WRITTEN ON November 11th, 2009 BY Meredith AND STORED IN Cheese, Chicken, Dinner

There’s a crazy lady in my building who has a crush on my husband. Granted, he’s tall and blue eyed and impossibly charming in a completely non-sleezy way. And there’s definitely a dearth of young, attractive men riding the elevators over here. But still. It’s a little much. She even found a way to get invited into our apartment one day because she was having computer trouble and wanted him to help her “fix it.” Yeah. I’ll give you something to fix, lady.

Shortly thereafter, she ambushed us in the elevator and dragged us up to her place to check out the new renovations (cause, you know, we’re…not renovating). After giving us the grand tour and telling us over and over how she was such a clean freak (Huh. Sauce was splattered all over the wall and the whole place smelled vaguely of yesterday’s trash), she picked up her little dog and bid us farewell. At which point we realized that the dog was licking at something on her shirt. A tootsie roll. Yes, folks, what I thought was a rather artsy and oddly placed broach was in fact a half eaten tootise roll that was stuck to her turtleneck.

Did she know it was there? Had it fallen from her mouth during her afternoon nap? Did she put it there for safekeeping while she was entertaining us, her captive (literally) audience? We’ll never know. But it’s safe to say that every time I see a tootsie roll, I think of her and realize she can crush on my husband all she wants. I’m pretty safe there.

That night I made this recipe, in honor of Tootsie Roll Lady. It’s chicken cutlets stuffed with a gooey, flavorful filling, and rolled up tight before being browned and finished in the oven. It’s not chocolate candy, but I’ll think of her every time I make it, and laugh till I cry.

Rolled up tight

Rolled up tight

Cheese and Herb Stuffed Chicken (serves 2)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tbsp goat cheese
2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
3 scallions, chopped fine
1 small handful parsley, chopped fine
1 tsp capers, chopped fine
¼ cup low sodium chicken stock
Juice of ½ a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
kitchen string
Butterfly each chicken breast by slicing through the middle of the breast lengthwise.  Cover both sides in plastic wrap, and, using a heavy bottomed sauté pan or a meat mallet, pound to about 1/3 an inch thick (your butcher can also do this for you). Combine herbs, capers and cheeses.  Place about 2 tbsp of cheese mixture lengthwise on each chicken breast.  Roll each breast around the cheese, as if it were a burrito, and tie each end and the middle with string.  Let rest in fridge about 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 400.  Remove chicken from fridge.  Place an oven proof sauté pan over high heat on stovetop.  Allow to heat up about 1 minute.  Add olive oil, swirl around pan.  Pat chicken dry, season with salt and pepper. Place chicken, presentation side down, into pan.  After about 1 minute, add butter (this will help it to brown).  Brown on all sides, then place in oven until cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Set chicken to rest on a cutting board.  Deglaze pan with chicken stock, scraping up all the browned bits from the bottom (remember the handle of the pan is hot from the oven!).  Bring to a boil, then simmer to reduce liquid by ½.  Add lemon juice at the last minute.  Remove string, slice chicken, pour sauce over top.

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