Chicken Breast Wrapped Fennel Cakes

Alternatively named- How to serve one whole chicken breast to 8 people and get away with it. Although our meals are often meat free, my husband and I do like animal products, and we do enjoy eating it. Our only aversion to meat is its rather steep price, which is why I love recipes like this. By making a meal with this type of chicken, I'm able to make a low cost meat stretch even further, enough to feed as many as 8 adults, and if some of the people being served are kids, I make 10 easily. Because of its shape, each serving looks like much more than just the eighth or tenth of the chicken breast that it is. Protein isn't either lacking in this recipe, as the stuffing almost always contains some form of cheaper protein. At the price of 2.5 dollars per pound that I currently pay for chicken breast, I end up paying a dollar for a whole chicken breast, which when stretched to serve 8, costs me 12 cents per serving of meat, or 10 cents per serving when including children. Quite a low cost dish, no?

Chicken Breast Wrapped Fennel Cakes

1 whole chicken breast
1-3 eggs
1 lb fennel fronds or wild fennel
Homemade bread crumbs, preferably whole wheat
Ground seitan (optional)
Garlic powder
Sugar (optional)

1. Using a sharp knife and flat cutting surface, cut the chicken breast into thin, long pieces, the thinner the better. Width of each piece isn't important- what is important is that it each piece is long enough to wrap around a fennel cake. I usually am able to get 4 large pieces and one small piece per side of the chicken breast. This may take you a few tries to get it right. If you make mistakes, try cutting chicken breasts into three, and when you get that right, try 4 or 5. If the pieces are too small, you can just make mini ones and serve two.

2. Clean your fennel fronds very well and then blanch in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Strain out the water (save it though- its fennel tea!) and chop up the fennel fronds into small pieces. I find kitchen scissors most helpful for this.

3. Mix the fennel fronds with bread crumbs, eggs, salt, and pepper. Add ground seitan if you'd like to increase the protein of the dish. (Note that eggs and bread crumbs also contain protein.) Add enough of each item until it holds together uniformly. If its falling apart, you may need more bread crumbs or more eggs. This mixture really resembles ground meat, making you feel like you're eating even more meat than you are.

4. Make fist sized balls of the filling mixture and wrap chicken breasts around each one. Place them on a baking sheet, "seam side" down.

Before cooking
5. If you'd like, sprinkle the fennel cakes with salt, garlic, and a pinch of sugar.

6. Bake in the ovcn on 350 until the chicken breasts change color. This can take as little as 10 minutes, so watch it carefully.

The finished food!
7. Enjoy!

Inside view of a chicken wrapped fennel cake
Variations- if you don't have access to cheap sources of fennel fronds like I do, consider replacing the fennel with any cooked and pureed or grated vegetable, from carrots to zucchini to broccoli to cauliflower, etc.

What's the most servings you could get out of one chicken breast? Would you feel comfortable serving such a dish for supper or would you feel like you were making people "skimp" too much?

Linking to Food on Friday and Frugal Friday and Hearth and Soul blog hop.

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

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