29 January 2012

Stop and Smell the Rosemary.

Every once and awhile,there's a dish that is so delectable, I have to consider it blog-worthy, even if it has nothing to do with the G.  This is one of those entries.  For several years, I've had this awesome cookbook called Stop and Smell the Rosemary.  Years ago, I had dinner at a friend's house and she made a dish or two from this cookbook, and I was hooked.  It took me awhile to find it (oh the wonders of Amazon!) but once I had it in my grasp, I haven't looked back.  There's something about this cookbook that is almost elegant.  Maybe it's the cover with its fancy white vase, filled with a heaping bouquet of plush flowers.  You can almost imagine the fragrant aroma jumping off the page, wafting subtly under your nose.   

The dish in question is called simply Chicken Strudel.  It is a labor of of love.  It's easy but time-consuming, and the end result is well worth the effort.  It's been a couple years since I made it, but tonight felt like a special occasion, worthy of standing in the kitchen for a couple hours compiling this masterpiece.  It was a busy, fun-filled day. We met up with some friends this morning and took the Boo swimming, which was exhausting, exhilarating, and made us hungry.  Terry starts a new job tomorrow and so it just seemed like a good time to make this special dish. 

So here it is...fresh from the pages of Stop and Smell the Rosemary, Chicken Strudel:  
Before popping in the oven.

1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, poached and chopped
2 tbls olive oil
1 med onion, chopped
1 pound fresh spinach
3 cups shredded Muenster cheese
2 tbls dry white wine
1/2 teasp salt
1/2 teasp fresh ground pepper
1 lg egg, beaten
1 lb frozen phyllo pastry, thawed**
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup bread crumbs

Heat oil in med skillet.  Add onion and saute until tender.  Add spinach and continue to cook 5 min, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and let cool. Stir in cheese, wine, salt, pepper, and egg.   Add chicken.  
Preheat oven to 375.  On waxed paper, place 1 sheet of phyllo, brush with butter, and sprinkle with bread crumbs.  Repeat to make 4-5 layers.  Spoon about a cup of the chicken mixture on one end.  Roll phyllo and tuck ends in on either side.  Brush with butter, and make a few diagonal cuts on top through dough, about 1 inch apart.  Sprinkle top with paprika.  Repeat process to make up to 4 strudels.  Place on greased baking dish and bake 20 minutes. 

**So the weird thing about this recipe is that the original tells you to spoon half of the mixture onto one end of the strudel and do this twice, making only two strudels.  I think if you did this, you'd be unable to roll it as well and you'd have a gigantic strudel to deal with.  So I break it up into four.  When you buy a lb of phyllo, you get two rolls in the box. Following these instructions with the five sheets of layering, I still have a roll of phyllo left over and still am able to make four strudels, each with about five layers of phyllo.  Besides, this is the type of dish where you want leftovers.  It's just that good.
20 magical minutes later.

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