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Mar 17, 2017 11:29 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Apple- And Onion-Stuffed Baked Chicken Breasts Recipe

Apple- and onion-stuffed baked chicken breast. JANEEN A. SARLIN
Mar 20, 2017 10:40 AM

According the calendar, spring is here! It is time to break away from nesting and start socializing … this menu is perfect to initiate the trend.

Clean and intriguing flavors are the key point for this menu.

Serve champagne or sparkling rosé with salted nuts and cheese straws or crispy crackers as an aperitif! Then sink your forks into moist apple- and onion- stuffed chicken breasts that even dark meat lovers will like. Lemon juice and vermouth enhances the flavor while they bake.

Smoky, malty, woody tasting black vinegar is the secret ingredient in lentil pilaf to create the best counterpoint dish to serve with these chicken breasts. Look for black vinegar in the Asian section of gourmet stores or order it at kalustyans.com.

Broccolini or broccoli rabe is flavorful enough to complement both the lentils and the chicken for this dinner. Pour a glass of pinot noir with dinner and pick up a favorite pie with ice cream for dessert. Bon springtime appétit!

Apple & Onion Stuffed Baked Chicken Breasts(Serves 4)4 chicken breasts, 6 to 8 ounces, boneless and skinless

1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and sliced (unpeeled)

1 medium sweet white onion, sliced

2 lemons, 1 juiced and 1 cut into wedges for garnish

Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

About 1/3 cup dry vermouth

About 4 teaspoons panko for dusting

Sweet paprika for dustingTo prepare:Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Line a baking pan with parchment paper; lightly coat the paper with olive oil.

Rinse chicken breasts with cold water, drain well, and pat dry with paper towels.

With the flat side of a meat cleaver or veal pounder, flatten the chicken to an even thickness.

With a sharp knife, cut a horizontal slit in the center, leaving three sides intact, to create a “pocket.”

Drizzle lemon juice inside the pocket.

Cut apple and onion into 1/8th-inch-thick slices, place two or three slices each of apple and onion in the pocket. With your fingers, pinch the open side together and flatten the chicken breast with the palm of your hand.

Scatter any leftover onion slices on the bottom of the pan.

Arrange the chicken breasts on the onions and drizzle lemon juice over the whole affair.

Drizzle olive oil over the chicken, sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Add vermouth to the pan, top each piece of chicken with a pinch of panko and sprinkle with paprika. Cover the pan with aluminum foil, and bake for about 20 minutes.

Remove the foil, rotate the pan and continue baking until the chicken is browned and the juices run clear when pierced with a fork, about 40 minutes in total.

Transfer the chicken to a warm platter, and pour the pan juices into a saucepan.

Bring the juices to a boil and simmer for four to five minutes or until the juices are slightly reduced.To serve:Garnish with lemon wedges and pass the au jus at the table.Parslied Lentils(Serves 4)1 cup lentils, rinsed and picked over

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large clove garlic, minced

2 cups good quality chicken stock, hot

1/3 cup chopped flat leaf parsley

2 teaspoons black vinegar or more to taste

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Fresh flat leaf parsley for garnishTo prepare:Wash lentils, pick over, and discard any tiny stones, and drain.

Meanwhile, in a heavy saucepan over moderate high heat, coat the bottom with oil. Add onion and garlic and sauté until aromatic and beginning to soften.

Add lentils, sauté until lightly coated with oil, and add parsley and stock all at once, stir well, bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat; add vinegar, cover, and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 50 minutes.

Check every so often to adjust heat and tenderness of the lentils.

If liquid is absorbed and lentils are not soft, add more stock and continue cooking until tender.

Taste and adjust the seasonings.

Just before serving, stir fresh parsley into the lentils. Lemon-Scented Broccolini (Serves 4)1 pound broccolini, trimmed and washed

2 cloves garlic, slivered

Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1 and 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepperTo prepare:In a steamer, add slivers of one clove of garlic to the water, bring to a boil.

Add trimmed broccolini and steam until crunch tender, immediately plunge it into cold water to stop the cooking process and drain well.

Meanwhile, in a skillet over moderate heat, coat the bottom with oil, add remaining garlic and sauté until it is golden and aromatic.

Lift out garlic with a slotted spoon and reserve.

Add lemon zest and juice and whisk to blend.

Add drained broccolini to the pan and reheat until hot.

Add reserved garlic and salt and pepper, taste and adjust the seasonings. Transfer to a warm platter and serve at once.

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