Tuesday, April 3, 2012

With Chef Amy Magee

Chef Amy Magee is no ordinary personal chef! This CIA (Culinary Institute of America) graduate has worked her way into hearts—and stomachs—of many a client in Westchester and NYC via cocktail parties and full-size soirées, in addition to smaller, more familial gigs.

 With Chef Amy Magee in My kitchen!
Chef Amy, like many chefs, loves to cook. But what makes this chef especially interesting is her constant desire to learn and explore on behalf of her customers. Let’s say, for example, a client says, “I’m thinking about serving my 25 guests something from Mumbai, India.” This kind of request is the kind this chef loves: she gets to investigate, and put together a menu featuring spices, ingredients, and dishes that are not usually part of her repertoire. Chef Amy says she’s always inspired by her clients—and loves the journey of discovering new dishes. 

Whether she’s dropping off a meal for 12 to her customers, or cooking onsite for a party of 20 (and many more!), Chef Amy dedicates herself to her work wholeheartedly. The results? Always so delicious. How do I know this? Well, in addition to having the privilege of working with her from time to time, I have the EXTRA treat of being related to her thanks to my husband, Seth (I have been her sister-in-law for almost 24 years! Wow!). And do I need to tell you that every family should have at least one professional chef? (She’s great. Thank you, Amy!)

Oh—how can you reach Chef Amy? Write to her at  amysfood@frontiernet.net , and do mention that you read about her here. Enjoy!

Chef Amy’s Apricot-Cranberry-Walnut Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This is a recipe for Amy’s apricot-cranberry-walnut stuffed chicken breasts. She serves it every year at a mock Seder for a private school in New York City. The head of the school is a lovely man who though not Jewish, decided to host a Seder for the non-Jewish members of the faculty and their families so they could experience the food, as well as the religious service. (There is also a Seder service with a rabbi and full meal for anyone who chooses to come.) This chicken breast recipe is such a success they request it every year! She’ll be making it today with potato pancakes, and fresh-roasted asparagus.

Serves 6
6 boneless chicken breasts, skin on
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 leek (white part only) cleaned and diced
1/2 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup prunes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup raspberry jam
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat the oven to 400°F. 

Heat the olive oil in a medium-size sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes or until softened. Set aside and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, combine the apricots, prunes, raisins, dried cranberries and walnuts in a food processor. Add the leeks. Process until finely chopped; it will be paste-like (and the rich color of prunes).

Make the glaze: In a medium-size saucepan over medium heat, combine the jam and balsamic vinegar and heat through, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Set aside. 

Scoop the fruit and nut mixture into the pockets of the chicken breasts, and place them on a baking sheet, skin side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Use a brush to apply a layer of the glaze to the top of the chicken breasts (save additional for drizzling over cooked pieces).

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Baste once during the cooking time. Allow to rest about five minutes, cut in half width-wise (as below), plate with seasonal garnish (like these pretty flowers), and serve! 

Chef Amy's Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Split, Garnished, and Ready to Serve!

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