RECIPE – Chicken Thighs With Prosciutto, Stuffed with Foie Gras

A note here about foie gras – I find it delicious. I’m not going to argue with you about how I’d feel if I were goose crippled and tortured for my liver, because if I’m not a goose and frankly my liver is wretched. If you have an ethical objection, skip this recipe, since the only substitution I can think to provide you is a combination of herbed butter, bacon fat and six spices, but even that’s not going to come close. No, you can’t even sub a cheese, because it’s both the wrong texture and the wrong flavor.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

8 ounces foie gras pate
12 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
8 ounces thinly sliced Italian prosciutto
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or to taste
very little salt and pepper to taste
A dinner plate lined with plastic wrap
Space in your freezer
1 large bowl for mixing things
1 skillet
1 chunk of bitter
Paper towels (way more than you think, just to play it safe)
1 oven capable baking dish, the sort of thing you’d make brownies in
1/4 cup corn oil

LET’S COOK

Cut pate into 12 rectangles (or as many rectangles as you can get, assuming you’ve played Tetris), and place onto the plate lined with plastic wrap. Place into the freezer. Combine chicken thighs and Worcestershire sauce in the mixing bowl. Seal with plastic wrap (I cover this with a clean towel), and get this into your refrigerator to marinate for 1 hour. Now, if you want to fiddle a little with the marinade, I’ve had good luck with mixing Worcestershire with a little grainy mustard, a little bit of fruit preserves, some five-star spice and a bit of not-spiced rum or cooking sherry.

Fry the prosciutto in a large, nonstick skillet over medium heat until crispy. Drain, cool and crumble (I usually do this into a cereal bowl). Season with garlic powder, pepper to taste; set aside. Try not to eat all of this, you’re going to need it later.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Remove chicken thighs from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Discard marinade, and make sure you wash that bowl out immediately, lest it smell sort of funky. Lay the chicken thighs out flat on a clean work surface (like a cutting board that you specifically use for chicken as to avoid getting some mutant strain of salmonella). Season with salt and pepper, then sprinkle crumbled prosciutto in the center. Place a cube of pate on top of the prosciutto, then wrap the thigh around the filling and secure with toothpicks. This is basically a joint, with a chicken wrapper. Don’t roll too tightly, but do your best to toothpick these things shut. And don’t forget to wash your hands.

NOTE: Use wooden toothpicks. Those plastic colored ones? Well, they’re plastic. And in an oven, they’ll melt. Avoid that and just use wooden ones. If you’re a little worried about wood in an oven, feel free to soak them in water, but don’t freak out, they’ll be fine.

Heat corn oil in a large skillet over high heat. Place thighs (USE TONGS) into oil, and cook until browned all over, about 5 minutes. When browned, place thighs seam side down into a glass baking dish. You can always find the seam side because presumably that’s where the toothpicks are.

NOTE #2: Okay, hopefully you’re using tongs and you’re not just dropping chicken into oil with you standing at ground zero for splatters. If you like, wear an apron. Or a blast shield. Don’t worry Luke, trust your instincts and USE TONGS. Here’s a nice pair. Remember to wash them after you’re done.

Bake in preheated oven until the chicken is no longer pink, and the juices run clear, 25 to 30 minutes, depending on size. I like to aim for about 27 minutes, that seems to work nicely for my oven.

Note #3: You’re going to want to pull the toothpicks out before you eat. I know, it might fall apart. If you’re just whipping this up for one person and it’s not like a dinner party or big deal, don’t sweat it. If this is your chance to impress someone, either for a date (this recipe has never worked on a date for me, the frying bit freaks out people) or some dinner party, when you go to plate, serve them seam side down, and just as you get them onto the plate, slide the pick out, sort of like how you pull on underwear while you’re still wearing a towel post-shower if you’re dealing with people. (What, I’m the only one who’s done that?)

You can serve these with quite a few options: brown rice with lemon, a delightful couscous, some roast vegetables (I like carrots and cauliflower for this dish, asparagus just makes your pee smell, and if you’re hoping to get lucky later, that can torpedo you, let’s be honest) or even a salad with a decent (meaning not-creamy) dressing drowning hopefully crisp and/or peppery greens.

Is this dish one of those “John you’re being a foodie again” meals? Absolutely. I can’t help it. This is one of my favorites.

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