A few years back I cooked this Stuffed Chicken with Vanilla Sauce as part of the Reading Food festival week, in a competition called “Reading, Steady, Cook!” – As I was limited to the tools and time to hand (well it was outside at the local farmers market!) I didn’t stuff and wrap but pan-fried the chicken – the parsnips I boiled until tender and then pan-fired those to give them a little colour..
Stuffed Chicken with Vanilla Sauce Ingredients
6 chicken breasts
12 slices Parma ham
6 slices of cheese (good flavoured medium hard cheese)
1 oz butter
½ pint Chicken and Vegetable stock
100ml double Cream
1 vanilla pod halved.
1-2 packs of pre-cooked chestnuts – you need 24 whole ones
24 small parsnips for roasting whole.
Turn oven onto 200oC
Start the sauce (see below)
Peel and put the parsnips on to par boil – 5min on rolling boil
Stuff the chicken with a medium hard cheese and wrap in Parma ham, then wrap individually in foil parcels to allow the chicken to steam and retain its own juice.
Place the Chicken parcels in an oven dish side by side and into the hot oven for 20-25mins Along with the par-boiled parsnips rolled in a little sunflower oil.
Slice the mushrooms and fry them off in butter until caramelised (takes 10-15 mins med heat – so stir occasionally) – set aside
Put spinach into steamer ready to cook
Remove chicken from parcels pour the juices into sauce then put chicken back into v hot oven (230oC for a few mins to crisp the ham & but not drying out the chicken. take out parsnips if done or leave in for a little longer if needed)
Start steaming the spinach and put the chestnuts into the frying pan to warm with a little butter.
Finish the sauce
Put mushrooms back into pan with the chestnuts to warm through
Drain spinach and squeeze out excess water – add a little butter and grated nutmeg
For the sauce:
Start: Heat the chicken stock with the vanilla pod turn off heat and leave to steep
Finish: Add the reserved chicken juice and the cream bring back to a near boil and then turn down and whisk in 1oz of butter to make the sauce glossy – season to taste.
To Serve Stuffed Chicken with Vanilla Sauce:
Place the chicken on a bed of wilted spinach tossed in nutmeg butter in the middle of a plate. Pour sauce around it and a spoon or two over the chicken breast. Place 4 parsnips on each plate pointing outwards arranged in the shape of a cross. Sprinkle with the fried mushrooms and a place a whole chestnut in each segment between the parsnips to garnish and serve straight away with a selection of seasonal veg if required as a side.