Monday, March 3, 2014

Spinach-and-feta stuffed chicken

Spanakopita is one of my favourite foods - that Greek combination of spinach and tangy feta in a phyllo pastry is soooooo good. Twigged by that dish (and a recipe title I saw somewhere in passing, but which I didn't "pin" or bookmark), I decided to prepare spanakopita-inspired chicken breasts.

Some of my kitchen experiments are more successful than others. In this case, it was a resounding success. I would happily serve this to guests or for Sunday dinner: it's fancy and tasty and looks like more work than it actually was. (I like things that make it look like I'm not as lazy as I actually am.) It is a little bit of work, but could be prepared ahead of time.

Because this was an experiment, I didn't take pictures as I went along. In fact, I didn't take a picture until after we ate. The pictures here are actually pictures of leftovers that I plated for Brian who was late coming home. So you'll have to use your imaginations as you read through the steps.

(I may come back and insert pictures next time I make this because I definitely will be serving this again!)

4 boneless, skinless* chicken breasts
2 cups spinach (I used fresh baby spinach, chopped)
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 Tbsp sour creme
1 clove garlic
1 cup bread crumbs (or cracker crumbs - use whatever you have on hand, preferably unseasoned)
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried tarragon
1 egg
2 Tbsp milk


Filling: In a small bowl, combine the spinach, feta, sour creme and garlic.

Coating: Whisk the milk and egg together in a small bowl. In another small bowl, combine the crumbs, oregano, and tarragon.

"Butterfly" each chicken breast.
Picture is from The Lake Kitchen
where you can find full instructions for butterflying chicken.
Stuff each breast with filling (a quarter of the filling you prepared). Secure the two flaps of meat together using toothpicks.

Carefully lift each stuffed breast and dip it into the egg mixture and then into the crumbs.

At this point, you could refrigerate the breasts and bake them later. I would not leave them in the fridge for more than 12 hours.

Bake at 350 degrees for one hour or until meat thermometer reads 185F.

Remove toothpicks before serving.

I served it on a bed of rice that and a mushroom-and-celery white sauce.

* Notes: if you're using chicken breasts with skins on, then you could skip the coating. I do recommend boneless, however, because butterflying bone-in chicken is tricky. If you decide to use chicken with bones, adjust the baking time for the increased density.

Kalí̱ órexi̱! (This means "bon appétit" in Greek.)

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