Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Chicken Breasts Stuffed With Goat Cheese, Spinach and Sun Dried Tomatoes

My husband and I went out for a special dinner last Friday at a fancy French restaurant. I’ve had good experiences with their kitchen in the past, with servers and a chef who were all sensitive to my gluten free dining needs. While scanning their menu, my eye caught upon an entrée comprised of chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese, spinach and sun dried tomatoes. Our server checked with the chef to make sure it could be prepared without any ingredients containing gluten. He agreed to make a wine butter sauce without flour. I was so excited!

Imagine my disappointment then, when the chicken was tough, dry and lacking in flavor. It was even difficult to carve with a knife. After sharing a bite of my dinner, H said "Honey, I think you could make this recipe taste a lot better for a lot less money!"

Inspired by the challenge, I have now come up with my own version… which I hope you’ll love! (We did. Hurray!)

Chicken Breasts Stuffed With Goat Cheese, Spinach and Sun Dried Tomatoes

What You’ll Need:

4 boneless chicken breasts (sliced thickly)
½ cup sun dried tomatoes (packed or rehydrated in oil)
½ bag baby spinach (3 oz)
6 oz goat’s milk cheese (we used Chavrie, 5.3 oz)
1 tbsp basil
1 small yellow onion
4 cloves garlic
Sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper
Olive oil
1 tbsp butter

Optional: handful of toasted pine nuts

How It Works:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Mince onion and garlic and set aside.

Mince basil, spinach and sun dried tomatoes. I used a mini food processor to do this, but it would work just as well by hand. Combine in a new bowl with goat cheese, adding sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste. Stir until thoroughly blended, don’t be surprised if you can’t see the sun dried tomatoes in the mixture (the taste is definitely there). Your mixture should look something like this:

Next, take a sharp knife and cut a slit (between 1 – 2 inches wide) in the width of each chicken breast, inserting the blade slowly and widening the slit so that you have created an opening in the middle of the chicken breast that looks like an envelope.

Fill the “pocket” inside of each chicken breast with your goat cheese – sun dried tomato – spinach – basil mixture. It is fine if you get some on the outside of the chicken breast while stuffing them. Salt and pepper each side of your chicken breast.

Heat approx 2 tbsp olive oil and 1 tbsp butter in a heavy sauté pan at medium temperature. When it is hot but not smoking, add onions and garlic. Sauté until onions are translucent.

Add all 4 stuffed chicken breasts to the sautéed onions and garlic. Cook at medium temperature approx 1.5 to 2 minutes, then turn over in pan and do the other side for the same amount of time. If there is any remaining filling, feel free to smooth it on top of your chicken breasts.

Finally, place the heavy sauté pan inside of your preheated oven and bake for 8 – 10 minutes until chicken is cooked through (it took 9 minutes in my oven which runs hot).

Remove your masterpiece and serve while still steaming hot! The filling should have turned into a deliciously creamy and bubbly affair. My husband suggests garnishing your stuffed chicken breast with some toasted pine nuts. This dish goes well with a side of rice pasta dusted with a little parmesan cheese.

Serves 4.

Mmmmmmmm..... how could a recipe containing Chavrie be anything other than decadent!


Mary Frances said...

Your chicken looks divine! And you've given me some ideas for what to do with some fresh vegetables we've just received. I think that will toss them with brown rice spaghetti, your sauce, and some chickpeas for a vegetarian twist on the dish.

Mary Frances

prwhiz said...

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