Chicken is always a convenient option when you are in a hurry and pressed for time. Here in Mexico it is also very popular, from the familiar pipian sauce (check my post Chicken Pipian) to the chicken with chocolate mole of Oaxaca (future post!).
Chicken breast with ricotta and spinach has been done before but I particularly liked this one. The sharp, salty taste of the capers add extra flavour to the tomato sauce. It is a nice contrast to the richness of the ricotta cheese and it balances the flavors. However, they are optional so if you are not a big fan of capers, you don’t have to use them. I also think that polenta is a perfect side for this dish with the added advantage of making it gluten free. It was adapted from a recipe of Mafalda Pinto Leite.
Chicken Breast stuffed with Ricotta and Spinach
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, thinly cut
- 1 small bunch of spinach
- ground nutmeg
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 1 package of ricotta cheese
- 4 chicken breasts, each cut in half lengthwise
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 can of passata (tomato puree)
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tsp of capers, finely chopped
- 2 cups milk
- 1 cup polenta
- parsley, chopped
- Heat the olive oil in a skillet at medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until slightly golden. Add the spinach and season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste. Cook them until wilted. Take them out and let them cool. Squeeze the excess water and mix the spinach in a bowl with the ricotta cheese. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper to taste. Put the breasts between two leafs of parchment paper. Using a meat mallet (or something heavy) pound and flatten the chicken breasts until they are about 5 mm/0.2 inches thick. Put 1/8 of the ricotta/spinach paste in the center of each half breast and cover with the other half. Fold in and close with toothpicks to keep the paste inside.
- Heat 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil in a nonstick pan. Add the onion and cook it for five minutes or until soft. Add the tomato passata, half a cup of chicken stock and the capers. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and let it cook for 5 minutes. Add the chicken, let it cook, turning once, for 8 minutes or until it is done.
- Bring to a boil the milk and the rest of the chicken stock. Lower the heat and gradually add the polenta, stirring non stop with a wooden spoon for about 6 minutes or until it becomes thick.
- Sprinkle the parsley over the chicken and serve with the polenta and tomato sauce.
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