In this special weekly feature, “Today” food editor Phil Lempert brings you recipes “stolen” (with permission) from notable restaurants across America. See how much fun you can have (and money you can save) by cooking these dishes at home.
THIS WEEK: Crispy Stuffed Free Range Chicken Breast with Prosciutto, Gruyere and Garlic Jus from Napa Valley Grille in Los Angeles, Calif.
North of the San Francisco Bay area is the Napa Valley known for it’s beautiful scenery, Mediterranean climate, and wine. One of America’s most pleasant places to live and vacation, Napa County also hosts some restaurants with divine food you won’t want to miss. Napa Valley Grille offers a taste of the Napa Valley in six locations around the country. For those not taking the train to Napa anytime soon, here’s a recipe for Crispy Stuffed Free Range Chicken Breast with Prosciutto, Gruyere and Garlic Jus we’ve “stolen” from Chef Anne Conness at the Napa Valley Grille. For the perfect compliment to this dish, Chef Conness recommends a medium-bodied pinot noir with the chicken dish, or, off the beaten track, a fabulous rose.
About the Chef
Anne Conness was born in Florida but grew up in northern California where she fondly remembers venturing into San Francisco with her father to explore a variety of ethnic cuisines. She attended Georgetown University, where she received a degree in English. While studying in Washington, D.C., however, Conness dined at Jean-Louis at the Watergate, the renowned restaurant of the late chef Jean-Louis Palladin. That revelatory experience immediately triggered a profound interest in cooking and would ultimately prove to be the genesis of her second career as a chef.
Driven by the creative arts, Conness shifted gears and created set backgrounds for television and movies, both in New York and Los Angeles. This led to a stint with the WB Network. Eventually, Conness was drawn back to her passion for food, enrolling in and graduating from the professional chef program at L.A.’s Epicurean School of Culinary Arts.
Conness landed a job at pioneering Chinois on Main immediately after graduation, followed by other L.A. culinary landmarks: Campanile, Saddle Peak Lodge, Alex, and Executive Chef at EM Bistro. At EM Bistro, Conness turned out a contemporary brand of American comfort food that earned accolades from Bon Appétit, Gourmet and the Los Angeles Times. “My cooking philosophy is to try to use the finest ingredients available and keep it simple…I think the food should speak for itself without the chef getting in the way,” says Conness. Conness believes her personal style matches particularly well with Napa Valley Grille, where she is currently committed to cooking a seasonal, wine country cuisine that is consistent with her deeply personal approach to cooking.
Crispy Stuffed Free Range Chicken Breast with Prosciutto, Gruyere and Garlic Jus is served at Napa Valley Grille for $18.75. This recipe is meant to serve four.
Garlic Jus Ingredients
4 garlic cloves, whole1 tablespoon butter1 cup marsala wine2 tablespoon sherry vinegar1 thyme sprig1 bay leaf2 quarts rich chicken stock, reduced to 2 cups
4 large boneless, skin-on chicken breasts1/4 cup canola oilSalt and pepper to taste2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese
Steal This Recipe® step-by-step Instructions
Garlic Jus Instructions
1) To make garlic jus, melt butter in sauté pan and cook garlic cloves until golden brown2) Deglaze pan with marsala wine and sherry vinegar3) Reduce liquid over medium heat by a quarter4) Add herbs and reduced chicken stock5) Simmer on low heat for 30 minutes and strain, discarding solids
The key to this dish is cooking the chicken entirely on the skin side so that it is crispy and the meat remains tender.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit1) Season the chicken with salt and pepper on both sides2) With a knife make a horizontal slit into the chicken breast, making a pocket3) Heat up an oven proof cast iron skillet and add canola oil4) When the oil is very hot, add chicken breasts skin side down for 5 minutes5) Split prosciutto into 4 servings and lay slices out flat6) Divide the cheese and spread onto the prosciutto slices7) Roll the prosciutto and cheese into an appropriate size which will fit into the pockets in thechicken breasts8) Carefully remove chicken from pan and stuff with proscuitto roll9) Place chicken back into pan skin side down and place in oven for another 5 minutes, until chicken is cooked through10) Serve chicken with garlic jus, mashed potatoes and haricot vert
Napa Valley Grille1100 Glendon AvenueLos Angeles, CA 90024310-824-3322www.napavalleygrille.com
Want to nominate your favorite restaurant dish for a "Steal This Recipe" feature? Just e-mail Phil at (or use the mail box below) with the name of the restaurant, city and state, and the dish you would like to have re-created. Want to know more about Phil and food? Visit his Web site at .