Saturday, January 30, 2010

Valentine's Day Recipe: Mary Ellen Rae's Poulet aux Fines Herbes

News flash – Valentine’s Day is in two weeks. What are you doing? What are you buying your sweetie? Most importantly, what’s for dinner?

We asked Chef Mary Ellen Rae to suggest a special home-cooked meal. Chef Mary Ellen toiled for years as a chef in the Los Angeles Times test kitchen and now owns Personal Touch Gourmet, a full-service foodie operation for catering, cooking classes, freelance recipe testing and more.

Here’s her recipe for Poulet aux Fines Herbes, a richly flavorful main course that she suggests pairing with roasted asparagus and buttered egg noodles sprinkled with fresh minced chives. A version of this recipe previously appeared in the Times.

As a variation to these sides, I used corn-quinoa pasta as shown in the picture above. On a related note, Fissler USA is about to debut a new line that makes pasta preparation a breeze. When introduced in March, the Solea line promises to dazzle and inspire with its sophisticated, visionary and individual approach to fine cookware. Solea lids are engineered for straining, so there’s no need for a colander when cooking pasta or vegetables. Combined with the renowned CookStar base and other high-tech features, Solea can help you cook pasta Fissler-style — i.e., “perfect every time.” Your pasta — and your Valentine — will love you for your discriminating taste in cookware.

The thoughtful editor/publisher of has posted many more suggestions for enticing Valentine’s Day food, drink, music and other mood setters. Wishing you a lovely evening …

Poulet aux Fines Herbes
Recipe by Chef Mary Ellen Rae of Personal Touch Gourmet

Serves 4

½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup finely ground fresh breadcrumbs
¾ cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
Freshly ground white pepper
1 egg, lightly beaten
6 tablespoons butter, softened
½ cup minced fines herbes (a combination of chives, tarragon, chervil and parsley)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, fat trimmed
½ cup shredded Gruyère cheese

Heat oven to 375°. Line a small roasting pan with foil and set aside.

Stir the Parmesan cheese into the breadcrumbs and place on a shallow plate. Stir the flour and salt together on a second plate and pour the egg into a shallow bowl.

Combine the butter and fresh herbs in a food processor and process until smooth. Pound the chicken breasts to flatten to ¼ inch. Place one chicken breast on work surface and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Spoon 1 tablespoon of butter mixture in the center of the chicken. Put 2 tablespoons of Gruyère cheese on top of butter. Fold in the sides lengthwise and roll up jellyroll style so the mixture will form a bundle. Set aside and fill remaining chicken breasts.

Dip each chicken bundle into the flour, shaking off excess, then into the egg mixture and finally into the breadcrumbs. Place in the roasting pan or casserole. Press the sides of the chicken to form a round shape, ensuring the bottom sides are tucked under. This will help to keep the butter-cheese mixture inside the bundle. Finish with remaining chicken breasts.

(Chicken can be frozen at this point and placed in an airtight container. When cooking frozen chicken, add an additional 10 minutes to the cooking time).

Bake chicken for 25-30 minutes or until thermometer placed in the chicken (not butter center) reaches 165°.

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