Chicken breasts seem to be extremely popular and yet at the same time they are my least favourite part of the chicken. The meat generally lacks any great flavour and has a tendency of drying out. This is one of those recipes that requires a little preparation but then its takes care of itself in the oven. The wrap of parma ham or bacon keeps the breast nice and moist as does the juicy filling in the centre.
Chicken Breasts Wrapped in Parma Ham
– 4 large free range chicken breasts
– 120g ricotta cheese
– 60gms sun dried tomatoes roughly chopped
– 100g mixed wild mushrooms
– 1 dry birds eye chili
– 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
– 1 single sprig thyme
– 2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive oil
– 1 tsp finely chopped parsley
– 1 tbsp butter
– 3 tbsp mascarpone/cream
– salt & pepper
– 25mls brandy
– 8 slices parma ham
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Now prepare the mushroom stuffing. Heat your pan. Now add the olive oil, butter, pinch finely thyme with the finely chopped garlic. Allow it to soften but not to brown. Now add the mushrooms, cut into rough chunks, the chunkier the better as it will add to the meatiness of the sandwich. Add the crumbled chili and stir once to coat, now leave the mushrooms to start browning and colouring, do not keep stirring them or they will lose their water and boil. Also make sure when you add your mushrooms that you do not over crowd the pan as this will also cause them to boil. Once the mushrooms have begun to get good colour, add the brandy, BE CAREFUL, the alcohol may burn off, don’t get a fright. Once the brandy has all but disappeared add the mascarpone, fresh parsley and salt and pepper, before dropping the heat and allowing the mascarpone to melt into the mushrooms. Stir to loosen all the yummy sticky bits. Set the mushrooms aside.
To prepare the chicken breasts cut a slit into one side of the breast, try and get as close to the other side as you can but be careful to not pierce the breast all the way through. Now add the ricotta and sun dried tomatoes to your mushroom mixture. Place two pieces of parma ham on a sheet of grease proof paper now place a chicken breast on top of those. Opening the pocket you have created try and squeeze in as much mushroom mixture as you can, but at most a 1/4 of the mix. Gently wrap the parma ham around the breast and using a piece of cooking string close the parcel up. Don’t squeeze it or you will force the mixture out. Once all 4 breasts are prepared, drizzle a little olive oil and place in a baking tray on the middle shelf of the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the juices run clear from the thickest part of the breast.