November 1, 2009

CHICKEN BREASTS STUFFED WITH FIGS AND SPINACH

CHICKEN BREASTS STUFFED WITH FIGS AND
SPINACH

(Anjeeri Murg)

It was during the Mughal Era in India when foods like raisins, figs and saffron were commonly used, reflecting the riches of the culture through its cuisines.

This was the period when India cuisine was revolutionized. New concepts of grilling, broiling and cooking were introduced.

In this recipe, the main flavor comes from figs and saffron.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 tablespoons sesame oil
1/2 cup dried fig, chopped
1 tablespoon saffron threads
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (or to taste)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 pound fresh spinach, washed, dried, and stemmed
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt, to taste
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

1. Place chicken breasts in the center of a plastic food storage bag or 2 large sheets of waxed paper. Pound out the chicken from the center of the bag outward using a heavy-bottom skillet or mallet, evenly flattening the breasts.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add figs and saffron and stir fry for 2 minutes until they plump up in saffron color.

3. Add cumin seeds and chopped onions and stir fry until golden brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in the spinach and toss for 2 to 3 minutes, until wilted. Stir in cayenne pepper and salt.

4. Spread the stuffing over each flattened breasts and wrap and roll over the stuffing. Secure the breasts with toothpick.

5. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and ginger and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until garlic is golden brown. Add tomato sauce and heavy cream and cook till sauce is thick and smoth.

6. Preheat the over to 350 F. 7. Arrange chicken breasts in a shallow baking dish and pour the toamto sauce over each breast.

Bake for 45 minutes, basting occasionally with the sauce.

8. Serve hot, sliced at an angle, garnished with chopped cilantro.

Serves 4.

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