Stuffed chicken always makes an elegant dish, and if you have never made it before you will be delighted when you find out just how simple it is to make stuffed chicken. For this recipe you will need chicken breast halves, along with the ingredients needed to prepare the filling. This recipe is Italian in style and boasts spinach, pine nuts, mozzarella, and basil. To fill the chicken, you will need to cut a pocket into the side, then push it in using your fingers or a spoon. Toothpicks are perfect for holding them closed but a word of advice here – make sure you soak the toothpicks in water for half an hour first, else they might ignite on the barbeque! Use a pair of toothpicks in an X-shape for the best result, to hold the breast fillet closed.
To make the filling, you first need to sauté the onion in some oil and then you can add spinach, basil, mozzarella and pine nuts. Stir them in well and you have your filling all ready to go into the chicken. If you do not sauté the onion first, it will be too crunchy in the finished stuffed chicken. Feel free to omit anything you dislike, such as the pine nuts or basil, or add in anything else you want. Some people might choose to use a little pesto sauce instead of basil, while others might add minced garlic or garlic powder, so take your pick from typical Italian ingredients and throw in anything you want. A little tomato concentrate would also work with the other flavors in the filling.
Important Notes about the Spinach
Although you could use fresh spinach and just wilt it a bit before making the stuffing, it is easier to use thawed spinach. Bear in mind thawed frozen spinach has a lot of water in it, and so does wilted spinach, so whichever kind you go for, ensure it is well drained. Watery spinach in the filling will make it too liquid, and then of course it will drip on to the barbeque coals causing a flare-up and, worst case scenario, burnt chicken! To avoid this, drain it through a sieve and use a wooden spoon to press the spinach against the sieve, forcing more water out. You will be surprised just how much comes out. You can thaw frozen spinach overnight in the refrigerator or in the microwave if it is still frozen when you want to make this recipe. To add an extra element to the stuffed chicken, how about wrapping it in prosciutto before barbequing it?
This fantastic stuffed chicken breast goes with any side dishes, such as potato salad or coleslaw if you want something creamy, corn on the cob if you want something warm, or a tossed baby leaf salad for something fresh and nutritious. It is a good idea to let the chicken sit for 5 to 10 minutes when you take it off the barbeque. It will not get cold. If you serve it right away, the filling will be piping hot, even mouth-burning hot, so it is best to avoid that. The next time you plan to barbeque some chicken breasts, why not stuff the chicken first, for a brand new twist on a barbeque classic?
- 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves
- 1 chopped small yellow onion
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 10 oz thawed chopped spinach
- 1 tablespoon pine nuts
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh basil
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- Prepare and heat up the barbeque.
- Heat a tablespoon of oil in a skillet on the stove.
- Sauté the onion for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the spinach, 1 teaspoon of the basil, ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.
- Cook for 3 minutes.
- Take the mixture off the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the mozzarella and pine nuts.
- Combine the rest of the oil with the rest of the basil, salt and black pepper.
- Set this mixture to one side.
- Cut a horizontal pocket into the thickest side of each chicken breast.
- Divide the spinach mixture between the pockets and use toothpicks to close them.
- If you have too much spinach mixture, save it for another use rather that over-stuffing the chicken.
- Use your fingers to spread the reserved oil mixture over the chicken.
- Barbeque for about 10 minutes on each side or until done.
- When fully cooked, an instant-read thermometer will register 165 degrees F.
Serve this spinach-stuffed chicken cut into slices like in the picture, or serve it whole so everyone gets a tasty surprise when they cut into their meat. This recipe is very easy to make and the filling is composed of spinach, mozzarella, basil, and pine nuts, for a typical Italian flavor. This chicken is easy to prepare. Once your filling ingredients have been combined, you can cut a pocket into the chicken and insert the filling. A couple of toothpicks in each one will hold the pocket closed, then you can barbeque them in about 10 minutes per side for a mouthwatering result.
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