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this blows

Recipe: boursin chicken

The winds have been fierce for a few days around here. It’s bad enough that my computer monitors are shaking with each gust that hits our house. I was skeptical that we’d even get to ride the lifts this morning as I drove up to our local hill in white out conditions. But… it was the first day of the women’s program and for some reason, when I’m with my betties, the winds and cold never seem to be as bad as when you ski alone.


meeting behind the nordic center



So what is a dude (on the left) doing in the frame if it’s a women’s program? Brad was our honorary chick, ably subbing in for our instructor, Jen, today. Jen and Brad are married – to each other – and they both teach tele for fun. I could go on about all of the cool things they do (professors in biology, cyclists, photographer, cook, dog agility trials, awesome parents), but you just need to know that they both rock. Brad was my very first tele instructor three years ago. It was windy, but it wasn’t cold (a balmy 26°F – I can dig that) and there was a nice layer of powder. My legs are tired now. But look at what I scored (they ran out last year):

damn straight



I’m going to snip one and send it to my gal pal, Katie, who loves the Divas. Riding the lift up in the morning, Leyla pointed out a sticker someone had slapped onto one of the lift posts. It read: Nobody cares that you tele. I love it! We got a hefty laugh out of that.

Before I forget, I’ve consolidated all of my restaurant reviews on the blog (migrating food-related items from my website which is currently undergoing redesign and should be done within the week). Click on restaurants at the top of the page to get there.

I’ve been logging very long hours lately, so today was a nice break from bleary-eyed coding and image processing. But here I am on the computer again and I noticed I’m overdue for another post. Turning up the music helps to lessen the unnerving effects of the crazy windstorm raging about and (loudly) rattling the house. While I was searching for an image in my archives, I found some pictures that show just how little K-girl was when we first got her in early 1999. I miss her little puppy self, but I rather like the adult dog Kaweah has become. She is a very good companion.


let’s try fetching

what is this tennis ball you speak of?



There hasn’t been much cooking or baking action in the kitchen lately because of some deadlines I have. However, with over 20 recipes waiting in the wings to post, now is a good time to make a dent in those. This is one of my goto recipes when we entertain flexitarians – people who call themselves vegetarian and then upon further discussion reveal that they eat chicken and fish. If you eat chicken or fish, you are sooooo not a vegetarian, okay?

butterfly the chicken breasts



It’s a straightforward recipe with relatively simple preparation and nice plating. The ingredient that ties it all together is the Boursin cheese. If you like garlic, you’ll probably like Boursin. I remember seeing flank steaks rolled up (roulade-style) with an herbed cream cheese mixture in the butcher’s case at the grocery store years ago. I thought to myself that the combination would be better if you subbed chicken for the beef and Boursin for the cream cheese. From that brainstorm moment (and believe you me, they don’t happen that often) I came up with this little nugget of a dish that our friends have been enjoying throughout the years.

mix spinach and boursin cheese



The trickiest part is butterflying the chicken breasts into one nice even piece. I usually begin in the center of the breast, angling a good, sharp knife toward the middle of the thickest section. Slicing into the meat, make sure not to slice it off. Remember, the goal is to create one piece. Then I do the same for the other, thinner side. You can pound it into submission if you like, but I’ve never really found the need to.

wrap the chicken around the filling



Try not to overstuff the chicken breast. If you have too much stuffing, then reserve it for something else. I doubt you’ll have too much though, especially if you butterfly the breast properly. I make sure the edges of the chicken all meet up nicely at one end, to prevent things from seeping out during the baking process.

press it into a neat bundle



You can dress it up however you like. I keep it simple with a little garlic powder and bread crumbs (although in this picture, I didn’t have any breadcrumbs on hand). The daub of butter on top is just to help keep it moist during baking. Come to think of it, brining the chicken breasts ahead of time would be a great improvement. I’ve never tried it, but maybe I will next time.

