We’ve been meeting for dinner and great wines with a small group of friends for years. When it’s your turn to host you’re responsible for the entire meal and you can make whatever you want. There’s no theme or requirements and it can be as simple as a barbeque or as elaborate as a six course meal. As a guest, the only thing you have to do is show up with wine. We’d love to get together once a month, but with busy schedules it’s probably more like every couple of months. The food is always good and the wines frequently border on incredible, but it’s the time around the table together talking and laughing that’s the highlight of the evening.
I knew that our turn was coming up soon after my return from Italy and wanted to make a meal inspired by the trip. I considered some sort of pasta but in the end decided on trying to recreate the chicken and roasted potatoes that we had been served up on the farm. We had been told that we we’d be having chicken legs but I’m fairly certain that it was boneless chicken thighs stuffed with prosciutto, fresh sage and cheese. It was served with perfectly roasted potatoes and a salad of greens with vinegar and oil. Once again, the food was so simple, but absolutely sublime.
The photo is from the lunch on the farm. When I’m in the midst of serving dinner to guests, I never make it to taking any pictures. You’ll just have to believe me when I say that my version was pretty close to this.In addition to roasted potatoes I served my chicken with balsamic roasted cippolini onions and yellow pole beans tossed with pesto. We finished with a blueberry crostata topped with vanilla ice cream.
Stuffed Chicken Thighs
12 boneless chicken thighs, with skin (I couldn’t find boneless with skin, so I boned them myself)
1/4 pound thinly sliced prosciutto
1/4 pound fontina cheese (you could use pecorino toscano or gruyere, sliced in 12 pieces)
24 fresh sage leaves
3 garlic cloves, minced
Extra-virgin olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lay the chicken thighs out and pound them to flatten. Heat some olive oil over medium heat and add the sages leaves and minced garlic. Saute for a few minutes-do not let the garlic brown. Season with thighs with salt and pepper. Lay a piece of prosciutto on each thigh, then top with a slice of cheese, two sage leaves and a little garlic. Roll chicken up and secure with toothpick or tie with string.
Heat olive oil in large over medium-high heat and when it’s hot add chicken thighs, skin down and brown for a few minutes on all sides. Do not crowd the pan-do in two batches if necessary. Remove thighs from skillet and place in a roasting pan and cook for 1/2 hour. Remove from oven and either serve whole or slice into pieces. Serves: 6