As I had mentioned one of my earlier posts, December is my favorite month of the year and one of the reasons being Christmas. I’ve loved Christmas since I was a kid. Back in school, we used to have celebrations with Christmas carols, dancing, food, exchange of gifts etc, just before the winter holidays. Since the weather used to be quite snug at this time of the year at my hometown, we used to go for family picnics by the river side. It used to be a fun filled day with good food, games and music…I loved every bit of it 🙂
Even though I’ve left home for over a decade, I’ve celebrated Christmas each and every year with my family or friends and never missed a chance to put up a Christmas tree and enjoy good food 🙂
A big part of any festival is always the food and it has to be special and in sync with the mood of the festival. This year we decided to grill some chicken and potatoes stuffed with cheese seasoned with some spices and herbs. There was our Christmas tree, a nice movie and good food with my family. What else could I ask for?
How did you spend your Christmas? Let me know if you’ve made any special dish for your family… would love to try it out 🙂
Preparation Time: 45 minutes (including preparation of the stuffing)
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Chicken – 3 breasts, around 200 g each
Potatoes – 3 large, boiled and cut vertically into halves
Cooking Oil – 4 tablespoons (divided into two halves – 2 + 2)
Feta Cheese – 100 g
White Onion – 1 large, chopped
Almonds – 50 g, skinned and cut into vertical pieces (you can get almonds cut this way at the supermarket)
Milk – 1/2 cup
Garlic – 4 cloves, chopped
Dried Parsley – 1 teaspoon
Paprika – 1 teaspoon
Seasoned Pepper – 2 teaspoons
Toothpicks – around 10 to 12 (for sealing the chicken)
Parsley – finely chopped (for garnish)
Salt – to taste
Step 1: Place the chicken breast flat on the cutting board. Take a sharp knife and starting from one one end cut horizontally into the center of the meat about 3/4 of the way down, being careful not to cut through to the other side totally, so that it opens like a book. Follow the same steps for all the breasts. Take one half of the oil with a pinch of salt. Use a part of it to grease all sides of the chicken including the inside. Keep aside.
Step 2: Take the boiled potatoes. Scoop out the center of the potatoes leaving a hole, just enough to put the stuffing in. Keep the scooped out potato portions in a bowl and mash it. Mash the cheese and keep aside.
Step 3: Dry roast the almonds in a non-stick vessel or pan, until you get a light brown color. Keep aside.
Step 4: Heat the other half of the oil in the non-stick pan or vessel. Add the onion and garlic. Saute for 2 minutes or so. Add the paprika, half of the pepper, dried parsley and cook for another minute. Add the mashed potatoes (from Step 2) and mix well.
Step 5: Add the milk, mashed cheese and roasted almonds. Cook for few minutes until you have a thick consistency. Add salt for taste. Turn off the stove and leave it for around 10 mins to cool down. The stuffing is ready.
Step 6: Open one side of the chicken breast and fill it up with the stuffing (do not fill in towards the edges, else you won’t be able to seal the chicken properly). Take 3 to 4 tooth picks and seal the open sides of the chicken (pierce the toothpick from one side and take it out from the other as you would do with a needle for stitching). Follow the same for all the breasts.
Take the scooped out potatoes and fill it up with the rest of the stuffing. Take the rest of the oil and salt mixture from Step 1 and spread on the potatoes on the base. Preheat oven to 175 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes – it’s time for the final step!
Step 7: Grease the grilling rods of the oven with oil. Place the chicken and potatoes on it and place it in the oven. Grill at 175 degrees celsius for around 15 to 20 minutes (the timing worked for my oven, if you’re not sure about the timing in your oven, you can check after 10 minutes and every 5 minutes there on) or so until the chicken is fully cooked.
Step 8: Transfer to a serving dish. Garnish with seasoned pepper, parsley and paprika. Serve hot.
Wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and very Happy New Year 🙂
A few tips:
- You can add mushrooms to the filling with some thyme leaves.
- Add some sauteed vegetables as sides.