Saturday, 26 September 2009

Baked Chicken Stuffed with Pesto, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Cheese


I've gained a bit of weight recently (heh, too much baking, those Cheesecake Brownies get me every time). Wanting to continue fitting into my clothes, finding foreigner-sized clothing can be difficult here, I've started up on the South Beach Diet again. I don't want to get too boring, but it means for the next couple of weeks I'm on low-carb, then I'll start adding in whole grains again. Don't worry though, feel free to serve any of the recipes I post with mashed potatoes, pasta, or whatever other carb-filled goodness might catch your fancy. Don't be scared dear reader; it's only for a couple of weeks.

With that out the way, let's move on to this delicious looking recipe I found on Kalyn's Kitchen. Usually I post the original recipe as written and then list my substitutions, but I ended up making a lot of changes so I've linked the original recipe above and will list the final one I used.

Ingredients

1 chicken breast
1-2 sun-dried tomatoes
2-3 tsp pesto
28g (1oz) soft cheese
28g (1oz) grated cheese

Method


1) Chop your sun dried tomatoes finely. The only sun-dried tomatoes I can fin are packed dry, but if yours are packed in oil then blot any major excess off.


2) Mix the chopped pieces into the pesto, leave while you prepare the chicken.


3) Place your chicken breast between two piece of saran wrap, smooth side up, and pound it until it's of even thickness (about 1/4 inch thick). If you don;t have a meat hammer to pound it with then don;t worry, you can use any heavy object (e.g a heavy bottomed pan, a heavy jar base etc). I ended up being a bit clumsy here because I'd forgotten that I'd thrown away the heavy jar I usually use for this kind of thing. This led to me experimenting with a few different things, not all of which were successful. I ended up with a tear in my chicken where I'd it a little too hard in one spot, try to avoid that if you can.


4) Remove the saran wrap, and flip your chicken to the other (not smooth) side. Take your pesto and smooth it evenly over the surface, then add a layer of soft and hard cheese. The original recipe called for goats cheese, which I couldn't find and don't really like, so I used a mix of soft cheese (I got 'Fromage Roux', but Camembert is readily available here and would work instead), and some of the grated cheese I had in the fridge.



If you decide to go with goats cheese, a good way to combine the ingredients is to whiz the pesto, cheese, and tomatoes in a mini food processor and just spread it all on. I don't have a mini chopper so I went for layering the ingredients.

5) Starting from the thin (pointed) end of the chicken, roll the breast up like a Swiss roll. Secure the roll with toothpicks to ensure it doesn't come undone while cooking.


As I said before I had some problems during the hammering section of this, so mine doesn't look as pretty as it could.

Put in the oven to cook, times will change depending on the final size and thickness of your chicken breast, but mine took about 35 minutes. This is optional, but you can also sprinkle a little cheese on top before putting it in the oven.


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