sprinkle with garlic powder or breadcrumbs and bake



You can serve one breast per person or slice it up for smaller servings. I find that chicken breasts are rather large these days – even the organic ones. One of these bundles is quite a bit of food.

serve hot

you can also slice and fan it



Boursin Chicken
[print recipe]

4 chicken breasts (halves), (optional: brined)
1 block Boursin cheese
10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed
1 tbsp vegetable oil
4 small pats of butter
garlic powder
bread crumbs

Trim each chicken breast of fat and connective tissues. Butterfly each chicken breast to achieve one piece of even thickness. Squeeze liquid out of thawed spinach. Mix the Boursin and spinach together with a fork until well blended. Take a quarter of the spinach filling and mold it into a round heap in the middle of a chicken breast. Fold the edges of the chicken up and around the filling, trying to envelop all of the filling with the chicken. Give the whole thing a tight squeeze so it holds together. Repeat for remaining chicken breasts and spinach filling. Grease an 8×8-inch baking dish with the vegetable oil. Place each parcel in the baking dish with the smooth sides up. Sprinkle garlic powder and/or bread crumbs over the chicken and place a pat of butter on each one. Bake at 375°F for 40 minutes or until chicken is done.

37 nibbles at “this blows”

  1. Manisha says:

    I’ve been thinking of you – what with the crazy winds and Boulder on fire. :-( I heard that Ned clocked winds upwards of 100mph! Enjoy your Women’s Wednesdays! Did they give you an Outdoor Divas hat? I have a black one that I *love*!

    The chicken looks yummy! My greatest challenge would be butterflying the chicken.

  2. Maja says:

    Oooo, Kaweah was soo sweet, such a nice expression on her face. Do dogs have faces in english or is it a human trait? :) This chicken of yours sound delicious, i love stuffed chicken breasts, though i’ve only stuffed it with mushrooms and i usually wrap them in puff pastry. Then all is needed are some veggies for balance. :)

  3. Ronine says:

    Haha, I love your ‘flexitarian’ term. We have used ‘pescitarian’ for those who eat fish and flexitarian is just so much better (and a little bit meaner) than ‘pollo-pescitarians’ :)
    And as always with photos of Kawaeh, I have puppy envy and photos of her as a puppy just increase that!

  4. Rosa says:

    Kaweah is so sweet on these pictures! I love baby dogs…

    A wonderful dish! Light, healthy, refined and tasty! Yummy!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  5. Patricia Scarpin says:

    I love chicken prepared this way. It takes it right out of the boring zone. Looks delicious, Jen!

  6. Fiona says:

    Baby labs are the best – especially when they’re such a shiny black. I’m betting she learned “tennis ball” lickety split.

    I saw a version of those chicken breasts made at a restaurant I worked at briefly. They rolled the breasts long-ways, so this is a little different. I’d forgotten all about it, but yours look delicious. I think this might be just the thing for me this weekend. Thanks!

  7. Lezel Safi says:

    Of course the dish looks amazing, as usual and the pics of K are so sweet….a friend of mine always says, “You know the sad thing about lab puppies?”, “No.”, “They grow up to be Labs.” So sad, but if they could see K huh?!?! And can’t wait to see some killer powder pics, we aren’t going to make it to the mountains this winter, and we are so bummed b/c we were going to get our 7 (she’s been once) and 5 yrs old in snowboarding lessons this year….but Rick can’t ski this year and they say never again (the whole barn collapsing on him incident and shattering his left leg in May) but I’m sure he’ll prove them wrong! Have a great time and don’t blow away….sound like most of our winter in OK this year, the winds have been brutal! Yet today and tomorrow in the 60’s, then that “SIberian Blast” hits and could only see highs in the single digits, only in OK…..

  8. Amy says:

    Love the pictures of puppy Kaweah…that one with her looking up at Jeremy is so, so sweet! Love the stickers, too.

    We are Boursin fiends in our house – this will definitely be going on our “to make” list!

