Monday, August 26, 2013

Chicken, blueberry and brie grilled sandwich

Raise your hand if you miss picking out a first day of school outfit.

Me, me, meeeee.

Around here, it's back to school for most students.  That means more than the onset of college football season (hooray!) and longer lines during lunchtime at Panera (I'm looking at you, hungry Pitt students).  It also means Matt resumes his long work days.

Since he teaches during the day and coaches in the evening, it's often after 8 o'clock when he walks in the door.  Despite packing snacks for him to eat on his way from school to the pool, he's usually famished by the time he gets home.

Those nights are when one dish meals like soups and casseroles really come in handy.  I make 'em and eat around 6, then cover and refrigerate the whole thing until later.  When I hear from Matt on his way home from practice, I'll plate up his dinner and reheat it just in time to have it on the table when he returns.

I know he totally appreciates having dinner ready and waiting and, if it's hot, that's merely a bonus.  The guy will eat almost any food cold because reheating simply takes too much time.  You think that's weird, too, right?

Anyway, sometimes he gets home even later than usual and isn't in the mood for a heavy dinner an hour (!) or so before bedtime.  He'll swear up and down that a PB & J sandwich will do just fine, but I know something with a little more panache and staying power is really what he wants.

Though it's technically a sandwich, this chicken, blueberry and brie grilled cheese is anything but ordinary!

Thinly-sliced cooked chicken breast  layered with balsamic blueberry sauce and creamy melted brie between two slices of buttered bread, toasted to perfection.  This is a grilled cheese with the volume turned waaaaaay up, folks!

The blueberry sauce is so thick and luscious like a homemade jam.  I could eat this stuff by the spoonful!  It's sweet and a bit tart, perfect with the salt and pepper chicken.  It's a perfect round two recipe after first making the sauce to serve over salmon or chicken, like I did.  Waste not, want not!

And the double cream (oh yeah) brie?  Oh my word.  It melts like a dream, melding with the blueberry sauce for a sandwich unlike any other.  Fancy pants grilled cheese!

This is absolutely my new favorite sandwich and, bonus, the ingredients can be made ahead and kept in the fridge for anytime assembly.  Pair this with a steaming bowl of soup, maybe tomato or chicken noodle, for a hearty meal for a relaxing night at home.

A sandwich is like a culinary hug, and I can't get enough of 'em.  Nothing says "welcome home" after a long day quite like comfort food!

Even if it's eaten while sitting on the couch in front of the TV.  At least it's hot :)

Two years ago: Bacon-wrapped potato wedges
Three years ago: Tequila lime chicken

Chicken, Blueberry, and Brie Grilled Cheese Sandwich
-makes 2 sandwiches

A few notes: Much of this sandwich can be made in advance.  Cook, cool, and slice the chicken, prepare the blueberry sauce, and slice the cheese.  Cover and store in the fridge until ready to use.

1 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast
Butter, room temperature
4 slices bread, your choice
1/2 cup blueberry balsamic sauce
3 ounces brie, cut into 1/4-inch slices

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Season chicken breast with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast on foil-lined baking sheet for 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked through.  Transfer chicken to cutting board to cool slightly before cutting into thin, 1/4-inch slices.

Preheat nonstick skillet or panini press to high. Butter one side of each slice of bread.  On unbuttered side of one slice of bread, arrange half of sliced chicken, top with blueberry sauce and finally sliced brie.  Top with remaining slide of buttered bread and press to adhere.  Repeat with remaining ingredients for second sandwich.

Place sandwiches on panini press (or Griddler) and close, cooking 4 to 5 minutes, until cheese has melted and bread is toasted and brown.  (If using a nonstick skillet, use medium heat.  Place sandwich in pan, top with a piece of foil, and weigh it down with a large can or simply press with spatula.  Cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side.)  Remove sandwich to rest on cutting board for 2 to 3 minutes before slicing.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

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