Sunday Dinner- Camembert and Herb Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Cheese!

This weekend included a trip to upstate, NY to visit my grandparents.  It was a perfect opportunity to escape from city life for a few days and really appreciate the beauty of ‘simpler living’….which I seem to crave more and more.

My grandfather suggested that we visit the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, which is a sheep farm about 3 hours outside of the city and twenty minutes from where we were. We did, and we loved it!  As a side note, this farm is American Humane Certified – these sheep seem to have a wonderful life and the cheese is delicious.

The Milking Barn.

This one was scratching his neck on the fence…don’t worry he’s not stuck.

I loved walking around the corner and surprise! there was a donkey!

Inquisitive sheep!

Babies!


and the cheese.

Of course we had to support the farm by buying cheese.  So the inspiration for this weeks Sunday dinner came from an amazing sheep milks Camembert.


When you use an ingredient that has such a strong flavor you want to use simple compliments.  Camembert is a cheese with an amazingly woodsy robust taste. The wonderful thing about this sheep’s milk Camembert is the way the flavors, while powerful, soften and melt in your mouth.  This product really make you appreciate the care that goes into raising the sheep and the cheese making process. 

My concept for this dish was inspired by the cheese and the farm where we bought it.  I wanted to keep things simple and maintain the ‘green’ feeling of the farm in the recipe. And above all honor the cheese.



Camembert and Herb Stuffed Chicken Breasts:

2 large chicken breasts – skin on
2 1/4” thick slices of Camembert – big enough to cover a large portion of each chicken breast
4 tbsp fresh Sage – chopped
4 tbsp fresh Tarragon – chopped
a handful of baby arugula
1/3 cup Olive oil

Heat the oven to 350′ F. Trim any extra fat and skin from the chicken. Using your pointer finger, gently separate the skin from the meat – you want to loosen the skin without poking holes or removing it completely – think of it like the pocket of pita bread, with enough room to shove all the other ingredients in there.

Insert a slice of cheese under the skin of each breast. Toss together your herbs and arugula and stuff on top of the Camembert slices.  Pour a few tbsp of the olive oil into the bottom of a 8”x8” baking dish and place the chicken on top. pour the rest of the olive oil on top of the chicken to help it brown.  Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and freshly ground pepper.  Cover with tin foil and pop it in the oven.

After about 45 minutes – time will vary based on the size of the breasts – remove the tin foil and allow the chicken to brown.

On the side I wanted to keep with the theme of light and fresh, so we have two side dishes roasted asparagus, and quinoa with roasted tomatoes and garlic.

Roasting vegetables is not only delicious it’s super easy.

Prep the asparagus by bending them in the middle and let them snap at the natural point or cut off about and inch from the bottom. Place the spears onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet, pour a little olive oil over the top, salt and pepper, and place into a 400′ F oven.  Cook for approx 15 minutes or until the tips just start to look crispy.



For the tomatoes and garlic it’s basically the same process. Dump the cherry tomatoes into a parchment lined pan. Peel a handful of garlic and cut each piece in half.  Push each piece of garlic down into the tomatoes, generously pour olive oil over the top, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in the 400′ F oven.  These take about 20-25 minutes. You want the tomatoes to pop and release their juices and have the juices almost start to burn, the tomatoes should just start take on a nice char.



While the tomatoes are baking, cook the quinoa according to the package.

When the tomatoes are ready, mix them in with the quinoa. Salt and pepper to taste. like I said, super easy, and super tasty!


The perfect welcome to some much needed spring weather.

Enjoy!

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