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(Sunshine with Toad Hollow Goat Milk Caramel and Mary Joy with none other than Ben & Jerry’s!)

As many of you know, I am part of a fabulous group of ladies, who love food, in Saint Augustine. Every month we hold an all out foodie event, that we call, Ladies Supper Club. Each month, on a rotating basis, one of us hosts and picks the theme or main dish for the month, then each of the women is assigned a dish – welcome cocktail, appetizer, soup or salad, veggie side, non-veggie side, dessert and wine. We let our creative juices flow, and come to the dinner with dishes based on our best interpretation of the theme. We have had some really memorable themes, like Blueberries, Cooking with Julia Child, Tamale Fiesta, etc. I really love spending time with these ladies each month and seeing what creations everyone comes up with. We all lead busy lives, and it is nice to have scheduled time to come together each month, and spend time finding out what has been going on in each others’ lives over the last month. I am really going to miss these ladies when we move to Vermont. Ladies Supper Club was a great way for me to meet some wonderful women in Saint Augustine. Who knows, maybe I will start one, in the Great White North.

In January, it was my turn to host. Last January, I hosted a Moroccan inspired meal, which I was happy to learn was memorable for the ladies. We had a great time feasting on spiced foods, and worked off some of the meal later by blasting the music, and having an impromptu bellydancing dance party!

This month, in honor of our upcoming move to Vermont, I decided to make the theme none other than Vermont. I have an awesome cookbook called Dishing Up Vermont 145 Authentic Recipes from Green Mountain State, by Tracey Medeiros. The book contains 145 authentic recipes from the Green Mountain State. Contributors are various restaurant proprietors, chefs, bed & breakfast owners and farmers who are all inspired by the bounty of food available in this beautiful state. This is a cookbook of local and seasonal foods. Something I am very passionate about. So I decided to choose a recipe from this book for Ladies Supper Club.

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(Brie Stuffed Chicken, with a Pear and Cider Sauce – and Apple Pie for dessert!!!)

The dish I choose to prepare was Brie-stuffed Chicken Breasts in Pear and Cider Sauce. This dish is from The Dorset Inn. I was really intrigued by the flavors, and you can never go wrong with Brie, especially in my Supper Club group! I sent my choice for a main dish around to all the girls a few weeks in advance, and looked forward to what everyone would bring to dinner!

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(Old Vermont Cocktail)

When the ladies got to my house, they were all carrying bags of food! For our welcome cocktail we had a maple syrup and bitters cocktail, which was reminiscent of curry (weird, but actually quite tasty). To eat along with the cocktails we had a yummy brie dip, the recipe from a Vermont B & B. The soup was a cheddar ale. We had delicious roasted root veggies and fresh baked rolls to accompany the chicken. For dessert, homemade apple pie with Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream (3 flavors) and Toad Hollow Goat’s Milk Caramel ( This is to die for!).

It was another great evening! Thanks ladies!

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* Also, don’t forget to SPREAD THE LOVE THIS MONTH, purchase a copy of my e-book – The Secret Energy of Love Through Food! All proceeds during the month of February will go to Haiti Relief!

Brie-stuffed Chicken Breasts in Pear and Cider Sauce

INGREDIENTS:

Pear and Cider Sauce:
2 TBS unsalted butter
2 shallot heads, peeled and minced
3 ripe Bosc pears, peeled and cut into small chunks
4 fresh sage leaves
½ cup apple brandy ( I used bourbon, as that is what I had on hand)
3 cups fresh apple cider
salt & pepper

Brie Stuffing:
6 oz. Brie, cut into small pieces ( it says to remove the rind first, but I didn’t)
¼ tsp ground coriander
1 shallot head, peeled and minced
1 tsp minced parsley
salt & pepper

Chicken:
6- 4 oz. Boneless skinless chicken breast halves*
* For vegetarians, you can substitute Quorn patties.
2 TBS oil (I used olive oil)
½ cup all purpose flour
salt & pepper

METHOD:

1) Make the pear and cider sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for about 3 minutes, or until soft and tender, stirring often. Add the pears and sage and toss quickly and briefly.

2) Remove the pan from the heat and add the brandy. Ignite with a burner or match and let the alcohol burn off. When the sauce begins to thicken and reduce, whisk in the cider. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer, whisking frequently. Simmer uncovered for about 30 minutes , or until sauce thickens and reduces, whisking occasionally. Season with salt & pepper.

3) With a slotted spoon transfer the pears to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Transfer pear puree back to the sauce and whisk until well combined and heated through. Discard the sage. Serve immediately, or place sauce in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.

4) Prepare the stuffing: Mix brie, coriander, shallot, parsley, salt & pepper to taste in a medium bowl.

5) Prepare the chicken: Preheat oven to 350F

6) Cut pockets in the chicken breast halves (cut a hole in the middle of the Quorn patties). You can also ask your butcher to do this for you. Starting at the center of the thickest part of the breast, insert a small sharp knife horizontally and cut , stopping about one inch from the opposite side. Do not cut all the way through the bottom. Open the incision with your fingers to create the pocket. Divide stuffing evenly and spoon into each pocket. This can be done a day ahead and refrigerated until ready for use.

7) Heat oil in a medium skillet ( I always recommend cast iron) over medium heat.

*8) Combine flour, and salt & pepper in a medium bowl. Dredge breast halves in the mixture, shaking off the excess and add to the skillet.

9) Brown the chicken in batches for about 4 minutes on each side. Then transfer to a small roasting pan. Roast the chicken in the oven for about 20 minutes, until cooked through. Remove from oven and set aside for 5 minutes before serving. I used a dutch oven, and so had to layer the chicken. I poured a layer of the pear sauce in between the layers.

10) Serve chicken with sauce.

* I skipped this step