Stuffed Chicken Adventures: Mushroom-Stuffed Chicken Paprikash

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, an addictive 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.

This recipe is actually the first in a week-long series dedicated to gussying up the humble (okay, boring!) boneless chicken breast by stuffing it with interesting fillings and dressing it in delectable sauces. If chicken's for dinner tonight, we can help you make it better.

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.

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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.

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.