Heart Attack on a Plate


The phrase heart attack on a plate generally refers to a pile of greasy, fried food guaranteed to send your ticker into electrocardiogram malfunction quicker than you can tear off a paper towel to blot the grease from your lips. But I can't help but think of that phrase every time I serve this Stuffed Chicken with Crab Sauce.

One of my last gigs as a caterer was a wedding rehearsal dinner for 75 guests with this entree on the menu. We were scheduled to serve food at 7:30pm and amongst the excitement of catching the overhead canopy on fire with a tiki torch and finding out that some of the equipment in the facility's kitchen didn't work, we also realized at 7:15 there were no guests in the dining room eagerly awaiting our food.

Panic set in..were we in the wrong place? Did we have the wrong date? And after the reassurance that we were in fact where we were supposed to be and when, we found a lonely and forlorn guest wandering around and inquired about the wedding party. It seems that in the middle of practicing his nuptials, the groom-to-be started experiencing the classic signs of a panic attack himself ~ raging heartbeat, dizziness, sweating, shaking ~ so much so that he had to be taken to the hospital. He was eventually able to come to terms with the fact that his bachelorhood days were coming to an end and joined us for dinner a couple of hours later. I often wonder if the bride had the wedding planner stash a defibrillator in the corner during the ceremony the next day.

This rich and saucy dish hails from one of my favorite cookbooks that I picked up in Charleston, SC some years ago called Big Mama's Back In The Kitchen. It's loaded with Cajun-inspired and low country recipes rooted in the Deep South and it's guaranteed to bring about a fluttering of the heart simply because it's so, so good!

Stuffed Chicken Breast with Crab Sauce

6 boneless chicken breasts
1/4 cup butter or margarine (melted)
3 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons Creole seasoning (I used Tony Chachere's)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup cooked ground pork sausage
1 (6oz) box stuffing mix (I used Stove Top)

Crab Sauce:

1 stick butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped onions
3 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
2 bay leaves
1 (6oz) can crab meat

Pound chicken breasts with a wooden mallet to flatten.

Combine melted butter and seasonings. Spoon over chicken breasts. Set aside.

Grind sausage in a food processor for extra fine texture. Prepare stuffing according to package directions. Add sausage. Spoon stuffing along center of breasts. Roll up and secure with toothpicks. Place stuffed breasts (seam side down) in a greased baking dish.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

To prepare crab sauce, melt butter in a small skillet. Saute onion 2 minutes. Stir in flour until blended and cook 3-4 minutes. Add broth. Blend until creamy. Add remaining ingredients.

Simmer 10-15 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Spoon hot sauce over stuffed breasts.

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