Weeknight Surprise

Last week my boyfriend and I decided to make dinner together.  It was a weeknight, so we weren’t putting too much thought into the meal but somehow it turned out to be one of the most delicious dinners we’ve ever made together.  Especially for a weeknight meal, where there is emphasis placed on making a dinner is both quick and efficient, this dinner took ten minutes of preparation time and was packed with tons of flavor.  I knew from the moment we tasted this dish, that I would have to blog about it.

Now, for this weeknight dinner we made chicken, it can’t get much more basic than chicken…or can it?  This main dish only requires 3 ingredients to turn a Plain Jane protein into a winning dish.  Get your pots and pans out because tonight we are making  goat cheese stuffed chicken wrapped in prosciutto.  Let’s get started.

From my experience, stuffing chicken or wrapping chicken with something turns a plain, boring chicken option into a sophisticated and flavorful chicken option.  PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT GENTLEMEN: women will be impressed with your cooking skills if you make this or any dish inspired by the stuffing/wrapping technique.

Like I said before, this dish is easy to make, doesn’t require a lot of preparation time or ingredients.  Stuffing or wrapping meat and vegetables can be a great way to infuse flavors into whatever you’re cooking, just think of bacon-wrapped dates, stuffed turkey at Thanksgiving or feta stuffed olives–all those flavors get happy and marry with one another.  In the case of this chicken dish, the salty, rich flavors of the prosciutto melt into the chicken while cooking making the chicken meat juicy and flavorful.  Then there is an added surprise of creamy goat cheese pouring out when you cut into the chicken.  What my boyfriend and I did was make a side of asparagus, but I think that it would also be delicious if you stuff the chicken with both sautéed asparagus and the goat cheese together.  Finally, this stuffing technique is good for deconstructing classic dishes like chicken/veal parmesan or saltimbocca.

Ingredients:

  • skinless chicken breasts (however many you decide to make)
  • plain or seasoned goat cheese, 1-3 tablespoons per breast depending on the size
  • 2 slices of thinly sliced prosciutto per chicken breast
  • seasoning to taste (salt, pepper, oregano, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, thyme, whatever your heart desires)
  • 1-3 tablespoons of olive oil for cooking


Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 370 degrees F.
  2. butterfly skinless chicken breasts.
  3. Season butterflied breasts with salt, pepper and whatever seasonings you prefer.  I seasoned my chicken with garlic powder, cayenne pepper, dill.  Oregano, thyme and basil would also work well.
  4. Place 1-2 tablespoons of soft goat cheese in the center of each butterflied breast.  Be careful to not overstuff, or the cheese will ooze out while cooking and not stay in the center of the chicken where it is supposed to be.
  5. Fold breasts closed longways so they look as they were before being butterflied.
  6. Wrap each breast horizontally with 1-2 slices of thinly sliced prosciutto so as to seal the slit made from butterflying and stuffing the chicken
  7. Heat skillet on medium to medium-high heat.
  8. Add olive oil and when the oil slightly smokes you know that the skillet is hot.
  9. Place chicken breasts in skillet, about 3 minutes per side.  This step is to get the prosciutto crispy not to cook the chicken thoroughly, so don’t worry about that yet.
  10. Once the chicken has cooked on both sides, place in an oven-safe baking dish like a Pyrex.
  11. Cook chicken in the oven for an additional 20-40 minutes, depending on the size of chicken breasts used.  I used huge chicken breasts, so I had to bake them a bit longer.  If you are unsure if your chicken is done simply use a knife to cut a small slit in the thickest part of the breast, you don’t want to see pink, stringy meat.  You can also use a meat thermometer to check the chicken’s internal temperature.  Be sure not to read the temperature of the cheese stuffing though.  You want your chicken to be at 165 degrees F.   NOTE: since you’ve sliced the chicken in half and stuffed it, the cooking time will be shorter than baking an intact chicken breast.  
  12. remove chicken from oven and let sit for 10 minutes–or as long as you can possibly control yourself–to allow juices to absorb back into chicken meat. Eat and enjoy!

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