Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Herb Crusted Stuffed Chicken Recipe



Ingredients:
  • 2 Chicken breast fillets
  • 100 g or 3 1/2 oz fresh Spinach leaves
  • 3 Tablespoons Cream Cheese, room temperature. (I use Low Fat Cream Cheese)
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 50 g or 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
  • 2 - 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Basil or your favorite herb 
  • ** Please note, some herbs are very strong in flavor, such as sage and rosemary, so go easy on those if using!
  • 2 Slices of FROZEN bread
  • 1 egg
  • Salt & Pepper

Steps to Prepare 
1. Firstly, prepare the filling by washing the spinach leaves, then place in a bowl and add boiling hot water for 10 -15 seconds until it wilts. Then drain and add cold water to stop it from further cooking. Drain the cooled spinach leaves in a colander and squeeze out any excess water, then pat dry on some kitchen paper. Chop the spinach and add to a bowl. 


2. Thinly slice the mushrooms and in a hot fry pan, add a drop of olive oil and cook the mushrooms until nice and brown. Add the crushed garlic until soft. Season with salt and pepper, then add the mushrooms to the spinach bowl.
3. Add the cream cheese to the spinach and mushrooms and combine everything. Set aside. 
4. Prepare the crust by adding the frozen bread slices to a processor and pulse until breadcrumbs. I kept my crumbs not too fine as I like the extra texture. I also kept the crusts on but you can remove them if you wish!
5. Transfer the frozen bread crumbs to a separate bowl and add the dried herbs, and season a little with salt and pepper. Set aside.


6. Preheat oven to 180 C or 350F and grease a suitable size bake pan / oven dish.
7. Prepare the chicken by taking a sharp, pointed knife and piercing the chicken fillet at it's fattest end as shown in the photo. Carefully push the knife blade as far as possible into the chicken, but not cutting through to the other end of the fillet. Move the blade from side to side to make the slit wide enough to put the filling in. If you do cut right through, don't worry too much, you just need to make sure the opening is sealed well before it goes in the oven to stop the filling from coming out. 
8. Using a teaspoon, carefully stuff the cavity on the fillets with the cream cheese stuffing until you can't fit anymore in. Repeat for each fillet. If you have any stuffing left over, you can heat this up in a pan with a couple of tablespoons of milk, stir, and you have a nice cream cheese sauce to pour over your pasta (like I did!).
9. In a shallow dish, lightly beat an egg. Coat the stuffed chicken very well in the egg, be careful not to squeeze the filling out! Then coat all over very well with the bread crumb mixture. Make sure especially any openings are covered so the stuffing doesn't come out when cooking (you may need a couple of toothpicks to secure the end if the hole is too big.). Repeat for the remaining chicken fillets. 


10. Using the same pan you used to cook the mushrooms, add a tablespoon of olive oil, and carefully place the coated chicken in the pan to seal and turn golden. Use a medium heat. Turn the fillets over and seal both sides, then transfer to the bake pan and place in the oven for 20 - 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets. Check after 20 minutes if done. 


11. When ready, remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes, then transfer to serving plates. You can serve this with some nice pasta. Do you remember earlier I mentioned if you have any left over filling, well, whilst the chicken is resting, you can heat this up in a pan, adding a couple of tablespoons of milk to loosen the mixture, when it comes to bubble, it's ready to pour over your meal, or you can add some cooked pasta to the pan and combine so you have a nice creamy pasta as your side!

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