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Brie cheese and chicken seem made for each other. Both are mild in texture and rich with subtle flavor, and each is able to hold its own against other, stronger flavors. Cooks everywhere have discovered there are any number of ways to marry chicken and brie into salads, soups, and main dishes that will please almost any diner, from young children to gourmets.
The first order of business is to buy a round of brie that is sufficiently ripe. Unlike fruit, brie cheese and other soft or semisoft cheeses won’t continue to ripen after purchase. The package should yield slightly when pressed. If the cheese has taken on a dark yellow to brown cast and smells off, it belongs in the trash. Good brie smells sweet, and once it’s brought to room temperature, it oozes delectably but won't appear watery.
Chicken with brie cheese combines well with many other flavors, be they sweet or savory. This means that the chef is really only limited by what’s on hand and the imagination. The wise cook knows that it’s easy to make one or more substitutions in a chicken with brie recipe and that the results might even be more delicious than the original.
One almost effortless way to serve chicken with brie is in salad. A summer salad can combine whatever raw veggies the cook has on hand with diced, cold chicken breast chunks and cubes of brie at room temperature. One great way to dress this salad is with olive oil, lemon, and some roughly chopped fresh herbs, such as basil or thyme.
Another chicken with brie salad that requires a bit more effort, but is well worth it, is a spinach salad using boneless chicken breasts that are grilled, roasted, or baked and to which a slice of brie is added in the last couple of minutes. After the cheese has melted and the chicken cooled, cooks can slice it into bite-sized morsels and add it to a bowl of baby spinach. A simple dressing of olive or safflower oil, a little balsamic or fig vinegar, and a drizzle of honey or other sweetener make this salad shine. Some cooks like to add crumbled bacon as well.
Chicken with brie-stuffed breasts are easier to prepare than the elegant presentation suggests. Diced onion and garlic that have been cooked until they’ve reached a rich, golden hue and caramelized in a splash of white wine make a solid foundation. Adding a square of brie to the caramelized reduction and wrapping each with a flattened boneless chicken breast is the second and final step before baking and serving to the applause of guests.
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