I have to say, besides the incompetence in our ordering as of late(I'm just not going to go there), there is a silver lining to this cloud of doom lingering over the kitchen for the past few weeks, due to a major attitude overhaul with another particular employee, he is back to his old self again and running really strong again!!
Last night was the first evidence(since chef left us) that the kitchen may actually have a chance to succeed now. We had a great night money wise and team wise! Like a well oiled machine, smoothly going through the motions no matter the amount of orders coming in. A big night for a somewhat younger crew and I couldn't be more proud of my kitchen brothers coming together and really banging out the orders last night. Sometimes it takes someone believing in you and giving you a chance, a little more responsibility to feel appreciated and to just feel as if you have a purpose to fulfill.
For a special I made a type of Tuscan-like stuffed chicken with filler/stuffing for a chicken breast with a goat cream sauce with a little lemon zest and once again...asparagus!ugh. Anyways, I made the best of the situation as always.
I first took ten chicken breasts and pounded them out carefully so that I would be able to roll them somewhat tightly without them tearing apart. LJ helped me out with this so I could tend to the stuffing.
For the stuffing I got a hot saute pan with about 1/4 cup of olive oil in it and dropped in 2 shallots minced, 1 half red onion finely diced, 2 cups cremini sliced, 1/2 cup of diced artichoke hearts, 1 cup of finely diced crispy pancetta, 1 tbsp or so of black pepper(to taste) and cooked all together thoroughly. I then mixed in some goat cheese(about 1/2 cup), mozzarella(about 1 cup) and 1 cup of panko bread crumbs. It came out tasting rich and delicious.
So I took the flattened out chicken breasts and covered them in leaf spinach each, spread a generous amount of stuffing across the top of that and then rolled it up into a spiral and wrapped each individually(tightly) in plastic wrap. I then dropped them into some boiling water for approx. 3 minutes or so, just to kind of blanche them and set aside to cool for later.
For my sauce, I wanted to have something creamy with a little bite to it. The stuffing, due to the use of pancetta, was already salty enough, so I had to keep it mild, so to speak. For the bite, I did not use any heat(as far as peppers, chile's,etc.), I used some fresh lemon zest. I love using fresh lemon, lime, or orange zest in many dishes since it really wakes the palate, making for a more enjoyable dining experience.
I took a quart of heavy cream and reduced it by a quarter. I also took a couple shallots, minced them, added to a hot saute pan with 1/4 cup olive oil and deglazed with 1 cup of chardonnay(white wine), and allowed to reduce by half. I then incorporated some goat cheese(about 1 cup) into this sauce and about 1/2 cup of ricotta, 1/8 cup of black pepper and just a dash of salt. Done.
Once again I used asparagus as my veggie(sorry its that or broccolini, sometimes we get carrots.lol), but this time I just took my asparagus spears and lightly seasoned on a pan with salt, pepper, and olive oil and put into the oven on 450 degrees for a few minutes or until the tips are nice and crispy. My ex, who is a chef herself, used to cook our asparagus at home like this and it just tastes amazing! For a little more flavor you could used to pancetta(Canadian bacon) grease in place of the olive oil and take away the salt, but keep the pepper. Done.
So then I took my chicken(to order) and unwrapped my plastic(the chicken has cooled now). I took a hot pan of olive oil(about 1/4 cup) and placed the stuffed chicken spiral into the hot oil, sprinkled the top with kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper and threw into the oven at 450 degrees for about 5-6 minutes. I then took the pan out and spooned the seasoned olive oil in the pan over the breast repeatedly for 30 second or so. The skin should slightly bubble-up at first. Done.
With all the components of the dish now completed I placed a serving of rice(or mashed potatoes) in one corner of the plate(10 x 10 square w/ 1" lip) and placed the chicken across it at an angle and placed my crispy asparagus alongside the chicken but at a bias and pointing the other direction. Then I poured a generous amount of the sauce over the top end of the chicken breast and slightly across the middle of the asparagus tips. DONE!
It must have been pretty good because we sold out of them and even had substitute it with another dish for a couple other guests that unfortunately ordered theirs as we had just run out.
What a great night! I find these little moments of perfectness to be quite inspiring and gives me the fuel to stay on task 150 percent! I am looking forward to tonight and putting out another great special and putting a whole lot of smiles on our diners faces!