Spinach-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Madeira Sauce

Total Time:
1 hr 50 min
Prep:
1 hr 30 min
Cook:
20 min

Yield:
4 servings

Ingredients
  • For the Stuffed Chicken:
  • Two 1-pound whole chicken breasts, boned but not skinned
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons crushed ice
  • 3 tablespoons well chilled heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed cooked, squeezed, and chopped spinach (about 1/2 pound fresh)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated lemon rind
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • For the Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup Madeira
  • 3/4 cup canned chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
Directions
  • For the Stuffed Chicken: Arrange the chicken breasts skin side down on a cutting board, making sure the skin is evenly stretched over the breasts. Remove the fillet strip from each breast, discard the white tendon, and in a food processor grind the fillets. Add the ice, blend the mixture until the ice is absorbed, and with the motor running add the cream.

  • Add the spinach, the salt, the fennel seeds, the rind, the nutmeg, and the pepper and blend the filling well, scraping down the sides. Turn the breasts skin side up and beginning at the pointed end pull the skin back carefully, leaving the thin transparent membranes attached along at the opposite end. Spread 3 tablespoons of the spinach filling evenly over each breast, smoothing it, and stretch the skin over the filling to cover it. (Reserve the remaining spinach filling for another use such as miniature quenelles made by poaching small balls of it in clear soup.) Chill the chicken, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap for one hour. The chicken may be prepared up to this point 24 hours in advance and kept covered and chilled. In a large oven proof skillet heat the oil over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking, add the chicken, skin side down, and season it with salt and pepper. Saute the chicken for 1 - 2 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown, turn it skin side up, and bake it, covered, in a preheated 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let it stand, covered loosely with foil, for 5 minutes.

  • Make the sauce while the chicken is standing: pour off the fat from the skillet, add the Madeira, and boil it, scraping up the brown bits, until it is reduced to about 2 tablespoons. Add the broth and boil the mixture, stirring for 1 minute. Stir the arrowroot mixture, add it to the skillet, whisking, and simmer the sauce, whisking for 1 minute. Holding a knife at a 45 degree angle slice the chicken crosswise and arrange the slices, overlapping them slightly, on 4 heated plates. Spoon some of the sauce around the chicken and serve the remaining sauce around separately


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