I’ve been on a “sun dried” tomato kick, as I spoke about in my last post; by which I mean drying them in the oven instead of the days long process of leaving them out in the sun. By only slow roasting them for an hour or two, you can intensify the flavors but still keep the tomatoes juicy. They can create a great instant sauce by mixing with pesto and putting them on top of pasta, pizza or in calzones. I was having a friend come over for a nice lunch, so I decided to make a quick and delicious calzone with some baked chicken breast, pesto and tomatoes. Here’s my process:
Chicken Calzones with Sun Dried Tomatoes
makes 3-4 calzones; prep time: 60-90 min; bake time: 20 min
- 1 3/4 c. flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 c. luke warm water
- 1 tsp live active yeast (1/2 package)
- 1/2 tsp honey
- 2 Tbs Olive oil
- 3-4 large plum tomatoes
- 1 large chicken breast
- 1 egg
- 1/2 c. bread crumbs
- Italian seasoning (or dried basil, rosemary, thyme)
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- 1/4 – 1/2 c. pesto of your choice
- Mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Parmesan cheese
Prep dough: Mix flour and salt. Make a well in dry ingredients and pour water. Place yeast in water and let sit for 5-10 minutes until yeast is disolved and looks puffy. Add oil and honey. Either by hand or using a dough hook on a mixer, gently begin to kneed the dough together. Once dough is smooth, cover with a towel and place near or on top of your stove. Let sit for an hour to rise.
Prep Tomatoes to slow roast: Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Cut tomatoes in half or quarters. In a bowl, coat with olive oil, sprinkle generously with dried Italian herbs, salt and pepper. Lay out on a baking tray and roast for about an hour.
Prep breaded chicken breast: Cut chicken in half through the width of the breast, like you would fillet a fish. Cut slices in half, to make four pieces. Mix dried bread crumbs with Italian seasonings, salt and pepper in one bowl. In another bowl, place egg and lightly beat with a fork. When tomatoes are done in oven, turn broiler on. Take each chicken breast and coat in egg and dip in bread crumbs. Place breaded breasts on a baking sheet and place under broiler for about 8-10 minutes for each side until breading is golden and chicken is cooked. Keep an eye on them, so the bread crumbs don’t burn.
Assemble Calzones: Preheat oven to 400. Take your dough and separate into 3 or 4 balls. Roll dough out into circles. Dice your garlic cloves and place in a small dish. Lightly cover with olive oil. Brush garlic oil over middle of dough circles. When chicken is done in broiler, remove and cut into thick slices. Lay slices of chicken over garlic oil. Brush 1-2 Tbs of pesto over chicken. Lay oven dried tomatoes over chicken. Cover well with shredded mozzarella cheese. Using left over egg from Chicken breading process, brush egg yolk around edges of Calzone. Fold close and pinch edges. Brush tops of calzone with egg and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and your choice of seasoning.
Bake Calzones: Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Eat up. Yum!