Raina and Conor also had tickets to this event, so the four of us were one big happy table. After a few emails back and forth, I was sent a list of "things to bring", and that included specific instructions on plates, utensils, cups, and food. I haven't cooked in a while, so I volunteered to bring the main dish. I searched for something that would be relatively quick and portable. I decided to go with an easy kale salad and chicken stuffed with prosciutto and provolone. The chicken was pretty quick to make, but the prep (i.e. cutting the mushrooms) added up, and I did as much prep as I could the night before.
Mushroom sauce simmering away...
I've never used kitchen twine before...it was kind of fun!
My dish barely finished cooking in time, and I raced out the door and prayed to the taxi gods that there would be one open during shift change. I got lucky!
For this "pop up picnic", all guests were given a group and a group leader/meeting point, ours was at the NYPL. Once everyone was accounted for, the group leader led all guests to a secret location where the picnic took place. The secret location this year was...Bryant Park!
We quickly set up our table:
Raina brought bread and cheese to start. A goat cheese with nuts, some raisin bread, butter, and a baguette.
Raina also brought some appetizers - flat bread pizza and grape leaves.
Onto the main course of kale salad and chicken stuffed with prosciutto and provolone.
We had a fun time mingling with our fellow table mates and dancing wildly after dinner was over. I can't wait until next year! Raina and I decided white feather boas are a MUST next time!
Chicken Stuffed with Prosciuotto and Provolone, recipe from Bon Appetit
- 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts (about 2 pounds)
- 8 slices of prosciutto (thinly sliced)
- 8 slices of provolone (thinly sliced)
- 32 fresh basil leaves
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 4 cups mixed, chopped mushrooms (crimini, chanterelle, and maitake) - I only used crimini because that is all I could find
- 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons mixed chopped herbs (basil, parsley, chives)
- Kitchen twine
For the Chicken
Halve chicken breasts horizontally, keeping 1 long side attached; open halves like a book. Pound breasts until 1/4 inch thick. Season on all sides with salt and pepper.
Place 1 chicken breast on a work surface, cut side up. Overlap 2 slices of prosciutto on top of chicken, leaving a 1/2" border. Top prosciuotto with 2 slices of provolone. Then layer with 8 slices of basil, maintaining the 1/2" border. Roll up chicken lengthwise and tie with kitchen twine. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon butter and oil in a large, heavy, oven proof skillet. Add the chicken breasts (now referred to as roulades) and cook until brown on each sides, about 8-10 minutes each side. Transfer the skillet to the oven for 7-8 minutes (if you have a instant read thermometer, insert this into the middle of each roulade and check and see if the temperature is 165 degrees.). Transfer to plates and let the chicken breasts rest for 10 minutes or so.
For the Mushrooms
Scrape drippings and any melted cheese from skillet, discard (or, you can do what I did and accidentally eat said cheese/drippings). Set the skillet over medium-high heat, and melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add the chopped mushrooms, cook, turning once, until the mushrooms are browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add the vinegar and broth.
Simmer until the liquid is thickened and reduced, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and herbs; season with salt and pepper.
Cut the twine of the chicken. Cut the chicken into 1/2 inch slices. Drizzle the mushroom sauce over.
So, this wasn't the best idea for a picnic because the sauce got a bit messy as I tried to haul it in a taxi up to Bryant Park. If I had a tupperware with a sealable lid, this would have been much more portable. But, it was delicious! I would definitely make this again for a dinner party.