remove the breasts to a platter. Cover with a single layer of waxed paper and then cover with a tea towel. Let the breasts rest about 10 minutes before slicing. Turn off the oven.
Meanwhile, place the same skillet with the pan drippings on medium heat. Deglaze the pan with the red wine. Let the wine simmer until reduced by half. Add the chicken stock and let the liquid simmer until reduced by half. Whisk in the cold butter. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, remove the butcher twine from each breast. Cut the breasts into ½" (1 cm) thick slices. Spoon a small pool of the red wine sauce on a plate and fan the chicken breast slices on the sauce.
* If the skillet does not have an ovenproof handle, wrap the handle with a layer of aluminum foil.CJ Katz is in Winnipeg on Wednesday December 5, speaking and signing her book at 7 p.m. in the Atrium at McNally Robinson Books.