Boursin Chicken with Brown Butter Gnocchi  A few weeks ago I ate at Crow, a fantastic little restaurant in my neighborhood.  They served a gnocchi with brown butter, roasted corn and morel mushrooms that blew my mind.  Honestly, it was so good that I would have kept eating until I developed a food hernia, had there not been a finite portion before me.  Here’s my version, topped with a Boursin- and wild mushroom-stuffed chicken breast. 

Makes: 2 finite portions
Total kitchen time: 45 minutes

Shopping list:

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 6 oz. wild mushrooms (morels are best, but shitake or porcini work as well)
  • 3 tbsp. Boursin cheese (it comes in a small box, available at most grocery stores)
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups gnocchi
  • 1/2 cup corn kernels (roasted, if you can make/buy them this way)
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F and set the top rack in the middle position.  In a large stockpot, boil 1 gallon of water (or as much as you can fit).
  2. If you’re using using dried mushrooms, let them soak for 20-30 minutes in a bowl of hot water to re-hydrate.  Drain and chop the mushrooms into 1/4” pieces.
  3. Prepare the chicken breast by cutting a slit through the side of the breast, being careful not to cut all the way through the other side.  Expand the incision to make a pocket in the breast. 
  4. Reserve half of the mushrooms.  Divide the remaining half and the Boursin cheese between the chicken breasts, stuffing it into the pocket you created.  Wipe away any excess Boursin that may be hanging outside the pocket – it will burn when the breast is cooked.  Salt and pepper the chicken breasts and lightly coat with olive oil.
  5. Bake on an oiled, rimmed baking dish for 20 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F. 
  6. Meanwhile, boil the gnocchi until just undercooked.  This will usually take 2-3 minutes.  The gnocchi will float when they are ready.  Drain the gnocchi and set aside.
  7. In a large, not-nonstick skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat.  Swirl the butter in the pan and cook until small brown spots begin to form.  This is one of the butter solids beginning to burn, and this is how we’ll make our brown butter.  Raise the heat to high and add the gnocchi.  Toss the gnocchi to coat in the butter and sear them, flipping occasionally, until they develop a very slight golden-brown crust.
  8. Add the corn, remaining mushrooms cinnamon and cloves and sauteé 1 minute more, then remove from the heat. Salt and pepper the gnocchi to taste, then plate and serve.

Of course, you can always serve the gnocchi on its own as a main course.  Try pairing it with a brothy asparagus, mushroom and pancetta soup as a starter.  Or, kneel below a wheelbarrow of brown butter gnocchi with your mouth agape.  You know, whatever works for you.

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