I am often scratching my head trying to do something different or interesting with skinless chicken breasts. During the week it is all about speed and simplicity so my ‘go to’ recipe would be my chicken breasts with honey and mustard or perhaps a stir-fry or a curry. At the weekend I try to do something a little fancier if I have the time and this stuffed chicken is one of those dishes. This would also be a great dish to do if you were having anyone for dinner as it can be prepared in advance. As well as being delicious and moist, it is also a very healthy way to cook the chicken. I have used a leek & bacon mixture in the stuffing but you could equally invent your own or use the traditional sage & onion stuffing where any leftover chicken sliced thinly and would make a pretty tasty sandwich the next day. I am all for this type of cooking where a little bit extra or leftover can sort lunches for the next day.
The spuds in the photo were a pleasant surprise as they happened by accident – they were those baby potatoes which you can buy in a bag for approx. €1 in some supermarkets, halved, parboiled for approx. 10 mins, drained, tossed in olive oil then roasted in the oven for approx. 40 mins with the chicken. Sprinkled with sea salt you could eat a plate of these on their own! Now to the chicken – best to get the chicken breasts from a butcher and ask them for good plump ones (free range if possible) that can be stuffed.
P.S.I have included a recipe for a cream sauce with it however I tend to make a gravy for my crew (using the liquid from the dish) because while we ‘girls’ like the cream sauce the ‘lads’ in my house don’t! And as we all know life is all about compromise and picking your battles!
4 large (free range) skinless chicken breasts
1 medium leek (washed, cleaned and sliced finely)
75g bacon pieces (or a couple of back rashers chopped up)
1tbsp sunflower oil
Salt & pepper
30ml wholegrain mustard
60 ml cream
30 ml chicken stock
- Gently fry the bacon pieces and the leek together – you may not need additional oil if there is enough fat on the bacon
- When this mixture has cooled slightly bind it together with the breadcrumbs and put it aside
- Turn oven to 200 °C/400 °F
- Prepare 4 rectangular pieces of tin foil (large enough to roll up the chicken in) and brush lightly with the oil
- Wipe the chicken breasts dry with kitchen paper.
- Open them out flat
- Cut in under the mini fillet in the breast so as to make a pocket.
- Fill the pocket with the stuffing. Don’t be afraid to push it in a bit.
- Roll the chicken breast tightly to seal off the pocket and wrap it in a greased piece of tin foil, sealing the ends like a Christmas cracker.
- Place the wrapped breasts (seam side up) in an ovenproof dish with about 2.5cm of water
- Bake in preheated oven for 25-30 mins.
- Test by piercing the parcels and if the juices run clear then they are done.
- Allow the chicken to rest for about 6-8 mins before opening the parcels and carving into slices.
- Drizzle the sauce over and serve with vegetables of your choice.
Heat the stock with the mustard
When it comes to the boil, take off the heat and allow to cool slightly before adding the cream.
Keep the sauce warm on a very low simmer until serving