“Cooking is at once child's play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.” -Craig Claiborne
It's no secret by now that I love to cook. I especially love fresh, un-fussy food. I love it even more when the fresh, un-fussy food appears to look like it is something really special. That's the case with this recipe for Pan-Roasted Stuffed Chicken Breasts. It's a slight variation on a recipe I used to offer at my now defunct business, Meals Made Easy, quite a few years back. It couldn't be easier, and it is really scrumptious. I use antibiotic free organic chicken whenever I can get it. When I do, I salt the chicken the night before with a generous sprinkle of kosher salt on both sides, then lay it on a cooling rack over a sheet pan and refrigerate it., loosely covered, over-night (24 hours). That ensures the chicken will be moist and delicious. It's a method made popular by the late great chef Judy Rodgers of Zuni Cafe fame years ago. If you buy chicken already containing a salt solution as part of its processing, I would probably skip that step. I use skin on, boneless chicken breast halves. Your butcher should be happy to remove the bones for you, but it really isn't difficult to do at home either. You can see a tutorial here.
Pan-Roasted Stuffed Chicken Breasts-Serves 6
6 Boneless, skin ON chicken breast halves
5 ounce fresh goat cheese log (chevre)
1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil and drained
1/4 cup fresh basil, cut in thin chiffonade
Kosher Salt and Coarse ground Pepper
2-3 large cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a small bowl, place the fresh goat cheese, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, basil and a small pinch of salt and pepper. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until well combined; set aside.
3. On a clean cutting board, slice each breast through the middle, stopping just shy of cutting all the way through so the breast half will open up like a book.
4. Divide the goat cheese mixture evenly on top of the bottom half of all 6 sliced chicken breasts Spread it evenly out across the opening, leaving a border around the edge clear.
5. Fold top flap of chicken over the filling, and gently but firmly press seam together, pushing the skin down over the seam as it will allow. Season the top with salt and pepper (omit salt only in this step if you salted the chicken over-night).
6. In a large oven-proof skillet (I used cast iron) heat butter and oil over medium heat until sizzling but not smoking. Place the chicken skin side down in skillet and cook, 7-10 minutes, until nicely browned. Flip chicken, add in thyme sprigs and garlic and place in hot oven.
7. Roast chicken in oven for another 7-10 minutes or until done (chicken will read 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer. Carefully remove from oven (remember pan will be HOT!). Discard thyme and garlic.Transfer chicken to a cutting board and let rest 5 minutes before slicing.
Doesn't that look scrumptious?!! Now get your bad self in the kitchen and whip this up stat! You won't be sorry.♥