I came upon the recipe that inspired this in my latest “Cooking Light” magazine issue. Indeed it may not be quite the “lightest” dinner ever. Chicken – good, herbs – good, goat cheese – eh…But you know what? Goat cheese is certainly better than stuffing it with cheddar or fontina (which I have done and loved), so if you want a stuffed chicken breast, this probably is still on the “light” side. And hey, speaking of “light side”, I did have a light side dish. What’s healthier than steamed asparagus?
I started this dish by digging out my seldom used and under appreciated Cuisinart mini-prep. It has become the ugly step-child of the kitchen ever since its big brother entered the picture. Nonetheless, it works extremely well for small applications like this. Here, I have combined a few fresh basil leaves, some thyme, black pepper, and about 2 oz plain goat cheese.
Blitz it up with a tiny bit of olive oil to make it slightly more pliable.
Then move on to prepping the chicken. I used boneless skinless chicken breasts which I then butterflied and pounded out.
A small cast-iron skillet is the perfect meat-pounder if you don’t own a “real” meat pounder. Its flat, heavy, and has a large surface area. Just don’t forget the plastic wrap!
Once the chicken is evenly flattened, spread the goat cheese mixture on in an even, thin layer. Cover only 1/2 or 1/3 of the chicken so that you can fold it over to cover the cheese.
Try to make sure that not too much cheese is going to melt out, although so melting is inevitable. Luckily, the cheese doesn’t burn if it melts out, just gets oozy.
And after all that fussiness, I needed a super simple side-dish! Have I ever mentioned how much I love my Farberware Steamer Pot? I do, I love it.
And that’s all folks. It turned out to be too much food, the chicken was very filling!
Prep Ranking: #2 – Weeknight Fare
Tastiness Grade: 6/10 – the flavor was delicious, however, the chicken was a bit tough by the time it was cooked.
Simple recipe after the break.
Herb Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts* (enough for 2-4, depending on appetite!)
2 large or 4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 oz plain goat cheese
5-6 large basil leaves (or several smaller ones)
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1-2 tsp olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil for sauteing (about 1 Tbsp)
In a small food processor, combine the basil, thyme*, goat cheese and 1-2 tsp olive oil. Blend into a smooth paste-like mixture. Set aside. (Alternatively, if you don’t have a food processor, chop the herbs finely, then just stir them into the cheese and olive oil until it is smooth.)
To prepare the chicken breasts, trim them to remove any excess fat. Butterfly them – cut parallel to the cutting board, but do not cut into 2 pieces. Once they are butterflied, cover with a sheet of plastic-wrap. Pound until they are ~1/2 thick and evenly thick all the way through.
Spread the herb and goat cheese mixture over one half or one third of the chicken breast, in a way so you can fold over the other half to enclose the cheese.
Put the folded chicken breasts into a non-stick saute pan with olive oil pre-heated over medium heat. Cook until browned on each side and cooked through. You may want to use a lid to cover the pan to heat the chicken through before the outside burns.
*Whatever herbs you like can be added or substituted. Fresh oregano, rosemary, parsely, or even cilantro would be great as well.