Sunday, April 6, 2008

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Cheese, Tomato, and Basil

I TiVo several cooking shows off the FoodNetwork and also PBS. Martha Stewart's 'Everyday Food' is one of my favorites. After I watched an episode this weekend, I knew I had to make this stuffed chicken recipe soon and what better time than the present! So I whipped it up (real quick as usual) and even got the approval of my non-chicken-breast-eatin' BF!!!!! He loved it!!! It was sooo moist and flavorful! I really believe that the skin of the chicken holds in all the moisture so that the breast doesn't dry out. This is definitely the new way that I'll be cooking 'stuffed' chicken! YUM-O!

I also made one of Giada's vegetable recipes, Asparagus, Artichoke, and Mushroom Saute with Tarragon Vinaigrette. This simple yet super flavorful side dish was the perfect accompaniment to the stuffed chicken.

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Cheese, Tomato, and Basil
Adapted from Everyday Food

4 bone-in chicken breast halves (14 ounces each)
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves, about 8
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2oz Fontina or mozzarella cheese, cut into four pieces
2 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil; set aside. With a paring knife, cut a 1-inch-long slit in thick side of each breast. Insert knife, and without enlarging opening, carefully work around inside to form a pocket (make sure you do not go through the other side).

On a cutting board, pile basil, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, zest, 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper; finely chop. Divide mixture evenly, and spoon into breast pockets, spreading it around. Insert one piece of cheese in each breast pocket.

Close pockets, using 2 to 3 toothpicks per breast; arrange, skin side up, on baking sheet. Rub with olive oil, and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast until well browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in thickest part of breast (avoiding bone) reads 165 degrees, 30 to 35 minutes. Let chicken rest 5 minutes; remove toothpicks before serving.

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