This recipe won an award in a competition among firehouse cooks. Think about it. If you were cooking for a group of hungry people, you would want a recipe that makes a lot; one that contains ingredients that almost everyone likes, and this is really important (hear that fire bell ringing as they sit down to eat?) one that can be reheated. I've adapted the recipe over the years, but its spirit rings true.
12 boneless chicken breasts
1/8 C olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 pkg. frozen chopped spinach,
(defrosted and squeezed dry)
1/2 lb Feta cheese, crumbled
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 C milk
2 C breadcrumbs (Italian flavored)
3 to 4 TBS butter
2 C sliced mushrooms (white or baby bella)
2 TBS flour
2 C chicken broth
juice of 1/2 lemon
canola oil for frying
salt and freshly ground pepper
1. Using a meat mallet or a rolling pin, pound the chicken breasts between two sheets of plastic wrap until they are about doubled in size (approx. 1/4" thick.)
2. Saute the garlic in the olive oil for a minute or so; add the spinach and cook until heated through. Salt and pepper to taste. Cool and drain in a colander.
3. Lay the chicken breasts on a flat surface. Salt and pepper lightly. Place some spinach and feta cheese on each flattened breast. Roll the chicken around the filling, tucking in the sides.
4. Mix the eggs with the milk. Dip each chicken roll in the egg wash and then roll it in the bread crumbs.
5. Fry the breaded rolls in a small amount of canola oil until golden brown. These will be baked, so you're just browning at this step and not cooking through.
6. Remove the pieces to a baking pan and cover with foil. Bake at 350 for
7. Saute the mushrooms in about a tablespoon of butter. Set the mushrooms aside. In the same pan, melt about 2 tablespoons of butter and stir in the flour. Let it cook for about a minute and then add the chicken broth and lemon juice. Keep stirring with a whisk until the sauce starts to thicken. Check for seasoning. You might want to add some salt and pepper. Return the mushrooms to the sauce.
8. At this point, you can pour the sauce over the chicken rolls and serve them or set the dish aside to be reheated later.
9. Think about making mashed potatoes to go with the gravy.
I'm not going to pretend that this dish is quick or easy. It's messy and time consuming, but the prep can be (and really should be!) done in stages. The end result is one baking dish with twelve chicken rolls and gravy. Cleanup can be done ahead of time. Another bonus is that they freeze really well.