A photo simply cannot do this dish justice. It's like a flavor explosion of happiness. Cheesy, right? I can't describe it any other way.
The idea came from the lonely sage in the back of our garden patch. It's in the back corner, often encroached upon by the out-of-control oregano. Even when attacked, it does flourish back there. I don't think of sage enough in the summer. It seems to pop into my head in October, when my fresh stuff is long gone, to pair with apples and pork. It's a fun compliment to fall harvests, hardly rearing its head in August.
Until this August.
Peaches are in season and there's no better time to sink your teeth into these soft-skinned delights. So I picked up one of the yellow variety and one of the white from Applecrest Farm Orchards this weekend looking to incorporate them into a main dish. I've never paired peach with sage so it was a bit of an experiment. I also wanted to make my own ricotta for the first time. If you haven't done it, try it. It's fun, easy, and extremely tasty. I had great luck with this recipe from David Lebovitz of DavidLebovitz.com. Check it out; it's a great, mouthwatering-site. The following recipe is the result of all of this inspiration.
Sage and Ricotta-Stuffed Chicken Breast with Peaches
1 lb boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
1/4 cup olive oil (and a touch more for cooking)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
salt and pepper
1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh sage and parsley (1/4 cup total, more sage than parsley)
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper
2 whole fresh peaches, pitted, cut into slices
3/4 cup white wine
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Start with preparing the chicken breasts. Take each and a knife, and starting at the thickest side of the breast, cut a slit almost all the way through the breast, but not completely through. In a bowl, combine olive oil and dijon mustard and whisk together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Toss chicken into the bowl, tossing to coat and let sit while you prepare the stuffing.
In another bowl, combine ricotta and sage and parsley. Add olive oil until you can get a whisk through the mixture somewhat easily. Take stuffing and fill the chicken breasts. There should be enough that it's spilling over just a bit, but you could still close the chicken breast. Close and tie shut with three pieces of cooking twine (or unwaxed plain dental floss).
Heat a bit of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sear and slightly brown chicken on each side. Put in a baking dish of some variety and put into the oven to finish, about 20 minutes, until juices run clear, or the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees or higher (my preferred method).
While the chicken is cooking in the oven, prepare the peach topping. In a saucepan, combine all ingredients (peaches, wine, sugar, cinnamon and salt). Cook over medium heat until sauce reduces and thickens a bit.
Serve sauce over chicken breasts for a very enjoyable meal.
In this case - I served it with steamed fresh green and wax beans (from Heron Pond Farm) tossed with a little butter and stone-ground mustard.