  9. Manggy says:

    Boursin does tend to be expensive but it is so so good! Just the thing to add some life into chicken breasts. (By the way, great job making them behave so that they form neat little mounds!) Thank goodness you’re not Ina Garten and you only use one block of Boursin :P I would probably leave ’em skin on and pre-sear, just cos ;) (skin addict here.)
    I know I think this all the time but that first pic of Kaweah and Jeremy is just too adorable. For immediate framing :)

  10. Kelly says:

    These look delicious, and I bookmarked the recipe! Question though – my husband doesn’t like spinach. Any ideas on what I could substitute for all or part of the spinach? He’ll eat it, but it’s definitely not what he wants. Maybe mushrooms? Some bacon? Hrm. I’ll have to think about this some more.

  11. Margie says:

    This is a sure-fire-try-me, Jen. I have chicken breasts on my grocery list, and now, the Boursin.

    Thanks for those pics of Baby K., Just toooooooo precious! :)

    P.S. I was so thankful to know that you were on the slopes and not on the run from that nasty fire down in Boulder. Eek. Stay safe!

  12. peabody says:

    Oh my, I am so making this, I think even my husband will eat it!
    Look at your sweet pup! They are fun as puppies but I like my old gal now, much better companion and doesn’t chew on my fingers.

  13. Hilda says:

    My hubby makes this! He alternates using cream cheese, boursin or other cheeses and usually uses baby asparagus in the center rather than spinach. He keeps the outside moist by putting slices of bresaola or something similar on top while it bakes. It also gives the outside a nice flavor. He has abilities I don’t remotely have with kitchen string, it always amazes me.
    And Kaweah was adorable, and still is, but puppies are so cute in their own special way. Our puppy pictures are all blurs because they were always so hyper.

  14. Kathleen says:

    Be safe, stay warm.

    I’m starving. Pulling out chicken breasts. yep.

  15. Melissa says:

    So many varied things on your post today. Love the puppy pictures – what a cutie…..the chicken looks great – love boursin! Wish I were out on the slopes – it’s been years! Thanks for the mini vacation for my brain!

  16. Nate says:

    Oh wow, that is a beautiful pic of the chicken. It almost looks like a Chinese steamed bun…you know, the sweet, peach-shaped ones you see at dim sum places? A little sprinkle of paprika might enhance that effect.

  17. dawn says:

    that first puppy pic is priceless, love that little compact size with the sweet face
    how did you get your chicken breast so nice and round?
    I must try that recipe for those last minute entertaining nights…

  18. emily says:

    that chicken sounds delish – I love boursin. how do you think it would be with panko as opposed to standard bread crumbs?

  19. Tori says:

    That second picture of K. made me say awwww. Puppies are the best. She’s just so tiny and adorable.

  20. Mrs Ergül says:

    while this is a masterpiece! very nice! kaweah was so small back then. I mean, yes, she was a pup but still she was so small!

  21. Mollie says:

    Yeah, we’d eat that about once a week. I was just saying to myself the other day that I have a ton of chicken breast in the freezer but we haven’t eaten much of it lately because I had no good ideas of what to do with it. So of COURSE you posted the perfect recipe. :) We love boursin and spinach…. nummmm

    K girl was so cute! I miss that fuzzball stage too… but you’re right, the grown up companion is pretty great too. Even if they eat half a pound of spicy teriyaki beef jerky one afternoon… hypothetically i mean… :)

    Girls do kick ass!

  22. Alexsandra says:

    Another one hit out of the park – thank you for my culinary/pho-tage vacation you provide so thoughtfully! Be sure to put some rocks in your pockets. Love ya lots!

  23. Kitt says:

    Aw, they grow up so damn fast, don’t they?

    The chicken looks awesome. I make my own boursin by mixing a slab of cream cheese with a stick butter, some minced garlic and herbs. Let it sit in the fridge for a day and it’s mighty tasty. And a lot cheaper than the real thing.

    No more windy days in the near forecast! Hope you get some powder, though.

  24. Candace says:

    I ususally make something like this with goat cheese, but I definitely need to try this with Boursin. Looks delicious!

