Sunday, January 22, 2012

Chicken and Chard Bundles for a Chilly Sunday

One of the delightful thing about going through old papers as I did recently while cleaning out and moving my office is that you discover buried treasure.

I think that a fine recipe I had clipped out of a magazine in 2005 counts as treasure, and it was absolutely buried in reams of paper and way too many envelopes and address labels. I think that I saved it because I adore chard and it used fresh chard to wrap cheese enhanced chicken breasts. I also love roasted onions and they are part of the base for this dish.

As it turns out the onions are fantastic, but the chard acts in much the same way parchment does when you have parchment wrapped packets; they become browned leaves but the chicken and cheese underneath are moist and yummy. I just pushed the leaves aside and ate the chicken/cheese parts. Next time I'll add more leaves under the chicken packets and a bit of chicken broth, too.

The fragrance of the onions, carrots, garlic and herbs is wonderful when this is baking. I served it with some green beans because the recent freezes had significantly reduced the available Swiss chard in the garden. There was enough for the parcels but not a lot more. Will make these again when there is a lot more chard so I have some for below the chicken. I also cooked some rice in chicken broth since rice could easily soak up the juices I thought would be a lovely part of this dish. As it turned out there was very little liquid under the chicken, so broth will be added next time.

We ate these during the final quarter of the regular playing time of the 49er - Giants game, which was exciting enough, but the overtime was nail bitingly tense so I'm glad we'd finished dinner by then. Great game and disappointing loss for 'our' team but well played and a surprise for those who remember the 49ers from recent years past.

Chard Wrapped Chicken with Roasted Onions and Carrots
adapted from a recipe in Better Homes & Gardens May 2005
Serves 4

1 medium onion, cut into thin wedges
1 cup baby carrots
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground preferred
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons snipped fresh herbs (dill, oregano, sage, thyme)
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
4 Swiss chard leaves, washed and stems trimmed off
Snipped herbs for garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a large baking dish combine the onions, carrots, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat the vegetables in the oil and seasonings. Place the baking dish in the oven, uncovered, and roast 10 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, combine the 2 tablespoons olive oil, herbs, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper with the feta cheese. Mash mixture together with the back of a spoon to form a paste.

Top each chicken breast with 1/4 of the mixture, pressing firmly. Wrap center portion of the chicken breasts with the chard leaves, leaving ends exposed.


Once the vegetables have roasted 10 minutes remove the baking dish from the oven. Top the veggies with the prepared chicken parcels. Bake, uncovered, for 25 - 30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink (170 degrees F).

Serve the baked chicken and roasted vegetables together. If desired, sprinkle with some extra snipped herbs.

3 comments :

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Treasure indeed! Like this very much.

missflash said...

Looks really nice, but what is chard leaves and where could I get it from? A very comforting dish for the winter weather x

Elle said...

Tanna, These little packets are just great and can be jazzed up, too.

Missflash, Chard is a leafy vegetable like spinach or kale. I grew a variety called Bright Lights and took the leaves from a plant that has bright yellow ribs and stem. Other plants have white, pink and ruby ribs and stems. Your market should have it. If not, try to find large spinach or kale leaves to use instead.