Summer Chicken Sachet

Fresh herbs add a distinctive flavor and special touch to everyone's cooking. The difference between fresh and dried herbs is like night and day. The oils in fresh herbs are more predominant and give you a stronger flavor. If people only knew how easy it is to grow them! You buy a pot of chives or garlic or parsley and plant them---and they come back every year thicker and more abundant. Chef Louis back in the 1700's said: "To take parsley away from the cook would make it impossible for him to exercise his art."

Today's recipe, Summer Chicken Sachet, uses five fresh herbs and the sachet part means that it is stuffed or cooked in a little packet. Four four people you'll need:

4 ea.               boneless chicken breast with the skin on
1 cup               ricotta cheese
1/2 cup             bread crumbs
1 ea.               egg
1 tsp               fresh basil
1 tsp               fresh oregano
1/2 tsp             chopped fresh parsley
1 TB                chopped fresh garlic
1 tsp               fresh dill
to taste            salt and pepper
4 cups              tomato sauce
4 TB                fresh parmesan cheese

Lay the chicken pieces on your board and pound out the breast, but do not remove the skins. They don't have to be real thin, but pounding them makes them more tender and they cook faster. Mix all the rest except the tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. Take 1/4 of the mixture and stuff it in between the skin and the chicken. Then fold over the edges to surround the stuffing with the chicken. Do the same for the rest. In a hot pan with oil, sear off both sides of the breasts until light brown. Place the browned chicken breasts in a buttered oven dish. Pour your own homemade tomato sauce over the top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for one hour. Try a Michigan wine from Seven Lakes Vineyard called Vignoles with this dish. They make it near Holly and it is wonderfully crisp and dry.

Get into those herbs! Garlic is one of the most ancient of cultivated plants. It was even found in King Tut's tomb....who was buried over 3000 years ago. The fresher the garlic, the better it works....on your breath, too. But, to sweeten your breath, chew parsley after eating it! To learn more about that aromatic herb, try reading Lloyd Harris' The Book of Garlic: Lovers of the Stinking Rose. And as always, a creative cook is a good cook.