Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Apple & Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts


I have a confession to make. It has to do with "stuffing". I'm specifically talking the kind of stuffing that we cram inside our Thanksgiving turkey.  I've been told that I make delicious stuffing, but I wouldn't know.  You see, I'm one of those Un-Americans who doesn't like stuffing.

There. I said it.  I don't get what's so good about goopy, soggy bread, a bunch of onions and vegetables-- maybe oysters, or nuts... slathered with gravy.  Every year, I take a bite and I'm still not impressed.  But, I'm in the minority-- I know.  My men devour stuffing with great relish. More for them!

Pass me the mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, and I'm happy. I'm sorry. I just can't get excited about stuffing!

 
Until, a couple weeks ago-- I saw a recipe for "Apple Stuffed Chicken Breasts", on Mel's Kitchen.  I looked at the bowl of apples  that I keep stocked for lunches, and  realized that apples would make a good pairing with chicken.  I had  chicken breasts, waiting to become dinner. Then it hit me-- I have lots of fresh French tarragon in our herb garden, and I decided this would compliment the chicken (parsley or sage would work, too).  The next thing I knew, I grabbed some shallots, for extra flavor and I preheated the oven to 425F.

I admit that any kind of measuring, flew out the window.  I eyeballed about 1 cup of grated Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese.

One peeled and sliced apple went into the bowl, and about one cup of breadcrumbs, and a little garlic salt.

 
After cutting a slit into the boneless chicken breast, I began to cram the stuffing in.

Then I pondered, how to keep all this stuffing from falling out...

..and I grabbed the kitchen twine and problem solved!

I much prefer to sear and roast my meats, whenever possible.  This method has proved succesful for me, in that my meats remain moist. After seasoning each breast with coarse salt & pepper,  I seared each chicken breast in a bit of olive oil, in an oven-proof skillet.

Then, I flipped them over and put them into a preheated 425F oven, for about 25 minutes (or until the chicken is at 160F).

I removed the chicken breasts, set them on a plate and loosely covered them with foil.

The pan sauce I made, turned out to be one of my best ones yet!  I started by deglazing the pan with some apple cider, then I added a splash of white wine.  This is Boiled Cider, and I buy it from King Arthur Flour.  The boiled cider really brings out the flavor in apple pie, and I'm finding it works great in so many recipes. I added a "splash" (about 2 Tablespoons), and about 1 cup of chicken stock.  Then, I let it reduce to about half-- about 7-8 minutes, on medium-high heat.

The aroma of this dinner cooking brought my husband out of his office, and anxiously waiting for dinner.  

The pan sauce was truly one of my best-- the sweetness of the apple cider, and a splash of acidity from the white wine-- perfection!

TASTING NOTES:  This is a stuffing I learned to love, at first bite.  Melted cheese and apples is a terrific combination.  The shallots and the mild anise flavor, of the tarragon, added a lovely savory element to the sauce.  My husband loved this dinner, and I have to say that I did, too.   The next time I make this, I think I'll butterfly the chicken so I can add a lot more stuffing, then roll it, and tie it with kitchen twine.   These could easily be prepared in advance, and then cooked when company arrives.    This recipe is a keeper. I promise you.

Who says that chicken gets boring?  Not this way!  I pretty much changed around the original recipe, but I still thank Mel's Kitchen for inspiring me to stuff chicken with apples and cheese--brilliant!

A printable recipe card is at the end of this post. If you can't view it, click here
 







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18 comments:

Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

Looks delicious!!! Chicken and apples - perfect combo!

Susan said...

You have discovered a perfect combo of ingredients. Lovely.

Deb said...

What scrumptious chicken! I'm always searching for new ways to prepare chicken and this is a most delightful recipe.
Elegant enough for a festive weekend dinner, just stellar.

Kate said...

You have been working hard, Girl! What a delicious meal. I must admit that I love, adore, crave stuffing!! I do think your cheese and apple mixture would be perfect with chicken and will be giving this a try.

Joanne said...

I'm totally with you on this one...stuffing and I are SO not BFF's. But THIS...I could love. i'm definitely craving the apple/cheddar combo now!

Liz said...

I can't wait to make this - it looks delicious! But the recipe doesn't list the apple in the ingredients?

Liz said...

I can't wait to make this - it looks delicious! But the recipe doesn't list the apple in the ingredients?

Lynn said...

This sounds delicious and I will be trying it very soon.

Karen said...

This sounds really good, Debby... I think the idea of doing a 'roll-up' is great. I'm going to look into the boiled cider :)

Angie's Recipes said...

wow The chicken looks so very tender and juicy. Scrumptious!

Ally said...

I've done this with chicken, cheese and prosciutto but never apples...that sounds divine. Must try it soon!

Brenda Z. said...

Wow Debby, this looks soooo delicious! Fantastic photos! I LOVE stuffing, and I love fruit in stuffing...will definitely be trying this soon :)

Julia said...

This looks amazing! I love the apple/cheddar combo!!!!

Big Dude said...

I don't get what's so good about goopy, soggy bread, a bunch of onions and vegetables-- maybe oysters, or nuts... slathered with gravy" yup, that's the way I like it :-). This chicken dish sounds delicious and if it's half as good as your shots of it, it must be awesome.

Olga @ Olga's Flavor Factory said...

Wow! This looks scrumptious. I love sprucing up chicken breast and I love the combination of chicken and apples. I will definitely have to give this a try.

Bill said...

Hi Debby. Wow! This looks fantastic. It's apple season in Georgia and I'm always looking for a great apple recipe. One of my favorite things is apple pie with melted cheese. The combination of apples and cheese in a chicken stuffing sounds amazing. I'll definitely try this one. Thanks for stopping by my blog again and the great comments! Great to "meet" you as well!

tanya1234 said...

yummmmmmmmmmy thankxxxxxxxxx

Starsricha said...

Wow, that sure a delight and yummy-looking recipe and a must-try one! Thanks for sharing. I love stuffed chicken!