Monday, January 12, 2009

Stuffin' chicken...

Just as we explained the whole breading process with those stuffed potato cakes from last week, we used that technique again tonight to prepare these Prosciutto and Gruyère-Stuffed Chicken Breasts.

Before we get to the coating on the chicken, let's talk about how we went about stuffing these. You are looking to form a deep pocket in each chicken breast - this is best done by using a long, thin and sharp knife. What we did was start at the thickest section of the breast meat, slice about a 2 to 3" slit and then slowly guided the knife inside and down to create the pocket needed. You could also just slice the chicken breast almost in half and open it up like a book, but since there isn't a ton of the cheesy filling, I found the pocket method a little better with the filling less likely to ooze out.

To jam into that pocket we created, we tossed together a filling composed of browned prosciutto, brilliant bits of chopped fragrant rosemary, garlic and buttery Gruyère cheese. When you spoon the filling in, be sure to use your fingers on top of the chicken breast to mash that filling around so it evens out and you don't have a giant un-level lump to deal with. Rather than those panko breadcrumbs we used with those potato cakes, this time we processed a mess of saltine crackers in the food processor until they were finely ground. The recipe originally called for using a full sleeve of crackers (about 42), but we ended up with so much waste that I suggest you reduce it to the amount we wrote in our version - I thought I was quite generous with the coating and ended up with at least one-third of it left. Same with the amount of flour - it called for 1/2 cup and you certainly don't need that much for 4 single chicken breasts... so, why contaminate it and have to waste it if you don't have to?

Once coated, we cooked them in a couple tablespoons of canola oil until that cracker coating was deeply golden, crisp and the chicken was fully cooked. This took about 8 to 10 minutes per side, which is quite a long time to do in a skillet... don't be afraid to play with the heat level so the outside doesn't end up burning. If you are uncomfortable dealing with that, you could brown both sides and then slide them into the oven to finish them off. Tender and still quite juicy, I loved how the touch of rosemary concealed in the filling permeated through the meat, giving such a soft, gentle note in each bite. Between the cheese, prosciutto and saltine cracker crumbs, I was a little nervous that the salt might be a little aggressive, but in the end the amount of meat used leveled the playing field and all was well. For a simple side, we quartered a few red potatoes, tossed them with olive oil, chopped herbs (rosemary included!) and roasted them until the wedges were tender and golden. What a way to satisfy our grumbling stomachs tonight!


  1. You two are terrific! I love this chicken!

  2. Just found your blog. I'm a fellow Twin-Citian. I'll be back.

  3. I can't wait to try this recipe! My kitchen has been "boxed up" for 12 days now while we repaint. Let me tell you those 12 days seem more like 12 weeks when you are used to having everything at hand while cooking!!

  4. Bunny - You are too kind!

    Eileen - Hello! Nice to see another blogger from our area!

    CLS - I know what that is like... when we remodeled out kitchen in Maryland it felt like forever before we got back in!