Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese and sun-dried tomatoes


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:
Ingredients
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

Directions:
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.
5. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; cover and keep warm. (I found it took a bit longer than this to cook the chicken thoroughly, but I may have been using a bit thicker pieces than the recipe suggests.)
6. Add broth, remaining shallots, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and thyme; bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water, stirring with a whisk. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until sauce is slightly thick, stirring constantly. Serve sauce over chicken.

For the israeli couscous
Ingredients:
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

Fresh thyme, rosemary and parsley

Vinaigrette:
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

Directions:
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.)

3. Transfer the cooked couscous to a large bowl and set aside to cool.
4. Add the parsley, rosemary, thyme, apple, dried cranberries, and almonds.
5. For the vinaigrette: In a small bowl, combine the vinegar, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil until smooth. Pour the vinaigrette over the couscous and toss to coat evenly.

The results:
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.

6 comments:

  1. Looks absolutely yummy! I will definitely have to try this out.

    Dafeenah

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looks delicious! I love to cook and I'm always looking for new ideas!
    -Lynn

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nice choice in blogger template, I started out with the same one originally, only in blue. This chicken looks really good, I love stuffed chicken. You should check out my food blog, I'm doing a foodie giveaway: http://www.thegirlwriter.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  4. It looks yummy. I love goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes. I wonder how it would work if you pounded the chicken and sort of wrapped it around the filling and put it in the oven? Whatever, I am going to try it for sure.Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  5. This really looks delicious. You should try this recipe on your own parents. The chicken looks amazing and so does the Israeli couscous. I might even try cooking this.

    ReplyDelete