The stuffed chicken breast is probably one of my earliest attempts at haute cuisine, without knowing what haute cuisine meant. I was a teenager visiting my sisters during their university days at their off-campus apartment. They requested that I prepare dinner, while they were attending classes, and the ingredients they gave me were chicken breasts and spinach. Normally this would become a simple stir fry of some sort, but I had an image in my mind of something different. So I looked in the fridge and found the stash of cheeses (Wensleydale, Cheddar and Sage Derby) and grabbed the box of crackers in the cupboard. I whipped up a stuffing of crushed crackers, diced cheese and chopped spinach and stuffed the chicken breast as best as I could. Gave the outside of the chicken a good dusting with the remaining crackers to give it a crust and then baked it in the oven. It was quite the crowd pleaser, until they realized that they didn't have any cheese and crackers to snack on anymore.
Over the years, this recipe has evolved to my tastes. I found that, in early attempts, the chicken often came out dry and the filling kept leaking everywhere. I also went through a BBQ sauce phase where I was putting it on almost everything. Nevertheless, from the lessons learned, this is the latest iteration of the recipe which I hope will be enjoyed by all.
Bacon Wrapped Cheese & Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast
When slicing the chicken breast, make the incision on the inside of the breast by lifting the tenderloin and slicing towards the outer edges. Then use the tenderloin as a flap to hide the incision. This technique can be found here. The amounts of stuffing is very much a personal preference. I am quite a fan of garlic and plenty of cheese but adjust the amounts to your liking.
- Step 1
Preheat oven to 400°F or 200°C.
- Step 2
In a bowl, microwave the spinach until it is wilted. Squeeze out the liquid in the spinach and discard the liquid.
- Step 3
In a separate bowl, microwave the butter until it is melted.
- Step 4
Add the butter, garlic and breadcrumbs to the spinach and mix until well blended.
- Step 5
Portion the cheese into cubes or batons in preparation for stuffing.
- Step 6
Slice a pocket into the chicken breast and stuff the pocket with the breadcrumb mixture and cheese.
- Step 7
Close the pocket and tightly wrap the chicken breast with bacon slices.
- Step 8
Bake chicken breasts on a baking tray for about 45 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts, turning them over halfway through baking.
- Step 9
Allow the chicken to rest for five minutes after pulling it out of the oven. Slice into medallions and serve.