Monday, 28 October 2013

Monday Munchies: Chicken L'Aurian

My wife makes some very wonderful meals for me, and I figured I should share some of them with my friends and family, or other random people that might happen upon this space.

On a random reddit thread, a question was posed about "What is your favourite meal?". For me, it was a tie between my wife's lasagna and her special stuffed chicken recipe.

When I first met my wife, and she invited me over to her place for dinner for the first time, she made me a wonderful dish she called "Chicken Manicotti." It was baked chicken, which was stuffed with cheese, and covered with a cheesy sauce, served with pasta.

A way to a man's heart is through his stomach, so it's no wonder I fell in love with her so quickly. :)

This dish has everything a man could want: It's warm, meaty, savoury, cheesy, and filling! You hit all of the major food groups, and it's not too difficult to make. 

The problem? This dish isn't actually a Manicotti, which is basically tube pasta stuffed with cheese and other edible matter.

So, when my wife made the dish last night, she christened it with a new, proper name: Chicken L'Aurian.

My wife graciously documented her preparation and recipe for the world to see.

Step 1: The Ingredients!

  • 2-4 Chicken Breast Halves (depending on number of people being served. 1 half per person is more than enough for even big appetites).
  • 1 Jar of Pasta Sauce (or you can make your own)
  • 1 tbsp of garlic
  • 125 g of cottage or ricotta cheese per breast half. Other soft cheeses also work well. For this one we tried some goat cheese.
  • 1 tbsp of chopped oregano
  • 1 tbsp of chopped sun dried tomatoes (optional)
  • 125 g of grated mozzarella or cheddar cheese per breast half.
  • Misc chopped vegetables to taste, for the sauce - for this one I added 1 zucchini and a handful of chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Diced onions, carrots, and broccoli also work well.
** This is the 'basic' version. If you want the deluxe dish, buy some bacon, or turkey-bacon, and wrap it around the chicken. 

Step 2: Preparation!

  1. Turn oven to 350 degrees and find a baking dish (must be approx 9"x16" or bigger)
  2. Sauce: Make or heat up pasta sauce over the stove. Add garlic and any of the optional vegetables. Bring to a boil and then simmer for at least 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, use a tenderizer to pound the chicken breasts to approx 1/2 cm thick. Cover with the cottage/ricotta cheese, add some oregano and sun-dried tomatoes. 
  4. Pour half of the sauce into the baking dish.
  5. Next, roll up the chicken pieces like a jelly roll. Set into the baking dish seam-side down (gravity should hold it closed). Pour remainder of the sauce over the chicken, ensuring it is coated. Sprinkle the shredded cheese on top.  (If using bacon, wrap it around the rolls)
  6. Bake for 45 minutes. Boil pasta at appropriate time to serve on the side.
Step 3: Put it in the oven!

This is what the dish will look like before it is cooked.

Step 4: Take it out of the oven! savoury!

Step 5: Dish it out!

The sauce is already cooked in the dish, so you can spread it all over the pasta. It's piping hot, too.

Step 6: Get husband to deal with the aftermath!

I guess this is one way to burn off a few calories! *sad trombone*

If you are looking for a chicken dish that is a bit fancy, but not too elaborate, give Chicken L'Aurian a try. It's a great meal on a cold night.