Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Spinach & Artichoke Stuffed Chicken Breast

Thanks to LacyLu for the inspiration for this beautiful, fancy, tasty little dish here. This flavor combination was inspired by a Hot Pocket (well, actually a lean pocket). This is (hopefully) a slightly more fulfilling, non-microwavable version taking slightly more than 90 seconds until piping hot, but hey, Mom says it's nice enough for company (and it's pretty dang good, too).

Spinach & Artichoke Stuffed Chicken Breast

  • 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2/3 cup chopped, marinated artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup frozen, chopped spinach
  • 1 shallot, finely diced
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, divided
  • 5-6 sprigs fresh thyme, divided
  • 6 boneless, plump chicken breasts
  • extra virgin olive oil, for sauteing
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1/2 lemon (I zested the other half in long strips to use as a garnish)
  • a few tablespoons cornstarch
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Mix the cheese, artichoke, spinach, shallot, and some salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Finely dice 1 sprig of the rosemary and 2 - 3 sprigs of the thyme, and add to the mixture.

Cut a deep slice into the sides of the chicken breast, forming a pocket inside (being ever so careful as to not cut through them completely). Evenly distribute the filling into 6 portions, and stuff the chicken breasts, closing off the edges with toothpicks, as needed.

Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a deep-sided frying pan over medium-high, and sear the chicken breasts a few at a time on both sides (about 3-5 minutes a side). Transfer the chicken to a 9 by 13 inch pan (retaining the juices in the frying pan), and roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until juice run clear.

Add the chicken broth, lemon juice,lemon zest, and remaining herbs to the pan with the chicken drippings. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer to reduce as the chicken roasts.

When the chicken is finished, pour any juices from the baking pan into the gravy. Thicken the gravy with a few tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in cold water, then added to the gravy. Stir until thickened. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve the chicken breasts with the gravy, and garnish with additional herbs and lemon zest.

You can serve it with roasted asparagus and some roasted red potatoes.

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