Friday, June 10, 2011

Tapenade-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

While at the IACP in Austin, I was fortunate to attend a cooking demonstration by culinary great, Jacque Pepin.  Mr. Pepin prepared five recipes before our very eyes, including this most appealing one.

The recipe that follows is modified quite a bit from his, but essentially: chicken breasts are stuffed with tapenade and then sauteed in olive oil and butter.  

Tapenade originates in the Mediterranean region/Provencal France.  It is a spread traditionally comprised of olives, capers, anchovies, and oil that  has been pureed or finely diced.  It can be spread on baguette slices or pita bread, served with crackers, or used as stuffing. 

Mr. Pepin included garlic and dried apricots in his version, which I very much adored.

I was fresh out of anchovies when I began preparing the tapenade...but you can certainly add them in if you so desire.  

Mezzetta* capers, kalamata olives, and green olives.

(Plus dried apricots and minced garlic.)

Mince it all up (or you can puree it in the blender or food processor).

Cut a horizontal slit in the chicken breasts.

And stuff with the tapenade.

Saute stuffed chicken in olive oil and butter for about 7-8 minutes per side, 
depending on thickness of chicken.

Sprinkle with minced fresh parsley,

and savor the deliciousness.

Tapenade-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Serves 4

1 cup mix of pitted olives (black, Kalamata, and green)
2 garlic clove, peeled and minced
2 dried apricots, minced
1 1/2 tablespoons drained capers, minced
8 anchovy fillets in oil, minced (optional)
1 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

To prepare tapenade:
Combine all ingredients.  If desired, puree in blender or food processor fitted with a steel blade.

To assemble:
Rinse chicken breasts and pat dry with paper towels (wet chicken does not saute well).  Cut a horizontal slit in each piece of chicken to create a pocket.  Stuff with a quarter of the tapenade.  Repeat until all breasts are filled.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter over medium-high heat.  Season chicken with salt and pepper.  When oil is hot, carefully add chicken to skillet.  Cook for 7-8 minutes per side (depending on thickness of chicken.  Remember: the chicken will cook more quickly than usual because it is stuffed.)

Sprinkle with parsley and serve.  

*Mezzetta is a wonderful brand to use for the olives and capers.  They have no idea who I am...I just love their products. 

Recipe adapted from handout provided by Jacque Pepin at IACP

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