Once I established the “hybrid season” rule to justify fall baking, I have been thinking about what other dishes could be considered hybrids. (For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about – I have created a new culinary term: “hybrid season dish” to define something you can make in that awkward time that straddles two seasons. For example, here in New England, the weather is sunny and 75, but the leaves are starting to turn. It seems silly for watermelon and BBQ in September, but on the other hand, 70 degree weather doesn’t really say soups and stews. ) So I have been thinking about those few unique dishes that work with multiple seasons and their flavors. Maple Cheddar Chicken is one of those dishes. While still cooking outdoors on your grill, this dish invokes the flavors of fall (maple, sage & apple) without weighing the dish down like more traditional fall dishes.
I have to admit, I do not cook a lot of chicken. Although it is a great lean protein, I just get bored. This recipe, however, is anything but boring. The chicken breasts are stuffed with a creamy filling of smoked cheddar, maple syrup, and fresh sage which combine into a creamy, smoky, sweet, earthy goodness. Coupled with a quick brush of maple glaze on the grill, these chicken breasts are full of flavor. To round out the meal, apple slaw makes a great side dish (thinly matchstick cut green apples with slivers of red onion, and fresh sage tossed in a light dressing.) You can image how this dish could be great on a hot day, and put you in the mood for football and scarves. Before you retire your grill for the season, give it one last spin, Autumn style.
The only note I will make about this recipe is to head warnings of over-stuffing. (This applies to all cooking and baking, by the way.) No matter how much you love the filling, and think you could never have enough… don’t over fill. When stuffing the chicken breasts, abide by the same rule. Really do stick to the tablespoon the recipe calls for. Anymore than that, the filling will leak out of the chicken and you will loose it all. (I may or may not be speaking from experience here!)
ps- As I was looking for the original recipe on Epicurious.com, I noticed their headline of “Early Autumn Recipes.” Hmmm … May be a little bit easier to say then “Hybrid Season Recipes,” but whatever. Even though I have clearly complicated an already existing term, I am going to tell myself that I have created a culinary gem.