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Sunday, May 27

Running for Chicken Dinner

Now that the weather is suitable for outdoor activities, I’ve started running.  Actually we were both planning to run together to train for a race but his ankle has been bothering him, keeping him off the path.  He is getting his ankle looked at by a podiatrist.  He hopes to start training for a summer race so we hope the prognosis is uncomplicated.

I began running when my friend visited in February.  Before arriving she started training for a race and needed to continue training so I offered to run with her.  The first time we ran the temperatures were below 0 (Fahrenheit).  And the wind-chill was unfavorable for a run.  We ran couple more times before giving up on “below freezing running”.  She returned home, completed her race and inspired me to sign up for a race here.

In March, I started a program to train for a 10k.  10 weeks into the program, I am happy to pronounce it’s going well.  I’m enjoying my runs and I like it more than I thought I would.  I am hoping the husband is back on the horse and can start training so we can run together.

Recently when I completed a challenging 36 minute run, we celebrated with this dinner.

Stuffed Chicken with Risotto and Glazed Carrots

Serves 2, can easily be doubled

2 teaspoons butter, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
8 ounces Risotto Rice
1/4 cup white wine
2-3 cups Chicken Stock, homemade or low sodium canned (vegetarian stock also works)
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

In a saucepan, heat chicken stock on low and keep aside for when ready to use.

In a separate saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon butter and olive oil on medium low heat.  When butter is melted, add shallot and garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add risotto and stir it around the pan.  When rice is slightly brown on the edges, season with salt and pepper, then stir in white wine and cook until liquid evaporates, 1 minute.  Stir in 1/4 cup of warmed chicken stock to the risotto.  If the liquid is boiling or bubbling too hard when added to the risotto, turn down the heat.  When the stock has evaporated, add another 1/4 cup of warmed stock, stirring occasionally to coat the rice with liquid.  As liquid evaporates, continue adding stock one ladle at a time and stirring until risotto is completely cooked, 25 minutes.  Risotto is ready when it’s creamy but still has a slight bite on the inside.  It shouldn’t be mushy.  For best results start tasting after 20 minutes.  All 3 cups of stock may not be needed.  Remove from heat, stir in the other 1 teaspoon of butter and cheese.

Stuffed Chicken
2 Chicken breasts, deboned and skinned
4 ounces frozen Spinach, defrosted and drained
2 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil

Glazed Carrots
3 Carrots, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon Thyme
1/4 cup white wine
Salt & freshly ground pepper
touch of butter

While the risotto is cooking, heat a 10 inch skillet on a medium heat.

Slide a pairing knife in the thickest part of the breast, and then slice a horizontal slit through the middle. Open it like a book. (If it doesn’t lay flat, cut a little more on the inside.) Lay a wax paper on the chicken and pound the chicken breast with a meat mallet. A can or thick rolling pin also works. After pounding, it should be even in thickness, about 1/4 inch. Salt and pepper the inside of the breast. Place drained spinach on each breast and top it with cheese. Roll up the chicken from one end to another and season the outside with salt and pepper.

Add olive oil to the skillet and swirl around the pan. Add the stuffed chicken, seam side down; this keeps the chicken sealed and stuffing inside. Brown for 5- 7 minutes on the first side, don’t try to turn it or move it around at this stage. When browned, turn and brown the other side, 2 minutes.

Remove the chicken breasts from the pan onto a plate.  Add sliced carrots to the pan, season with salt and pepper. Deglaze the pan with white wine and add thyme.  Scrape up the browned bits from the chicken.  When the liquid is simmering, add chicken and the juices collected on the plate to the pan, cover and cook for 8- 10 minutes.  Add the touch of butter and remove from heat. Place chicken and carrots on risotto and serve immediately.

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