Just call this the "blue" plate special. ::rimshot:: I was drawn to this meal the moment I saw it in my cookbook because I knew right away where it was from. Cashel is a small, small town in the southern midlands of Ireland. The Rock of Cashel, below, is believed to be one of the sights that St. Patrick converted and baptised some of the first Christians in Ireland. Some of my favorite pictures from Ireland came out of our visit to this site, and the photos below don't do it justice. It's a beautiful place, and a wonderful place to go to meditate, pray, or just take in your surroundings.
I was so excited to make this meal because it's full of flavors that I just love and it took me back to one of the best trips I've ever taken. I loved it, Graham didn't, but he's got issues with melted cheese. I really encourage you to try this if you don't have picky eaters in your house or apartment, or cut way down on the cheese. See my modifications below the recipe.
Chicken Cashel Blue
Adapted from The Irish Spirit
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied
4 oz. Cashel Blue cheese (crumbles or small cubes)
1/2 c. all purpose flour
1 large egg, beaten with 1 T. milk
1/2 c. fresh white breadcrumbs
4 T. extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, minced
6 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
2 T. Irish whiskey
1/4 c. half and half
Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F. Stuff each butterflied chicken breast with blue cheese. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste.
Place the flour in one shallow dish, the egg wash in another, and the breadcrumbs in a third. Bread the chicken breasts. by dipping first in flour to lightly coat (shake off excess), then the egg, and finally in breadcrumbs. Pat breadcrumbs to adhere, if necessary. Refridgerate chicken for 15-20 minutes.
When chicken is ready, in a large skillet heat 2 T. olive oil. Cook chicken over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes per side or until golden brown. Transfer to a casserole dish and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until heated through.
While chicken is baking, make the sauce. Heat remaining T. olive oil over medium-high heat. add shallot and mushrooms, season with a touch of salt and pepper, and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft and lightly brown. Add the whiskey and cook for 1-2 minutes, until it has reduced slightly. Add half and half and whisk to blend sauce. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until sauce has smoothed. Serve sauce over chicken.
- I couldn't find Cashel Blue cheese, but that's not a surprise. I DID find plenty of Gorgonzola and Polish blue cheese, as well as an off brand with a Union Jack on the label. I went with the Union Jack brand since it was the closest geographically. I couldn't really taste the difference between U.S. blue and U.K. blue, but I also don't know cheeses very well. I thought it tasted great no matter what.
- The original recipe suggests cutting a 'pocket' in each breast and stuffing the chicken in, but I prefer the butterfly method. Flipping it can be tricky, but it makes from a great presentation when you slice into the chicken and a little cheese oozes out. (Or do you think that's what they meant?)
- The original recipe suggests buying a block of cheese and cutting it into 4 pieces, then rolling each piece into a snail before stuffing it in the chicken. I could only find crumbled, and really it's all the same once they melt together.
- This isn't the prettiest looking dish, but that's partially my fault. I don't care enough to pretty up my food before I take it's glamour shot. It is, however, frighteningly delicious. It's got a very distinct 'Irish' flavor to it. It combines traditional ingredients and instantly takes me back to Ireland, ca. 2004.
- The cookbook suggests serving with Carrot and Turnip Puree, but instead I served this with Crushed Potatoes and a small green salad.