This meal was so fantastic that I wanted to share it immediately. I first had Ratatouille after seeing the move Ratatouille where the very talented Remy (the anthropomorphic rat) who made Confit Byaldi for Anton Ego the imperious and acerbic food critic. Confit Byaldi is actually a variation of classic Ratatouille, I was watching the travel channel show French Safari the other day, where Chef Guillaume Brahimi makes the classic ratatouille. It looked so good that I had to make some myself but I wanted to pair it with chicken and thought a stuffed chicken breast would be a nice paring.
To make the Ratatouille, I used the same technique that Chef Brahimi used i.e. to sauté the vegetables separately first the Eggplant, than Zucchini and finally Onions and Bell Pepper along with herbs and garlic and then combining all the ingredients and cooking them along with the tomatoes. I wanted my ratatouille chunky so did not use the tomato juice just diced the tomatoes and let them become a pulp and quote the vegetables.
To make the stuffing for the chicken breast, First Using a sharp knife, I butterfly each chicken breast horizontally, almost all the way through but not quite, leaving the two halves attached like the pages of a book and then tenderized it with a mallet to about 3/4 cms thick.
For the stuffing, I used dried wild mushrooms that I bought from Costco (but you can use a combination of fresh Oyster, Baby Bella, Porcine and Button mushrooms), a cup of fresh spinach finely chopped (you can use well drained frozen spinach) and couple cloves of garlic minced. Than seared the chicken in the same pan and once cooked removed the chicken and made a glaze combining the goodness left in using the mushroom water, wine and some balsamic vinegar to deglaze the pan.
Love to hear from you and let me know how yours turned out.
1 cup – Diced Eggplant
1 cup – Diced Zucchini (yellow & green)
1 cup – Diced Bell Peppers (an one of these varieties Green/Yellow/Red)
1/2 cup – Diced Onions
1-1/2 cups – Fresh diced tomatoes
5 – Garlic cloves minced
2-3 – sprigs Thyme
2-3 leaves – fresh Sage (Chiffonade)
1/2 tsp – Fresh Rosemary (finely diced)
1 tsp – Herbs de Provence
1 1/2 tbsp – olive oil (not EVOO as it may bring a strong flavor to the dish)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Note: Dice all the vegetables into 1 to 1-1/4 cms cubes
2 – Chicken Breasts (Using a sharp knife, butterfly each chicken breast horizontally, almost all the way through but not quite, leaving the two halves attached like the pages of a book and then tenderize it with a mallet to about 3/4 cms thick)
1 Cup – Fresh spinach
2 – Cloves Garlic (minced)
1/4 Cup – Rehydrated wild mushrooms minced OR a combination of fresh baby bella, oyster and white mushrooms minced
1/4 tsp – Herbs de Provence
1/8 Cup – left over water used to rehydrate dried wild mushrooms OR Mild Chicken Stock
1/8 Cup – White Wine
Salt and Pepper to taste
- To make the Ratatouille: heat about 3/4th tbsp of olive oil in a Dutch oven or a heavy bottom pan. Add 2 cloves of garlic minced; add 2 sprigs of thyme and sauté until you can smell the flavors. Then add the diced eggplant, pinch salt and pepper and toss cover the vessel and let cook for 3-4 minutes until the egg plant has become a dull color but not cooked completely. Empty into a bowl and set aside.
- Add the remaining olive oil to the pan and add the Chiffonade of Sage, 2 cloves of minced garlic and let it sauté until you can smell the flavors. Add the Zucchini, pinch of salt and pepper and toss to mix and cover and let cook for 2-3 mins. Now add onions and bell peppers and finely diced rosemary and cook for an additional 3 mins until you see a light caramelization of the onions.
- Reintroduce the eggplant and toss to mix add the tomatoes, remaining minced garlic and the Herbs de Provence mix again and let cook for about 30 mins or until the eggplant does not taste raw and the tomatoes are cooked and almost disintegrated to a very thick sauce. Remove into a bowl and set aside
- To make the stuffing for the Chicken, finely chop the spinach, finely dice the mushrooms, and mince the garlic.
- Add about 1/4 tbsp of olive oil or just enough to sauté; add the garlic and Herbs de Provence and sauté until you can smell the flavor. Add the mushrooms and let them sauté for about a min and then add the spinach and sauté until the spinach has wilted and not completely dry.
- Season the chicken breast and spread the spinach filling and roll (use either tooth picks or cooking twine to hold in place)
- Heat a pan on high add some oil to cook, drop a couple of sage leaves and introduce the chicken and sear until you see caramelization and let it brown cook it will but do not overcook it as the chicken will be too dry.
- Remove the chicken and deglaze the pan with the left over water used to rehydrate the mushrooms or mild chicken stock, reduce and add the red wine and couple of dashes of balsamic and reduce to a glaze consistency.
- Plate the Ratatouille and over that place the chicken and spoon the glaze onto the chicken.Bon Appétit