Thursday, January 27, 2011

Stuffed Chicken: An Odyssey

In terms of getting a handle on setting expectations that are artificially inflated, I think I've struck on another.

The Kiev is a lie.

I have something deeply embarrasing to admit. I've never actually made a stuffed chicken breast. From scratch, that is. I've heated these frozen things up which are fine, but I always suspect that when I buy something frozen, it's completely artificial. Like there's a machine somewhere that just churns these things out wholly formed, because otherwise I can't really conceive of how you make a little football of chicken and ham and fun. I have had non-frozen stuffed chicken, obviously, but I think usually those have been professionally prepared at weddings and graduation parties and places that are likely to have a lot of Sterno on hand. And, of course, I assume that culinary schools are basically Hogwarts, and that the rules don't apply. Of course those guys can make delicious little packets of chicken. They're magic.

Then, I came across this. Which seems easy enough, and I thought I'd try out given that I had chicken, bread crumbs and little cans of green chiles. Which is fun, until I got to the part where I had to suture the chicken together with toothpicks. I think the first problem is that I overestimated how elastic a hammered-out half chicken breast is. I did not overestimate the possibilities for "Hammered-Out Chicken Breast" as the name for a trip-hop band, because those are endless. But I'm pretty sure I tried to fit too much inside the little chicken roll-up. Something went wrong, because it looks like a horrorshow. Even moreso when it was time to cover it in egg and breading.

Twenty minutes later, it still looks nowhere near professional, but the seam has sort of been sealed by the cheese, which is how I think seams should work in general. Very slightly overcooked (which I'm fine with, given that I'm still desperately clinging to the "just figuring out how to cook without poisoning everyone" label). I overbreaded it a bit and evidently forgot how many toothpicks I'd used to stitch the damned thing together, but "slightly more bready chicken" seems worth "demystifying chicken envelopes".

"Demystifying Chicken Envelopes" being a ridiculous jam band that no one would voluntarily listen to.

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