Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Parmesan and Basil Filling

I arrived home not knowing what I was going to cook, except that I had three freshly purchased bone-in chicken breasts.  A quick survey of my mostly empty refrigerator meant my options were fairly limited, so I was very glad to find this recipe, which came from one of Chris Kimball’s cookbooks, The Best Chicken Recipes.

Too bad more of the cheese didn't stay stuffed.

The chicken itself has nothing but salt, pepper and olive oil. All the flavor is in the filling. Mix 2-oz of grated Parmesan. 2-oz of cream cheese, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4-cup minced basil, 1 clove of garlic, 1/8-teaspoon each of salt and pepper. I divided the filling into 3 parts, since I was only cooking for three. I separating the skin from the meat using my fingers, then spread the filling as evenly as possible inside the pocket. I then baked for 35-minutes at 450-degrees.

The result: the family gave it 5-stars for flavor, but I reduced the rating to 4-stars because the flavor wasn’t evenly distributed. One bite was heavenly, and the next bite was just plain chicken.

Problems:

  1. Even though I used only three breasts (recipe says there’s enough for four), there was still not enough stuffing. Because only gravity was preventing the stuffing from oozing out, each breast lost between 1/4 and 1/2 of filling.
  2. The recipe says “it is important to buy chicken breasts with skin still attached and intact”. “Intact”. I guess they get better chicken than I get at my local supermarket, but obviously buying chicken is a crap-shoot; maybe the skin is intact and maybe not. In my case, the thin membrane under the skin was mostly okay. I had to lay two of the breasts on their side so that gravity would keep the filling (mostly) inside.
  3. As usual, the ribs had to be cut off, but fortunately that didn’t affect skin being “intact”.
  4. The kitchen got a little smokey with all the oil dripping down in such a hot oven. I’m sure glad I lined that broiler pan with aluminum foil.

Rating: 4 stars.
Cost: $6.
How much work? Low.
How big of a mess?  Low.
Start time 6:00 PM. Dinner time 7:00 PM.

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