Busy weekend coming up. Friends from Minnesota will be staying with us and other college friends will be joining us for the Pat’s game and dinner on Sunday. Planning ahead, I spent yesterday afternoon making an old, tried and true recipe that makes everyone happy, and most importantly, one that freezes beautifully. On Sunday, I’ll be able to simply defrost the chicken rolls; make the sauce and pop it in the oven.
I’ve posted this recipe before, but it deserves a reprise. We call it “Firehouse Chicken” because it won an award in a competition among firehouse cooks. I’ve adapted the recipe over the years, this time adding some onions, but its spirit rings true.
12 boneless chicken breasts
1/8 C olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pkg. frozen chopped spinach,
(defrosted and squeezed dry)
1/2 lb Feta cheese, crumbled
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 C milk
2 C breadcrumbs (Italian flavored)
3 to 4 TBS butter
2 C sliced mushrooms (white or baby bella)
2 TBS flour
2 C chicken broth
juice of 1/2 lemon
canola oil for frying
salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Using a meat mallet or a rolling pin, pound the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap until they are about doubled in size (approx. 1/4″ thick.)
2. Saute the onion in the olive oil for a few minutes until soft, adding the garlic for the last minute or so; add the spinach and cook until heated through. Salt and pepper to taste. Cool and drain in a colander.
3. Lay the chicken breasts on a flat surface. Salt and pepper lightly. Place some spinach and feta cheese on each flattened breast. Roll the chicken around the filling, tucking in the sides.
4. Mix the eggs with the milk. Dip each chicken roll in the egg wash and then roll it in the bread crumbs.
5. Fry the breaded rolls in a small amount of canola oil until golden brown. These will be baked, so you’re just browning at this step and not cooking through.
6. Remove the pieces to a baking pan and cover with foil. Bake at 350 for
AT THIS POINT, I LET THE ROLLS COOL, WRAPPED THEM TIGHTLY AND PUT THEM IN THE FREEZER. ON SUNDAY MORNING, I’LL DEFROST THEM BEFORE THE NEXT STEP.
7. Saute the mushrooms in about a tablespoon of butter. Set the mushrooms aside. In the same pan, melt about 2 tablespoons of butter and stir in the flour. Let it cook for about a minute and then add the chicken broth and lemon juice. Keep stirring with a whisk until the sauce starts to thicken. Check for seasoning. You might want to add some salt and pepper. Return the mushrooms to the sauce.
8. At this point, you can pour the sauce over the chicken rolls and reheat the dish.
9. Think about making mashed potatoes to go with the gravy.
This is a recipe that needs to be in every file. There are a lot of steps, and it’s time consuming and messy, but it can be done ahead of time and frozen without any reduction in quality. The end result is a wonderful dish that will easily serve ten people.