Are you like me? Do you find yourself getting bored with chicken breasts sometimes? Are you as shocked as me that I just said breasts bore me? Unlike other cuts of meat like
pork, beef, or the sexy stuff like bison, rabbit or venison to name a few, chicken breast on its own is kind of tasteless. Just like my breast joke. It’s a bit like a sponge that absorbs whatever flavors you fuse with it. But hey, it’s one of the things that almost no kid in the world will bitch about eating so we end up eating it often enough.
I’ve got a few recipes for chicken breasts that I make regularly but when your kids want to eat this stuff twice a week you gotta start figuring out new ways to handle your breasts. You know what I mean? So imagine my shock and joy when my girlfriend proclaimed to me “I got some really nice breasts. Why don’t we try stuffing them today?” But dear, I says to her, the kids are awake! “I mean chicken, you idiot” I totally knew that. Whatever, I was still excited to try something a little different for dinner.
Call this chicken cordon bleu if you like or stuffed chicken or whatever but just give this a shot. It’s simpler than you might think and there are a ton of possiblities as to what you can stuff them with.
Ham and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast
2 Chicken breasts
8 Pieces of sliced ham
4 Slices of marbled cheddar(I would prefer Swiss but my lady friend hates it)
1 Cup of bread crumbs(seasoned with salt and pepper)
1 Bunch of purple basil(Hard to find in winter so we just used dried basil)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
First thing you need to do is scallop, or dissect your chicken so that from two breasts you’ll now have 4 thin pieces to work with. At this point if you want to really thin them out you can pound your meat out. No jokes here. I’ve been with the lady for 14 painfully wonderful years so I no longer find anything funny about meat beating jokes.
I am gonna suffer for that comment. Alright, now lay out two slices of ham on top of the chicken and half a slice of cheese on top of the ham. OH, and buy half decent cheese at least, not that glow in the dark processed crap. Add some basil leaves, or in this case a pinch of the dried basil. Now roll those babies up and tie them all pretty with some cooking string. Fancy! If you’ve never tied a roast or anything before it may take a few attempts to get it right but it isn’t too tough to get the hang of it.
From here you can now preheat your oven to 350f. Lay out a sheet of waxed paper and spread the seasoned bread crumbs out evenly. Roll those sexy breast bundles in the bread crumbs until they are all completely coated. While the oven is warming up you can now heat up a pan on a medium high heat and get that olive oil in there. Once it is good and hot you can throw the chicken in there and get them nice and golden on each side. Essentially just cook them for about a minute on each side. Get them into a baking dish and pop them into the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Now don’t just assume that they are ready at that point and serve them. Slice one open a little and see if it is cooked through, and for the love of crumb cake get yourself a bloody meat thermometer already. I don’t need to tell you that not all breasts are the same size so they won’t all cook in exactly 20 minutes. Oh for once you can insert your own dirty joke here alright? Why should I have to do all the work?
My beef with white chicken meat(see what I did there? beef with chicken? Oh forget it) aside from the fact that it doesn’t have much of its own flavor, is that there is a fine line betwixt cooked chicken breast and overcooked, super dry chicken breast. Searing it and having gooey melted cheese and ham in there helps avoid that. It’s tough to overcook this one. Oh, I am sure it can be done but I mean so long as you don’t bake them for 45 minutes it should turn out well. And what’s not to love about this dish? Healthy chicken? Good. Some pig meat? Good. Some gooey ooey melty cheese? GOOD!
The dried basil is a step down from the fresh purple stuff so I do highly recommend using fresh purple basil when you can get your hands on it. Fresh standard basil works well here too. When my girlfriend and I were first together I am sure she would have went back out to the store to go get the fresh stuff, maybe even have driven into the city to a nice market to find the purple stuff. Alas, after 14 agonizingly amazing years together I get the dried stuff. But I digress…
You may be noticing that once it is breaded, and then cooked, it is hard to see the cooking string. No worries about that. Just go ahead and eat it with the chicken because hey, free fibre! It’s just like eating an all bran muffin but without all that gross all bran muffin taste to it. The kids destroyed this dish and I loved it too. I look forward to stuffing my meat with a wide variety of things in the future. Ya, that’s right. Someone had to say it.
Ok, seriously, don’t eat the string.