I haven't been feeling inventive with food lately. It seems like I go to the grocery store every other day. Much as I love my grocery ladies (Kay! Rachel! Jeannie! Joann! You make my routine enjoyable!) and the wine guy (Louis! Yay Louis!) and the coffee kids (The usual? Yes please. 12 oz coffee. Black), AND the cheese goddess (so many samples!), I get sick of buying food.
So to mix things up, and because it's next to Value Village (Half off Presidents' Day Sale, you think I'd miss that?), I stopped in at Benedetti's Butcher Shop. I like those old school places with the big chopping blocks and shiny knives. There is a particular smell of very fresh clean meat that's at once appealing and slightly repugnant. Benedetti's also makes cheese steak sandwiches, if you happen to be hungry.
Works for me. Anyway, there were chicken breasts stuffed with asparagus in the case. And I happened to remember that there was a bunch of asparagus withering away in my fridge. Also a rind of parmesan cheese and some proscuitto. HA! All I had to do was buy some chicken breasts and I could make dinner without another trip to the grocery store.
So here's how it came together:
Partially cut through a chicken breast to make space for stuffing.
Fill with: thin slices of parmesan
6 asparagus tips
a little minced garlic
I used cooking twine and tied each one up like a mini roast. Then I browned them in a little butter and garlic, poured some liquid (white wine, lemon juice, cream (no idea why we have cream) and a little mustard into the pan, put the lid on, and simmered for about 35 minutes.
I made rice, but it was too much white. Next time I'll make baby red potatoes. I'll also go for more mustard (I only used about a teaspoon) and possibly some tarragon or saffron as well. I steamed the rest of the asparagus to the top of the chicken for the last 7 or 8 minutes. You could substitute milk for the cream, or stock. If you don't eat chicken, this would be delicious with fish, but I'm not sure what would be sturdy enough to stuff--maybe halibut? Somebody try it and get back to me.
It was sort of fancy, but maybe I just think that because asparagus was a delicacy reserved for company when I was growing up. I loathed it. I don't know when I figured out it's delicious. The hooligans like it, but you know they're weird that way. The Larger One called it twigs (More twigs! More!) when he was little. He probably was enjoying dinosaur (brontosaurus, since it involved vegetables) ideation.