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Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Prosciutto and Figs
From Steven Raichlen's High-Flavor, Low-Fat Chicken

In this recipe a beloved Italian appetizer becomes a stuffing for boneless chicken breasts. The balsamic vinegar sauce picks up the sweetness of the figs. If fresh figs are in season, by all means use them. But dried figs work well, too (if using dried figs, soften them in warm water or port wine). Note: To further reduce the fat in this recipe, you can bake or grill the chicken breasts instead of sautéing them.

Ingredients:

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts (4 halves — 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 pounds)
4 fresh or dried figs
2 very thin slices prosciutto or Smithfield ham (about 1 ounce)
8 fresh sage or basil leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup flour, for dredging

For the Sauce:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup chicken stock

Instructions:

Wash and dry the chicken breasts and trim off any fat. Remove the fillets (the long cylindrical strips of meat on the inside of the breasts) and reserve for another recipe. Cut each breast lengthwise into two halves. Lay one of the half breasts at the edge of a cutting board. Cut a deep horizontal pocket in the breast, taking care not to pierce the top, bottom, or far side. It helps to hold the breast flat with your free hand while cutting the pocket. Cut pockets in the remaining breasts the same way.

Stem the figs and thinly slice widthwise. Place 1 sliced fig, 1/2 slice prosciutto, and 2 sage leaves in the pocket of each chicken breast. Pin the pockets shut with lightly oiled toothpicks. Stuff all the chicken breasts the same way.

Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper and lightly dredge in flour, shaking off the excess. Lightly brown the chicken breasts over high heat, about 2 minutes per side. Add the balsamic vinegar and bring to a boil. Add the stock and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat and gently simmer the chicken breasts until cooked, about 10 minutes, turning once. Transfer the chicken breasts to a cutting board and keep warm. Boil the sauce until reduced, thick, and richly flavored, about 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the toothpicks and thinly slice the chicken breasts widthwise. (The best tool for slicing is an electric knife.) Fan the sliced chicken breasts out on plates or a platter. Spoon the sauce over or around the chicken and serve at once.

Yield: serves 4

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