The components of this meal may seem a bit odd (apples and cheese stuffed inside chicken…come again??) but it is truly delicious. And guess what? It is quick and easy. Basically a good, old-fashioned boneless, skinless chicken breast gets a major makeover by being stuffed with a simple mixture of crisp apples, creamy cheese and a few other helpful ingredients. Although the original recipe calls for flattening the chicken, topping and then rolling (securing with a toothpick), I avoid flattening chicken whenever necessary. I happen to really, really hate that particular process. So I implemented my favorite chicken-stuffing method from this recipe and moved forward.
Browned and simmered in chicken broth until cooked through, the stuffed chicken stays deliciously moist and is complimented by an extremely wonderful and simple sauce. Really, the stuffed chicken would be nothing without this sauce. I served the unique and tasty apple and cheese stuffed chicken with the rice pilaf I posted about a week or so ago, a green salad and a steamed veggie. Doable enough for a basic family dinner and still elegant enough to serve to company, I loved being able to present “chicken dinner” just a tad bit out of the ordinary.
Talking about chicken for dinner leads me to my next question which I’ve been curious about for a while. How many nights a week is chicken part of your dinner regimen? What other meats make up dinner time fare? Ground turkey, ground beef, seafood? Do you go meatless? Talk to me. I’m listening.
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cups chopped apples (about 2 medium firm, crisp apples, peeled and cored)
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 3 tablespoons bread crumbs or 5-6 saltine crackers, crushed finely
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, for garnish (optional)
- If the chicken breasts you are using are on the thicker side, slice a pocket in the center of the thickest part to use for stuffing in the apple mixture (similar to this method). If the chicken breasts aren't thick enough to cut a pocket, pound each of them to a thickness of 1/4-inch. Season both sides of the chicken with salt and pepper. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, combine the chopped apples, shredded cheese, bread crumbs and garlic salt. Divide the apple mixture between the chicken breasts, stuffing it into the pockets, if that is the method you used, or topping the flattened chicken breast with the mixture and rolling up and securing with a toothpick.
- In a large, 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat until rippling. Brown the chicken breasts in a single layer, about 5 minutes per side (make sure the oil is hot before adding the chicken so it browns nicely on each side). After browning the second side, pour in the chicken broth and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover the skillet and simmer the chicken for 10-15 minutes, until cooked through.
- Remove the stuffed chicken to a plate or serving platter. In a small bowl, whisk together the cold water and cornstarch and stir the cornstarch slurry into the juices left in the skillet. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking or stirring, until the mixture is bubbling and thickened slightly. Pour the gravy through a fine mesh strainer (optional - only if you want to get rid of any larger ingredients that leaked out while the chicken was simmering). Pour some of the gravy over the chicken. Garnish with parsley and serve, passing the extra sauce at the table.