If this is your first time visiting The Digital Latina you are going to be shocked! Last Saturday a dream of mine came true. I was blessed to be invited to the Latin Celebrity Chef – Daisy Martinez’s own home for an unforgettable cooking lesson!
The Bold and Beautiful Blogger’s Brunch @ Casa Daisy began with laughs, hugs, and tons of emotion. Our menu started with these tantalizing Old-School Stuffed Mussels.
Our main dish charmed us to the every end. Your dinner guests will be impressed with this delicate, flavorful, and satisfying dish. The presentation is beautiful. I recommend you pick up a little of everything on your fork, bite, and close your eyes. Let the flavors and the textures of this dish take you away. Pair this dish with a red wine. Recipe below.
FOR THE STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS:
Mushroom Picadillo (see below)
Ripe Plantain Mash (see below)
Mushroom-Plantain Stuffed Chicken Breast with Mango-Bacon Gravy
Three 3 1/2-pound chickens (preferably free-range and/or organic)
Kosher or fine sea salt an freshly ground pepper
Makes 6 servings
3 (3 1/2-pound) chickens, preferably free-range and/or organic
Kosher or fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
For the Mango-Bacon Gravy:
12 ounces slab bacon (about an 8 x 2-inch piece)n rind removed, cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1 large onion, halved, then cut into thick slices
4 stalks celery, trimmed and coarsely chopped,
2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
6 cups homemade or store-bought chicken broth
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1-1/2 cups mango nectar (see Note)
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Fenneled-Up Brussels Sprouts for serving (see below)
1. Make the picadillo and plantain mash. The picadillo can be made up to 3 days in advance and the plantains can be made up to 1 day in advance.
Prepare and cut up the chickens:
2. Rinse the giblets and necks and set them all, except for the livers, aside. Use the livers for another dish or discard them.
3. For each chicken, feel along the center of the chicken breast to find the thin bone that separates the two breasts. With a thin-bladed knife, cut along one side of this bone and down to the rib bones. Pull the breast meat away from the center bone-so you can get a better look at what you’re doing-and, using the tip of the knife, start to separate the breast from the rib bones. Keep going like this, following the curve of the rib bones, until you reach the joint where the wing connects to the breast bones. Cut through the skin along the backbone-but not through the skin that connects the breast to the thighs, t(you’ll get to that in a minute.). When you reach the point where the wing bone connects to the breastbones, bend the wing behind the chicken to give yourself a very clear view of the joint. Cut through the joint to separate the wing from the breastbone. You know have a skin-on boneless breast with the wing attached that is still attached to the thigh by the skin. Slip your fingertip under the skin of the thigh to separate the skin from the meat. Cut off as much of the skin from the thigh as you can, being sure to leave that skin attached to the skin that covers the breast. Cut off the wing tip and middle joint of the wing, leaving the first joint of the wing attached to the breast. You will now have a boneless chicken breast with a fair amount of extra skin (from the thigh) attached along one edge and the first wing joint attached to the other end. Trim any pieces of fat or cartilage from the breast and repeat with the other breast. When you’re finished removing the two breasts, remove the legs by bending them backwards to expose the joint that connect the legs to the backbone. Cut through skin, meat and that joint to remove legs. Repeat with the remaining chickens. Set the legs and trimmed wing pieces aside for another use. Trim all the fat and skin from the breast/backbones of the three chickens and, with a heavy knife or cleaver, whack the bones into manageable pieces.
Butterfly and stuff the chicken breasts:
4. To butterfly the chicken, start at the wider, long side of the breast and make a horizontal cut almost all the way through the breast stopping just before cutting through the thin side of the breast.
5. Take 1/4 cup of the plantain mash and shape it into a more or less even roll about 2 inches long. Repeat to make 5 more rolls and set them aside. Open up one of the butterflied chicken breasts with one of the long sides closest to you. Spread 1/4 cup of the mushrooms over the surface of the meat, leaving about 1/2 inch border all the way around. Place one of the plantain rolls near the edge of the chicken breast closest to you. Roll up the chicken breast, tucking in the ends as you go to make a neat, compact little bundle. There will be a little skin left on the far side-smooth that into place to cover up the seam and make an even neater bundle. Set the stuffed chicken breast seam side down and tie it at 1-inch intervals with kitchen twine. Do the same for the rest of the breasts and filling. Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels. The chicken can be boned a day before cooking them and can be stuffed up to several hours before. Keep them refrigerated.
