If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you already know that I love stuffing chicken breasts. I just think it's such a great way to add flavor to chicken, which really doesn't have a whole lot of flavor on its own. And there's so much opportunity for innovation, too, which is always fun and a good way to stay out of a cooking rut.
I first saw this recipe on Carrie's blog quite a while ago, and I knew immediately that I wanted to try it. I can't believe it took me this long to get around to making it, and now that I've tried it, I can't wait to make it again. It may sound like there's really not a lot going on with this recipe, but to date it is absolutely the best stuffed chicken recipe I've ever tried. The filling is so creamy and flavorful and downright decadent, and it pairs perfectly with the crispy breading. You absolutely have to try this one, immediately. We served the chicken with steamed broccoli florets and garlic and cheese orzo, and I think it was one of the best meals we've had for a while. Seriously -- so good!
Cream Cheese- and Pesto-Stuffed Chicken
source: adapted from Eating Well
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons cream cheese
1 tablespoon basil pesto
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
2. Combine cream cheese, pesto and pepper in a small bowl with a fork.
3. Cut a horizontal slit along the thin, long edge of a chicken breast half, nearly through to the opposite side. Open up each breast; season inside and outside with salt and pepper. Place one-fourth of the filling in the center. Close the breast over the filling, pressing the edges firmly together to seal. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts and filling.
4. Lightly beat egg with a fork in a medium bowl. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow glass dish. Hold each chicken breast half together and dip in the egg, then dredge in the breadcrumbs.
5. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts; cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Place the chicken, browned-side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is no longer pink in the center or until an instant-read thermometer registers 170 degrees, about 20 minutes.