Yesterday, in response to Sandi's post, Marcella responded with:
'I hope we are getting out of the chicken chapter so that I don't have to hear the expression "chicken breast" again.'
In that case I may as well pack my pots and pans away . . . or as some might say, stick me with a fork for I am done.
Why the doom and gloom?
Because today's recipe FORCES me to use the offending 'cut of chicken that shall not be mentioned in this post'. It is the prime ingredient in this recipe. I can't substitute it with a cut of chickent that I'd rather have appear on my plate.
Somehow we North Americans have bought the notion that the 'offensive cut of chicken' is healthier than other cuts of chicken (I do hope it is OK to say chicken). I'd far rather cook with other cuts of chicken. The 'cut not to be named' is often dry and bland - which is likely why so many recipes call for it to be served with a full-flavour marinade, sauce, salsa, or rub - anything to get some flavour on that hunk of boring meat sitting on your plate.
Then our chickens are pumped so full of hormones and additives to plump up that part of the 'chicken that shall not be named' that those birds can't even wander about without toppling over - not unlike a D grade starlet with ginormous implants who prior to Justin Beiber was Canada's most famous addition to American pop culture.
Yes, Deborah, that Beiber comment was put in after your anti-beiber facebook post yesterday. We Canucks stick together even if we despise one another. "tis the Canadian way. Malign a Canadian and you malign all of us unless you malign Stephen Harper in which case the good Canadians LOVE ya' like biscuits love sausage.
Hmmm - this post wasn't meant to be a post about 'a cut of chicken that shall not be named' followed by a wee Canadian meander . . . but isn't it fun how my twisted mind just flops about like a leave in the wind?
I shall blame my errant youth, yes, I shall.
Back to the food - which was brilliant by the way. Simply brilliant. I am going to become so redundant mentioning what a master Marcella is that I shall soon use up my supply of superlatives. I believe we are getting closer to the half way mark in our challenge and I must dash to 'Superlatives-R-Us' so that I can report back on the remaining recipes.
So today's recipe calls for two whole cuts of 'the chicken part that shall not be named'. One fillets them, following the wonderful directions on pp 389 - 399 (really, if the written directions are this good I can only imagine the sheer bliss of working in a kitchen with Hazan as an instructor).
Once the fillets are prepared the filling is next up. I suspect that in Italy cooks would use sausage. Given the over-spiced and additive rich nature of 'our' Italian sausage which would likely cause a true Italian cook to thrash about in their bed at night, Marcella rightly directs one in the steps to make a sausage-like filling that is sheer simplicity itself with garlic, pork, salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary.
The filling was amazing. Yes. I 'tasted' it so much that I almost didn't have enough to stuff the damn fillets.
The pork filling is spread over the fillets. They are rolled up and secured with a toothpick (or two if the 'cut of chicken that shall not be named' is so hormone-laden that the fillets are clearly double ds.
Once prepared, the rest of the cooking comes together quickly. The rolls are cooked in butter until cooked through (my rolls, being double ds, required far more than the 'about one minute altogether' cooking time suggested in the recipe).
The pan is deglazed with wine making a simple pan sauce which is served with the chicken rolls.
For some reason we decided on an Italian feast last Saturday night. No doubt it was an anti-renovation effort to try and return some comfort and simple sanity back to our lives. We enjoyed these rolls with the baked red beets which I will post about in March of 2011 (and yes, my cookbook is now covered with beet finger prints - SIGH), the fried fennel which I will post about in February 2011, a simple green salad, and the amazing roasted potatoes that our friend Judy Witts Francini showed us how to make when we cooked with her in her Florence kitchen a few years back. Dessert was simple - cannoli we bought in an old Italian bakery we discovered in the middle-of-nowhere in Toronto while we were shopping for new bathroom lights.
Everything was very, very good but these chicken rolls were simply incredible. Even though they use 'the cut of chicken that shall not be named' the final result is worth it!
Thanks again Marcella - you certainly have a way with chicken . . . and pasta . . . and veal . . . and fish . . . and everything! *smile*