Make the mango-bacon gravy:
6. Put the bacon cubes in a wide, casserole or braising pan and pour in 1/4 cup of water. Set over high heat and cook until the water is almost evaporated, then reduce the heat to medium-low. (Starting the beacon with a little water helps pull some of the fat out of the bacon. By the time the water evaporated, the bacon will be sizzling gently on its own fat.). Cook until the bacon is lightly browned and the bottom of the pan is shiny with golden bits stuck to it, about 6 minutes. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring often so the vegetable do not stick and brown, until the onion is softened but not brown, about 10 minutes.
7. Add the chicken bones and cook, stirring often, until the bones start to brown and the onions are well browned, about 10 minutes. Poke around the bottom of the skillet as you stir to make sure the bones and vegetables aren’t sticking and burning as they cook. Sprinkle the flour over the bones and vegetables and stir until you can’t see any trace of white. Pour in the broth and add thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, stirring up the little brown bits that stuck to the pan. Adjust the heat so the sauce is simmering and stir in the mango nectar and vinegar. Cook until the sauce is lightly thickened, smooth and a rich brown, about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking, especially in the corners of the pan. Strain the gravy through a very fine sieve. The gravy can be held at room temperature for up to 2 hours or refrigerated for up to 3 days. In either case, reheat the gravy over low heat, adding water spoonful at a time to return to its original thickness.
Cook the chicken breasts and assemble the plates:
8. About 30 minutes before you’re ready to serve the chicken, preheat the oven to 400 F. When it reaches temperature, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large, heavy, oven proof non-stick skillet let over medium-high heat. Be sure the chicken breasts are dry and slide them carefully into the oil. Cook, turning as necessary, until they’re beautifully browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Pop the whole pan into the oven and cook until the chicken is cooked through and the filling is warmed, about 20 minutes. (The best way to check is to use an instant reading thermometer. The temperature at the very center of the stuffing should reach 150 F.)
9. Let the chicken breasts rest for about 5 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare (or reheat) the Brussels sprouts and make sure the gravy is hot.
10. To serve: Snip the twin off the chicken breasts. Slice the breasts on the diagonal into 4 or 5 slices each. Arrange the slices overlapping along one side of each plate. Spoon some Brussels sprouts onto the other side of the plate. Ladle enough gravy over the sliced chicken to nap it and form a little pool on the plate. Serve immediately.
Note: Mango nectar is a pulpy juice extracted from fresh mangoes. It is available fresh in some Latin and health food stores in bottles or aseptic packages in many supermarkets.
Ripe Plantain Mash
Makes about 4 cups
3 medium plantains (see Notes), peeled and cut into 3 pieces each
Kosher or fine sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly ground pepper
1. Put the plantains in a medium saucepan and add enough water to cover by a couple of inches. Add a rounded teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Adjust the heat so the water is simmering. Cook. Until you can pierce the plantains easily with a pairing knife, but there is still some texture, about 6 minutes.
2. Drain the plantains and let them air-dry for a few minutes. Put them in a food processor along with the butter and 2 tablespoons water. Process, using very quick on-off pulses, just until the smaller pieces of plantain are starting to become smooth. The texture should be very coarse and you should still be able to see pieces of plantain in the mash. Scrape into a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Note: The skin of the plantains should be mostly black with some speckling of yellow. The flesh should have some give when you press it with your thumb.
Fenneled-Up Brussels Sprouts
Makes 6 servings
Two 10-ounce containers of 1 1/4 pounds loose Brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
Kosher or fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Trim the little stalk off the end of each sprout. Cut the sprouts in half, then cut the halves-flat side down, so the stay steady-into thin (about 1/8-inch) shreds. You will have about 7 cups shredded sprouts. The sprouts may be shredded up to several hours before cooking them.
2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the fennel seeds and cook just until they smell wonderful and are sizzling. Stir in the sprouts and cook, tossing and stirring the sprouts, until they are wilted down, bright green, and softened, about 4 minutes. Pull the pan from the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
Makes 1 1/2 loosely packed cups
1 (14-ounce) package white mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small shallots, peeled and finely chopped
Kosher salt or fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Wipe the mushroom caps clean with a damp paper towel. Cut the caps in half then slice thin. Chop them fine by rocking your knife back and forth over them, a little mound at a time. You’ll have about 8 cups. (This is a labor of love. You may be tempted to chop the mushrooms in a food processor but that would make them mushy and you won’t end up with the nicely browned, pebbly texture of hand-chopped mushrooms.)
2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until they’re softened, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and stir until they give up enough liquid to coat the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until all the liquid us evaporated and the tiny pieces of mushroom are separate, almost fluffy. Season with salt and pepper and enough lemon juice to give it a lively zing. The picadillo will keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or up to 2 months in the freezer.