I guess if I had to explain this recipe inspiration, I’d say it’s the dried figs and bleu cheese sitting in my fridge and the chicken in my freezer. I’ve been getting a tangy, creamy bleu cheese (blue cheese) from a Minnesota creamery that rivals European bleus. The figs are organic but, sadly, all the way from California. The pasture-raised chicken came from Falling Sky Farm in Marshall, Arkansas. All of the ingredients are available either certified organic or, like the chicken, organically raised without certification. Together the ingredients meld into an elegant dish that might work for date night.
- 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
- 1-2 teaspoons good red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey (or less–the figs already make this dish sweet)
- 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
- seasoning: salt, pepper, dried oregano
- 2-4 garlic cloves, crushed (We thought 4, sliced, was too much.)
- 6 dried figs, cut into bite-sized pieces and soaked in 1/4 cup brandy or marsala (non-alcohol alternative: use 2 tablespoons of apple juice and 2 tablespoons of wine vinegar)
- 2 ounces of crumbled bleu cheese (alternative: try goat cheese!)
- 1/4 cup walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Pound the chicken breast between plastic wrap until it is thinned to be about double its non-pounded size. Lightly sprinkle on salt, pepper, and dried oregano on the inside. Spread the fig pieces (save the brandy or marsala!), crumbled bleu cheese, crushed garlic and walnuts over about half of the chicken breast. Roll up the chicken sushi-style, stuffed side first, and position it in the baking pan with the seam on the underside. I used a 2-quart Dutch oven and was able to push the ends of the roll into the pan sides, helping to hold in the bleu cheese. Lightly sprinkle the outside with salt, pepper, and dried oregano. If any figs fell out during the rolling process, put them in the pan too.
Mix together the mustard, honey, red wine vinegar, and brandy or marsala left over from soaking the figs. Spread half of the mixture over the top of the rolled-up chicken. Reserve the rest for basting.
Bake chicken in a 325 degree F oven for about 40 minutes, basting every 5 or 10 minutes while the chicken bakes. Cut the chicken on an angle into 2 or 3 servings.
I served this chicken with a hearty whole-wheat roll a big salad of mesclun and grated radish and carrots.