As the newest member of the Tribune Cooks, I had to think long and hard about the recipe that I would roll out here. There are several that I thought about trying, but there wasn't that moment of true culinary inspiration.
Then, I remembered a recipe that I have attempted only two times before and I realized that it this was the perfect fit.
I do have to let everyone know that this meal takes time and is not something that is easily whipped up after work, but if you are looking to spend a little time in the kitchen and are looking to show your guests or family what a true chef you are, this is worth it.
Black Raspberry Glazed Chicken with Wild Rice Stuffing is a dish that impresses every time.
The first time I attempted to make Black Raspberry Glazed Chicken with Wild Rice Stuffing was several years ago, when I searched for the perfect Valentine's Day dinner to make for my then-girlfriend. I stumbled on this and knew that, if done well, this would be a good way to impress.
That girlfriend is now my wife, and she has asked me many times to make it again, but until just last year I had not even tried.
The recipe is pretty easy to follow and is one that I found at food.com. As with most of my cooking, I use the recipe as a general guideline, often adding or trying something extra because I think it will add to the meal.
Black Raspberry Glazed Chicken with Wild Rice Stuffing
8 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, flattened
1/2 cup butter
7 ounces long grain and wild rice blend
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup seedless black raspberry jam
2 tablespoons frozen orange juice concentrate
1/2 cup honey
1 teaspoon finely grated orange rind
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Sprinkle chicken with salt, paprika and garlic power and set aside. Prepare rice according to packaging, substituting broth for water. Toss rice with almonds and set aside. Place rice on breast and roll and secure with toothpicks. Dust with flour. Melt butter in 9-by-13-inch pan and roll breasts in butter. Bake 40 minutes. Heat jam, orange juice concentrate, honey and orange peel in saucepan until blended. Baste with glaze and continue baking and basting until tender. Cook time: Approximately 30 minutes.
That's why cooking is so much fun.
The first thing you have to do is make the wild rice. I made the mistake once before of making the rice as I cut the chicken and prepared the glaze and I ended up having to stuff the chicken with hot-off-the-stove rice that is not easy to manage with your hands.
You can make your own wild rice, but I cheated and used Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice. It takes about 30 minutes to cook and you will need to let it set for a few minutes, just until it's cool enough to touch.
Try to remember, and I never do, to preheat the oven to the needed temperature so you don't have to wait around for it to be ready ... in this case 325 degrees F.
Flatten the chicken breast to a manageable rolling thickness and then dust with salt, paprika and garlic powder.
Once the rice cools, you spoon it into the center of the flattened chicken breast, but don't over stuff. Remember that you will be rolling the chicken and too much rice will make it hard to roll up and a lot of rice will spill out and get wasted.
Once the chicken breasts are rolled, stick a couple toothpicks in to hold them together.
After you've rolled each chicken breast, melt butter in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch cooking pan. Place each rolled chicken breast into the pan with the melted butter and lightly dust each with flour.
Place the pan into the 325 degrees F oven and bake for 40 minutes.
While the chicken is baking, you can begin to prepare the glaze. Heat the black raspberry jam, honey, orange juice concentrate and orange rind in a sauce pan over low heat.
After the chicken has been cooking for about 40 minutes, take it out and glaze it. Put the chicken back in the oven for another 30 minutes, reglazing it with a baster periodically from the access glaze and butter that is in the bottom of the pan.
As for side dishes, set out the extra wild rice and find a good vegetable to go along with it. My wife loves asparagus, so we just put a bundle of that in a baking dish with a small amount of butter and baked it for several minutes just until the vegetable is cooked and still crisp.
Now, I got a little flak from my dinner guests since I made both rice and potatoes with this meal, but when you are Irish, there are potatoes on the table no matter how much other starch there is.
This recipe I stole from my best friend's father and have been making ever since. I cut up about 5 or 6 of the larger red skin potatoes into bite-size pieces. You place those in a plastic freezer bag and then pour just enough olive oil into the bag to coat the potatoes and then you season with rosemary, salt, pepper and a little oregano. You shake up the bag and then pour out onto a cookie sheet and bake.
This side also takes a little time, but when the chicken takes over an hour on its own, an hour to roast some potatoes is easily done.
The entire meal takes about an hour and a half, give or take, but the reaction of those at the table is worth it. The chicken is very moist and the sweet glaze gives it an outstanding flavor. Mix in the rice both on the side and inside the chicken, you are hit with the nutty flavor of the rice and almonds and the sweetness of the glaze on every bite.
The biggest downside of this dish is that once it's set on the plate, your guests won't want to eat it right away, because it turned out so nice.