Messicani – Mexicans, stuffed with sausage, spiked with Sage, sautéed in butter
No we are not promoting cannibalism. I have attempted to find the origin of this dish used primarily in the hinterland of Milan. While I have found variations, such as “Messicani tuttosole”, I have not found just where this dish was born. Mexicans are a method of preparation instead of a single recipe. They are meat rolls stuffed with a different type of ground meat, bread and seasoning.
There must have been a culinary exchange during the periods of immigration between Milan and Mexico City. In Mexican cooking you will find “Milanese” which means meat, covered in breadcrumbs and fried in butter. No matter the origin the method offers some interesting and very savory dishes. Most often the Messicani will be made with Veal or Pork filets and Pancetta with Mortadella stuffing. Raffaella came up with this dish based on what we had in the refrigerator. The chicken breast can be substituted with Veal filets if you prefer.
This dish will take about 1 hour to prepare however, it is repetitive and most of the time is simmering the meat and allowing the rice to boil. Messicani is a perfect dish to prepare while chatting with friends in the kitchen and enjoying a glass of Prosecco or Pinot Grigio (you will need a good dry white for the Messicani). May I suggest that you flatten and cut to size the chicken breasts before you open the bottle of wine.
4 boneless and skinless Chicken breasts
½ pound (200 gr.) Sausage (Kelbasa, Bratwurst or Beer Bratwurst)
¼ pound (100 gr.) stale bread
½ cup milk
3 tbs grated Parmesan Cheese
Fresh ground Nutmeg
¼ cup (1 dl.) Dry white wine
15 leave of Sage
1 clove garlic
1 cup Chicken Broth
2 tbs. (25 gr.) butter
Fresh ground pepper
For the Rice bed:
½ pound (220 gr.) Arborio white rice
¼ onion diced
½ cup white wine
1 quart chicken broth
Place the stale bread in the milk until the bread softens but does not crumble. Squeeze the bread removing the excess milk.
In a separate bowl, mix the Sausage, Bread-milk, Parmesan Cheese, Nutmeg, and 1 beaten egg. Work the filling together with your hands. The more you work the mixture the more uniform the consistency. Place in the refrigerator until ready for use.
Assembling the Messicani:
Flatten the meat with a meat tenderizer mallet or the bottom of a heavy glass. The motion should be pounding to the center and drawing the mallet toward the edge. Be careful not to tear the meat. The filets should be about ¼ inch thick. It may be helpful to place the meat underneath a piece of plastic wrap. The will let the mallet slide over the top of the meat reducing the risk of tearing.
Cut the filets in 3 x 2 inch squares.
Spread the sausage filling evenly over one side of the filet. Roll the filet into a log and fix on a wooden or metal skewer. Be sure to catch the closing lip of the filet as close to the edge as possible to keep the log closed tightly during cooking.
Place a leaf of sage on the skewer before adding another rolled log. Dip in flour on both sides.
Cooking the Messicani:
In a large skillet, melt the butter with 2 leave of sage over medium heat. Sear the Messicani for about 2 minutes on each side. Pour in the white wine and turn the Messicana every 3 minutes while the wine evaporates.
Once the wine is reduced, add ½ the chicken broth and the clove of garlic. Do not crush the garlic you will remove it later. Turn the heat down to low. The liquid should simmer at a very, very slow boil and cover.
Every 10 minutes turn the Messicani over. After 30 minutes add the remaining chicken broth. Start the rice at this time.
Cook for a total of 50 minutes from when the first broth was added. Before serving remove the Garlic
To cook the rice:
Heat the chicken broth to a slow boil.
Place the diced onions and 2-3 tablespoons of Olive Oil over medium heat. Sauté the onions until translucent in color.
Stir in the rice. Pour the wine and allow the wine to evaporate. Add the broth 1 cup at a time, stirring the rice every 3-4 minutes. Cook for 20 minutes.
Assembly and Presentation:
Spread about ¾ cup of cooked rice as a base on the plate. Place the Messicani on the bed of rice. Drizzle some sauce from the pan over the top of the Messicani and Rice.
Wines to compliment this dish:
Whites: Terre Alte, Arancio Grillo, Ceretto Blange, Greco di Tufo
Reds: Chianti Classico, Barbera, Barbaresco Pora, Taurasi
Tags: Gourmet Foods Chicken Lombardia Milan Italian Recipes Food and Wine Travel Italy