Not Your Average Chicken Dinner

As cooler weather returns to New England, our craving for “comfort food” kicks in. After a summer spent grilling everything we could, it’s time to dig out our trusty cast iron pans and baking dishes (hello, old friends!) and get reunited with our oven. First up, stuffed chicken breasts!

If the thought of stuffing a chicken breast sounds too laborious, we’ve got some tips to help you succeed. There are a few different techniques and some work better for different fillings. Our most commonly used method is to butterfly a chicken breast and fold over stuffing which we demonstrate below. Other techniques include…

  • Making a pocket by making a horizontal incision in the thickest part of the chicken breast, about 1-2″ wide, and stuffing the fillings into the breast. Secure with a toothpick.
  • Butterflying a chicken breast and pounding to about 1/4″ thickness, being careful not to make holes in the breast. Placing the chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap helps prevent this. Place stuffing down the center of each piece of chicken then carefully roll up each breast, beginning with the wide end. Use a toothpick to hold the breast in place.
  • Hasselback chicken, a popular spin on hasselback potatoes! Place trimmed, boneless skinless chicken breast on a clean work surface. Using a sharp knife, cut slits across the chicken breast, about ¾ of the way through and about ½-¾ inch apart, approximately 6-8 slits per breast. Put stuffing in each slit and bake on a baking sheet.

This Apple Cranberry Stuffed Chicken that had us fighting over the the last bites in the pan in our test kitchen. Because you can’t go wrong with apples, Gouda cheese and New England Cranberry Relish, right?

stuffedchicken1

To start, you’ll need regular boneless skinless breasts. We prefer using these over the “thin cut” cutlet versions you can purchase which are so thin they can be impossible to stuff with more than a tablespoon or two of filling.

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Lay the chicken flat on your cutting board and hold your knife horizontally, slowly slicing the breast in half (butterfly), until about ¼ inch remains on the other side.

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Open the chicken breast like a book and use a meat tenderizer to flatten slightly to ¼-inch thickness – you can wrap in plastic wrap or use a large freezer bag to keep your work station neat.

stuffedchicken4

Once your chicken is ready, the fun begins! One of our favorite parts about stuffed chicken breasts is that they are easily customized to whatever you’re craving! For this particular recipe, we love the tart apple that stays just a little bit crisp paired with melty, buttery Gouda cheese and coated in a delicious cranberry pan sauce. Best of all, it’s easy enough to make on a weeknight, but still a great dish to serve for company. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Apple Cranberry Stuffed Chicken Breast

applecranberrystuffedchickenrecipe_g

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast (preferably four small breasts)
  • 4 ounces Gouda cheese, sliced ¼-inch thick
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

For the sauce –

  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons shallot, minced
  • ½ cup red wine (such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Pinot Noir)
  • 1 cup Stonewall Kitchen New England Cranberry Relish
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced (plus more on the stem to garnish plates)
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Butterfly each chicken breast by cutting the breasts almost in half (stopping ¼-inch from the other side) horizontally. Open breast like a book and pound to a little more than ¼-inch thick, taking care to not make holes in the meat.
  3. Layer sliced cheese and apples down one side of the breast. Fold breast closed again. Secure sides by threading several toothpicks through chicken so the apple and cheese stay in while cooking. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Heat oil in an ovenproof sauté pan over medium heat. Add the stuffed chicken breasts and cook several minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove breast and tent with foil.
  5. For the sauce, heat butter in the same pan you cooked the chicken in over medium-low heat. Add garlic and shallots and cook several minutes until tender. Make sure they do not brown.
  6. Deglaze pan by adding the red wine and stirring to remove the fond (brown bits) on the bottom of the pan. Add the New England Cranberry Relish, thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Return chicken to the pan. Place pan in oven and bake until the chicken is cooked through and has an internal temperature of 160°F.
  8. Serve chicken with sauce.

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