There I was, right where it all began. My wife and I planned to host my mom, older sister, and nieces for Thanksgiving this year, and I knew I had to nail it. My family definitely wasn’t the most festive group around, but we always took Thanksgiving (both the gratitude and food) seriously. It was a time to reflect, and reconnect with friends and family, and have a good time. It was also the time when I would get my earliest exposure to cooking. The elaborate meals that my mom and sister would think up required hours of prep–so the night before would always been spent in the kitchen peeling, rinsing, chopping, and seasoning for the day ahead. I got to see their knife skills, how they used spices, how they cooked by instinct, and I guess it started to rub off on me. This time around, I was running the show.
I decided to stuff chicken breasts–my go-to when I want to make a big impression. Stuffing them gets easy with practice, but it definitely adds to the time needed for prep–luckily, I am used spending the entire night before the big meal with prep anyway. I love making stuffing with nuts, an dried fruit, but I decided to make a traditional stuffing since I already broke the custom of making a whole turkey–sorry Nat! I even coated the chicken with almonds, just for kicks. It didn’t disappoint.
The stuffing was a simple, but delicious stovetop concoction with all the cozy flavors you’re used to. I added in cranberries to add a little sweetness, and acidity to cut through the bread and butter, and lots of fresh herbs to liven it up further.
Once you stir in the hot stock, it comes together really quickly! Just lower the heat, and let it thicken on its own. Taste for seasoning, and let it cook before you stuff the chicken. It should look something like this:
Once you whip up the potatoes, and carrots, you’ll be ready to feast! Why wait until next November? I say we should feel grateful all year…
4 Large Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
4 Cup Slivered Almonds
1 Cup Panko
2 Cup Breadcrumbs
2 Cups Chicken Stock
6 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Cup Carrots, minced
3 Cups Carrots, chopped roughly
2 lbs Red Potatoes, rinsed
1 Cup Celery, minced
1 Cup Mushrooms, sliced thinly
1/4 Cup Thyme
1/4 Cup Sage, chopped
1/4 Cup Rosemary
1 Lemon, juiced and zested
1 Cup Chopped Parsley
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries, chopped
1 Cup Butter
2 Tbs Dijon Mustard
1 Tbs Flour
1/4 Cup Apple Cider
1/5 Cup Cider Vinegar
1/4 Cup Spiced Rum
1 Tbs Fenugreek Seeds, ground
1 Tbs Coriander Powder
1/2 Tbs Mustard Powder
1/2 Tbs Dried Thyme
1/2 Tbs Dried Basil
1/4 Tbs Ginger Powder
Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Simmer chicken stock in a sauce pot. Season with garlic, herbs, and salt if needed.
- Sautee breadcrumbs, garlic, minced carrots, minced celery, thyme, sage, and lemon zest in butter on medium heat, and season with salt, pepper, and coriander. Stir in chopped cranberries, then spoon in hot chicken stock, and stir until the stuffing thickens. Stir in chopped parsley, and remove from heat. Allow to cool completely before stuffing.
- Place chicken breasts on a flat cutting board, with the thickest part facing you. Use a sharp knife to make a cavity–hold the knife parallel to the cutting board, and puncture the chicken, and cut evenly on both sides.
- Transfer cooled stuffing into a large ziplock bag, cut off one corner, and seal the top of the bag. Use the open corner to fill the chicken breast.
- Grind almonds, panko, salt, pepper, fenugreek seeds, dried thyme, coriander, and dried basil into a fine powder. Transfer to a bowl.
- Lightly season chicken with salt and pepper, then brush with olive oil, and coat in almond and panko mixture. Place on a baking sheet, cover, and allow to marinate for at least 2 hours. Remove from the fridge, and let stand for one hour before cooking.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees, and bake chicken for twenty-five minutes, then raise the heat to 425 for an additional 10 minutes, or until fully cooked. Keep warm until ready to serve
- Par-boil red potatoes in salted water until you can puncture easily with a fork. Drain the potatoes, and allow them to cook. Transfer the potatoes to a cutting board, and smash them into thick discs. Transfer to a heat safe baking dish. Spread sliced mushrooms evenly over the potatoes. Melt 1/4 Cup butter with remaining rosemary, parlsey, and lemon zest, then pour over potatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until golden brown.
- Sautee chopped carrots and garlic in a large pan. Mix dijon mustard, spiced rum, and cider in a separate bowl, then pour into the pot with the carrots, and stir until the liquid evaporates. Remove from the heat.
- Plate. Serve. Feast.