Last weekend my girlfriend and I made dinner for her parents who were visiting DC. Since I don't eat beef or pork, and her mother doesn't eat fish, we settled on chicken. For our main course we prepared chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. I was excited about this recipe because I love goat cheese (and feta, gorgonzola, bleu cheese and pretty much all other crumbly cheeses.) This recipe comes from Cooking Light, by way of myrecipes.com. On the side we prepared a Giada De Laurentiis recipe for israeli couscous with apples, cranberries and herbs, along with some simple roasted asparagus. The recipes are below, with my notes in italics.
For the chicken:
1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped shallots, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water
1. Combine boiling water and tomatoes in a bowl; cover and let stand 30 minutes or until soft. Drain and finely chop.
2. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup shallots, sugar, and garlic; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Spoon into a bowl; stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar.
3. Combine chopped tomatoes, shallot mixture, cheese, basil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring well.
4. Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff about 2 tablespoons cheese mixture into each pocket. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper.
For the israeli couscous
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups Israeli couscous (or barley or orzo)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 medium green apple, diced
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add the couscous and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly browned and aromatic, about 3 to 5 minutes.
2. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 to12 minutes or until the liquid has evaporated. (Make sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pot occasionally so it doesn't stick.)
I was pleased with how this dinner turned out. The goat cheese/sun-dried tomato filling added a tremendous amount of flavor to the chicken. I'm a big fan of israeli couscous and think it's a highly underused side dish.