This elegant recipe—good enough for entertaining—goes together in a few minute and cooks in less than half an hour. Serve it with a side dish of freshly cooked green beans seasoned with olive oil, chopped fresh mint, and salt.—Marie Simmons
4 large boneless and skinless chicken breast halves, fillets removed (see Note)
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup diced fresh green or black figs (about 6 figs)
1/2 cup crumbled well-chilled goat cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
Four 1/8-inch-thick slices pancetta or bacon
1/2 cup dry white wine
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
2. Place the chicken breasts, smooth side up, on a work surface with the thickest portion to your right. Butterfly the breast by cutting through the thick side toward the tapered side so that you can open the breast like a book. Sprinkle the butterflied chicken breasts inside and out with 1/2 tablespoon of the thyme leaves, a pinch of salt, and a grinding of pepper.
3. In a small bowl combine the remaining 1/2 tablespoon thyme, the figs, the goat cheese, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a grinding of black pepper. Toss to combine. Spoon the stuffing onto one side of each chicken breast, dividing it evenly. Close the chicken over the stuffing. Wrap a slice of pancetta around each chicken breast. Hold the breast closed and the pancetta in place with a toothpick or a small metal skewer.
4. Oil a large (about 13-by-9-inch) shallow flameproof baking pan with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place the chicken breasts in the pan and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Turn and roast the other side until cooked through, about 10 minutes.
5. Remove the pan from the oven; transfer the chicken to a serving platter and cover with foil. Add the wine to the pan and heat to a boil over high heat, scraping up the browned bits and reducing the wine to a syrup, about 5 minutes. Drizzle the wine over the chicken, and serve.
Note: The fillet is the long slender piece attached to the bottom side of each breast half. They are sometimes removed from the chicken breasts and sold separately as “chicken tenders.” Pull them off and reserve them for another use, such as in stir-fries or soup.
Recipe © 2004 by Marie Simmons. All rights reserved.