I had continuously gone to the liquor store and passed by Aspen Brewing Company’s Independence Pass Ale. Every time I went, I would look around, think about buying it, and then decide to go with another IPA. Finally, I got some advice from one of the beer gurus. He convinced me that this IPA was worthy of my purchase. I was reluctant, but I did it anyway.
It just so happened to be the 4th of July when I cracked open my first can of the patriotically named Independence Pass Ale (I know its named for the pass to Aspen, but it’s nonetheless patriotic). At first sip, I was hooked. This incredibly hopped creation is piney and full of citrus without being overly bitter. I couldn’t believe I waited so long to try it. In order to repent for my mistakes, I decided it must star in a dish. I love IPAs and basil (and pretty much any herb) and who doesn’t love stuffed chicken? So I made this – Independence Pass Ale marinated chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella, prosciutto, and basil…Independence Chicken for short. I consider this one of the best chicken dishes I have ever eaten, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
2 skin on, bone-in chicken breasts
Independence Pass Ale by Aspen Brewing Company
Handful of Basil
3 oz Prosciutto
¾ cup Mozzarella Ciliegine (small balls of mozzarella)
Ground Ancho Chili Peppers
Fresh Ground Pepper
Salt to taste
Take out your anger and stab some holes in the chicken with a fork. Put the chicken breasts in a deep dish and season with ground ancho chili peppers, garlic powder, fresh ground pepper, and a few leaves of chopped basil.
Now, for the fun stuff: crack open a can of Independence Pass Ale and pour that whole thing over your chicken.
Then, allow it to marinate in the refrigerator for about 4 hours. After the chicken is done basking in the gloriousness that is Independence Pass Ale – remove it from the refrigerator and cut in half lengthwise but don’t completely separate. Basically, make a pocket.
Chop up the prosciutto and slice the mozzarella into smaller pieces.
Stuff the chicken with the prosciutto, mozzarella, and basil – then tie it shut with unwaxed, unflavored dental floss, or twine, whatever is available to you.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grab a pan than can be put in the oven (no plastic!) and heat it up on medium-high heat. Throw a little oil in the pan and then place the chicken in it, skin down, with some weights on top. My high-tech kitchen weights are aluminum cans. My grandma says she wraps bricks in foil. Whatever you use, cook the chicken until you can smell the skin crisping. Don’t bug it, don’t touch it, just let it cook. You don’t want to mess up that delicious caramelization that’s going on.
When you think it’s ready, flip it over and pop it in the oven until the chicken cooks to 155°F. Remove from the oven, cut off the floss/twine, and let it rest for 10 minutes. When the chicken is done takin’ a nap, grab a fork, an Independence Pass Ale, and chow down.