Stuffed Chicken Adventures: Mushroom-Stuffed Chicken Paprikash

Mushroom-stuffed chicken breast paprikash, sliced in half and drizzled with sauce on a colorful plate.
Chicken breasts, stuffed with lemony mushrooms, are seared and then simmered in a bold, creamy paprika sauce. Jennifer Olvera

A few years back, I went on a canning rampage. I blame it, in part, on Eugenia Bone's excellent recipe for mushroom duxelles in her book Well-Preserved. And duxelles, a mixture of sautéed minced mushrooms, was also the catalyst for this Hungarian-inspired dish of mushroom-stuffed chicken breasts in a rich, creamy paprika sauce.

Admittedly, the duxelles take time to prepare, but it's well worth the effort. Unlike Bone's original recipe, I've used port in place of marsala; swapped white onion for shallots; and added lemon zest and juice for acidity.

Stuffing chicken breasts is not tricky, but you do need to take a few precautions so the filling doesn't ooze out. The most effective involves butterflying the meat by cutting it nearly—but not all the way—in half, so that it opens like a book.

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Then I pound it between two pieces of plastic wrap to 1/4-inch thickness and trim the edges to create an even rectangle. Next, I spoon and spread 2 tablespoons of the filling on top, leaving an uncovered perimeter on all sides.

Finally, I roll it lengthwise (toward the seam of the 'book') and secure the meat at 3/4-inch intervals using kitchen twine, starting 1/4 inch from the edge. Toothpicks just don't keep the filling in place, so avoid the temptation to use them instead.

The rolled breasts get a quick sear in a Dutch oven. Then, I finish cooking them on the stove in a creamy paprika and caraway-inflected sauce that's made in the same pan.

As a side note, you may end up with some extra duxelles. I kind of did that on purpose because the stuff is so, so good. You can serve any extra on crostini, or try your hand at classic beef Wellington.