  25. Pam says:

    I love this entire meal. So healthy, tasty and colorful. Kaweah was such a cute little pup.

  26. Fiona says:

    OK, I made them and the only part I had trouble with was “press into a neat bundle.” I am not neat. My bundles were not neat. I am a slob and my bundles leaked.

    But they tasted great! Thanks, as usual.

  27. Eleonora says:

    Your blog is super. So are your photographies. They make me hungry. I have spent a nice moment when seeing them. Thanks a lot.

  28. Gretchen Noelle says:

    This looks and sounds just delicious!

  29. jenyu says:

    Manisha – they gave me one last year, which was wool and since I was bald from chemo (and allergic to wool) I gave it to Katie :)

    Maja – thanks!

    Ronine – :)

    Rosa – thank you. I love puppies and kittens too!

    Patricia – ha ha, yes, I think you’re right. I subconsciously think of chicken as boring too.

    Fiona – oh boy, did she! cool :)

    Lezel – oh my. I hope R recovers fully. The snow and mountains are one of the main reasons we live here :)

    Amy – I hear ya on the Boursin. That stuff is so good (and bad for you) :)

    Mark – I have to claim ignorance. I don’t know much about Ina Garten other than she features on food blogs from time to time. Who is this woman? Kaweah was awfully cute back then. Just so you know, she was a bad little puppy – very stubborn and willful.

    Kelly – oh, I’m sure you could sub in all sorts of things… mushrooms, bacon, artichokes, potatoes… cheese?

    Margie – well, as you know, fire is something we all live with in the American West.

    Peabody – you’re kidding! SCORE! I love coming up with things that your guy will eat. That’s like a bullseye!

    Hilda – mmm, I think the bresaola is a nice addition (although if I draped pork over it, then my flexitarian friends wouldn’t eat it). Puppies are very cute, but I do like my dog now that she’s a big girl.

    Kathleen – thanks.

    Melissa – ha ha, you’re very welcome!

    Nate – I know what you’re talking about. I love those!

    Dawn – I mooshed the chicken into shape :)

    Emily – I think it would be awesome with some panko. Anything that adds crunch or salt or juiciness would be awesome (like bacon – oh god… bacon…)

    Tori – not anymore! :) hee hee. Thanks.

    Mrs. E – can you believe it? Now she’s a big dope :)

    Mollie – we got some sort of brainwave connection going on, don’t we, lady? I know just what K-boy looked like as a pup b/c my neighbors have a BMD and she was a pup just two years ago (soooo cute). She’s crazy now!

    Alexsandra – thanks!

    Kitt – they do :( I guess it’s both good and bad. I’ve heard of folks using cream cheese to make homemade boursin. That’s not how real boursin is made though, right? We just had a windy one today – hopefully tomorrow it will calm down some so I can tele!

    Candace – thank you :)

    Pam – thanks.

    Fiona – you make me laugh. I’m sure they were wonderful, regardless :)

    Eleonora – you’re welcome!

    Gretchen – :)

  30. Holly says:

    Jen, I made this for dinner last night. It was superb!

  31. jenyu says:

    Holly – nice!! Glad you like it :)

  32. Sethery says:

    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_QhZrZ-XU0a8/SXwLpzPt6KI/AAAAAAAAD_0/t3RkssXlAjY/s1600-h/IMG_3017.JPG

    Mmmmm. So tasty.

    Thanks!

  33. mycookinghut says:

    looks absolutely delicious! You’ve got good knife skill!!

  34. jenyu says:

    Sethery – awesome, man.

    MCH – thank you!

  35. Jen Chen says:

    love this one! <3
    …and your dumpling recipe ROCKS!!!!

  36. jenyu says:

    Jen – thanks! I’m so glad you like the recipes. Good on ya!

  37. Eh… « Tortfeeder says:

    […] Boursin Chicken – this was fine. Very simple. Not as good as some other recipe’s I’ve found on Use Real Butter. […]

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