Saint Clare’s Chicken Saltimbocca Meal
yield: 6 servings • prep time: 15-20 min. • cook time: 1 hour • preheat oven: 350 degrees
What you will need
1½ lbs. chicken tenders, pounded to ½-inch thickness (12 tenders)
12 paper–thin slices of prosciutto
4 oz. provolone cheese, sliced into 12 portions
2 tbls. olive oil
1 sweet onion, chopped (around 2 cups)
4 carrots peeled and cut into ½–inch coins (around 1½ cups)
1 large red pepper, chopped into ½–inch rectangles (around 1½ cups)
1 tsp. minced garlic
8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes with basil and garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Optional garnish: fresh, chopped Italian parsley
Method: Pound chicken tenders flat. Take each chicken tender and place enough prosciutto on top of the chicken to almost cover it. Then place a slice of provolone cheese on top. Taking the smaller side of the chicken, roll up the chicken and close with a toothpick. Season with salt and pepper. Repeat until all are rolled.
Place a large skillet over high heat and add olive oil. Put the chicken in the skillet and quickly brown on all sides. Remove the chicken from the skillet and place into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Using the skillet where the chicken was browned, sauté the onions and carrots over med-high heat for five minutes. Lower heat to medium and add the red peppers and garlic for another five minutes. Pour the mixture over the chicken. Sprinkle the mushrooms on top. Finally, pour the tomatoes over everything.
Bake for 30 minutes. Stir the vegetables and juices after 15 minutes of cooking and again before serving.
Plating: To serve, place two chicken rolls on a plate and top with vegetables and juices. Garnish with chopped Italian parsley.
A Look at Saint Clare
Clare of Assisi (1194–1253) might have prepared this dish before she became a nun at San Damiano monastery outside Assisi. The food there was extremely simple.
Clare was a revolutionary in many ways, especially in rejecting the custom that new nuns must bring a dowry (land that could be rented out or cash) in order to provide the monastery’s income. Also, in other monasteries, only the daughters of nobility could become choir nuns, who chanted the office each day. Extern sisters greeted visitors and did any shopping.
Clare was the first woman to write a Rule for religious women, and had a 40-year struggle until Pope Innocent IV confirmed the “Privilege of Poverty” for San Damiano two days before she died.