Thursday, October 20, 2011

C is for: Chicken Breasts, Stuffed with Pecans & Goat Cheese

Chicken stuffed with a mixture of goat cheese, pecans, thyme, & lemon zest
As you may have noticed, I'm sort of on a roll with "C" week. Most weeks, I won't have as much time or options to post on each letter (I'm already dreading "X"), so I may as well capitalize while I can.

Another suggestion I received this week was from my sister, Heather. (Or, as I usually say, "Siiiiister.") She asked that I do a chicken dish. What you should know about Heather is she eats a LOT of chicken. She does not like red meat at all. She was once dared to eat a whole steak for $100 (or maybe it was more?) and she didn't even consider it.

I actually eat a lot of chicken myself. It's easy to prepare, it's healthy, and there are a lot of different things you can do with it. You can bread it, grill it, stuff it, saute it on the stove with a savory sauce, use it in a salad or stir fry, or roast it in the oven. On this particular night, I decided to use only ingredients I had in my fridge or pantry, so this is what I came up with.







If you're making 4 chicken breasts, you'll need about 3-4 ounces of goat cheese. I'm a fan of these goat cheese medallions from Trader Joe's because if you only need a little for a salad or a recipe, you can just use one at a time without fear of the leftovers going bad.


Mash the goat cheese with the zest of a lemon, leaves from 2 thyme sprigs, some toasted chopped pecans, and a little salt and pepper.
 

Trim the fat and tenders from each breast. (You can collect scraps in a freezer bag and make chicken stock when you have enough, or use tenders for another recipe). Using a small knife, cut "pockets" in the chicken breasts. You'll want to leave the opening as small as possible, but gently make the pocket run the length of the chicken breast without cutting any holes.


Carefully stuff the chicken breasts with 1/4 of the goat cheese mixture, gently flatten them, and seal the pocket. (You can use an oiled toothpick if necessary, but I didn't need any).


Place the chicken breasts in a shallow dish and pour olive oil and the lemon juice (from the same lemon you used for the zest) over the top and season with salt and pepper. Marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.


I decided to grill the chicken because it's been so nice in San Francisco this week. Alternatively, you could also brown them in a skillet, and finish cooking them in the oven. However, I loved the way they turned out on the grill. Grill approximately 4-6 minutes per side. Use your finger to check for doneness. They should feel firm to the touch. (Tip: If you want the crosshatch grill marks, lay chicken on a 45 degree diagonal to grill slats and rotate 90 degrees halfway through cooking on each side.)


Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Pecans and Goat Cheese
(Serves 4)
[printable recipe]

Ingredients:
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1 lemon (zest and juice, separated)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Instructions:
  1. Trim fat from chicken breasts and remove tenders (reserve for future use). Then, using a small knife, cut "pockets" in the chicken breasts. Leave the opening as small as possible, but gently make the pocket run the length of the chicken breast without cutting any holes.
  2. Mash together the goat cheese, lemon zest, thyme leaves, and pecans in a small bowl. Carefully stuff the chicken breasts with 1/4 of the goat cheese mixture, gently flatten them, and seal the pocket. (You can use an oiled toothpick if necessary.)
  3. Place the chicken breasts in a shallow dish and pour olive oil and the lemon juice (from the same lemon you used for the zest) over the top and season with salt and pepper. Marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Pre-heat grill to high, and lightly oil grill grates by using tongs to carefully rub a paper towel with olive oil on it over the grates. Place chicken diagonally at a 45 degree angle on the grill grates, all facing the same direction. Grill approximately 4-6 minutes per side, rotating 90 degrees halfway through cooking on each side. Use your finger to check for doneness. They should feel firm to the touch.
  5. Transfer chicken to a platter, and remove toothpicks if you used them. For a prettier presentation, cut the breasts crosswise into thin slices, using a very sharp carving knife.


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6 comments:

  1. Hey Jaymee lots of good tasty stuff here, but any chance I might see something like "C is for Comfort Food"? I'm not a big fan of Goat Cheese, Chutney, Cashews...just asking.

    ReplyDelete
  2. iJay- That's a GREAT suggestion, as I also adore comfort food. I'm kind of running out of time on "C" week, but I promise to add in some comfort food recipes as I go along. Any suggestions? (I LOVE Mac n Cheese...so maybe that at some point?)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Jaymee,

    The link to the printable recipe is not working. Would love to print this one to try soon!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks Regina for letting me know. I fixed it and it should be working now. Let me know how it turns out!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks Jaymee! Yes definitely, Mac n Cheese. Also mashed potatoes, chili or fried chicken. rrrrrRRRRRrrrrr (that's my stomach) Now I'm hungry, thanks again. Keep it up you're doin' great.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Man, I think I would love to get an invite to dinner at your house! Looks amazing!!!!

    ReplyDelete

I would LOVE to hear what you think. I read every comment and get a little giddy when I see someone has left one on the blog. Thanks for stopping by!

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