This month I am celebrating several things including an Agatha nomination for my short story "So Much in Common", the arrival of my author’s copies of The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder: a Charlotte Adams mystery and a birthday. What better time to make a night of it? A dinner party would be perfect. However, experience tells me that the dinner parties where I am comfortable and relaxed are the most fun for my guests. To make sure this happens, I like easy, reliable dishes that can be prepared ahead and cooked at the last minute. Here’s one of my favorites. It’s been a hit at parties chez Maffini since I discovered it. Of course, like all of you, I like to make a few modifications to suit my creative urges. One of the things that I love about this chicken is the tantalizing aroma as it bakes. The cranberries and thyme combine with the ricotta and the crispy chicken skin to make your guests mouths water while waiting for dinner.
Dinner party chicken with ricotta, dried cranberries and thyme
6 bone-in chicken breasts (with skin)
¾ cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup sweetened dried cranberries
¼ cup dried bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to suit yourself
2 tsp butter and 2 tsp of oil
Combine cheese, cranberries, bread crumbs, egg, time and seasonings in a bowl.
Make a 2 – 3 inch slit on the side of each chicken breast, deep enough to put filling.
Stuff 3 or 4 tablespoons of the filling into each chicken breast.
You can prepare the recipe to this point and refrigerate the chicken until an hour before you plan to serve it.
Preheat the over to 350 degrees.
Bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through. Don’t overbake! It will smell wonderful while cooking. If there's any left over, it will be great - hot or cold - the next day.
I like to serve this chicken with simple Arborio rice and a crisp green salad, but it works with whatever easy party sides I feel like. After all, you want to relax and raise a celebratory glass. Next post, I'll share the dessert (code word chocolate)
What's your favorite party dish? Or easy side dish?
April 5th will launch The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder. In her fifth outing, Charlotte Adams is offering time management tips while solving a crime and righting some old injustices. Charlotte says, "Forget about doing things right. Concentrate on doing the right things." I think I'll cook her something nice!
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