The garden strawberries! They just won’t quit! In my zeal to use them, I even broke one of my personal rules against meals consisting largely of one big ol’ hunk of meat. And it was chicken breast, at that. (I usually prefer thighs, as they’re more flavorful and less prone to dryness, but in this case breasts were easier to stuff.) However, this is the best savory use for strawberries—outside of salads—I’ve ever found, and I’ve been making it for years now (pre $35-a-week, of course) to great acclaim. If you want to get real fancy you could even convert this into a roulade, which would make for a much prettier picture than the one above. The sauce also doubles as a salad dressing; feel free to add a mess of spinach leaves or other greens to the other half of the plate. (As I did after this picture was taken.)
I can’t remember where the chicken recipe originally came from, as I have it as a computer printout in a binder sheet, so apologies to the original source from which it was further modified. As below it makes 4 servings.
• 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts: $4.50
• 1 oz. crumbled gorgonzola: 50 cents
• 2 oz. prosciutto, chopped: $1
• 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (garden): $0
• 1 cup chopped strawberries (garden): $0
• 1/4 tsp ground coriander: 3 cents
• 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar: $1.50
• 1/3 cup chicken broth or stock: 3 cents
• 1/2 cup sugar: 11 cents
• 2 T oil: 6 cents
• Salt & pepper: 2 cents
• Garden salad (optional): $0
TOTAL: $7.75/4 = $1.94/serving
Mix the gorgonzola, chopped prosciutto, and thyme in a small bowl.
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts. If they’re extra thick at the top, as mine were, pound them with a mallet until they’re more even.
Carefully cut a large pocket starting with the thickest part of the breast, stopping about 1/2 to 1 inch from the other side. Stuff with 1/4 of the cheese-prosciutto mixture, and secure shut (including any holes) with toothpicks. Repeat with the other breasts.
Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat a large skillet (preferably nonstick so you can remove them gently) over medium heat. Add the oil. Add the secured breasts (odds are you’ll have to add only two at a time to keep them from crowding) and brown on both sides, about 3 minutes per side.
Remove to a large broiler pan or fine-meshed cooling rack set over a cookie sheet. If you see any spots where the filling is starting or threatening to come out, re-secure with toothpicks. Put in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, or until cooked through. (Use a digital thermometer if you have one to avoid cutting them open.)
Meanwhile, add the chopped strawberries, balsamic, sugar, coriander, and chicken broth to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, until reduced and thickened.
When chicken is finished, remove toothpicks.
To serve, either cut the chicken open like so…
…or serve whole.
Pour strawberry-balsamic sauce over the top and add salad, if desired.