Stuffed chicken breasts perk up a week­day meal

Saskatoon StarPhoenix - - YOU - EL­LIE KRIEGER

Stuff­ing a chicken breast might seem like a fussy thing to do — some­thing re­served for the week­end.

But it’s re­ally an easy way to el­e­vate a rush-hour din­ner.

This mix­ture of roasted red pep­pers, olives, basil and moz­zarella add punchy an­tipasto flavours and melted-cheese ap­peal to a sim­ple chicken meal.

Af­ter slic­ing into the thick part of the breast to form a pocket, you fill it, sea­son the chicken and cook it in a skil­let.

The chicken breast, golden brown with bits of the boun­ti­ful stuff­ing vis­i­ble, is served on top of arugula leaves (baby spinach would work as well) and pan sauce is driz­zled over the plate, wilt­ing the leaves slightly and mak­ing for a lus­cious, warm dress­ing.

ROASTED RED PEP­PER STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS Serves: 4

4 bone­less, skin­less chicken breast halves (1 3/4 lbs/

794 g to­tal, not thin-cut; with­out ten­der­loins)

1/2 cup (125 ml) shred­ded part-skim moz­zarella cheese 1/4 cup (60 ml) finely chopped roasted red pep­per

2 tbsp (30 ml) pit­ted, chopped green olives

1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh basil leaves (may sub­sti­tute

1 tsp (5 ml) dried basil)

1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt

1/4 tsp (1 ml) freshly ground black pep­per

2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil

2 cloves gar­lic, minced

1/2 cup (125 ml) no-salt-added chicken broth

1 tbsp (15 ml) red wine vine­gar 4 cups (1 L) baby arugula leaves 1. Cut a 3-inch (7.5-cm) long pocket into the thick side of each chicken breast (with­out cut­ting all the way through).

2. Com­bine the cheese, roasted red pep­per, olives and basil in a medium bowl, to form the fill­ing.

3. Stuff some into the pocket of each chicken breast, us­ing all of it. Sea­son the out­side of the chicken with 1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) each salt and pep­per.

4. Heat 1 tbsp (15 ml) of oil in a large skil­let over medium heat. Once the oil shim­mers, add the stuffed chicken breasts and cook for 4 to 5 min­utes per side, un­til the cheese has melted, then trans­fer to a plate.

5. The chicken should be cooked through.

6. Add the re­main­ing tbsp (15 ml) of oil to the same skil­let. Once it’s hot, add the gar­lic and cook, stir­ring, for 30 sec­onds, then pour in the broth.

7. Once the liq­uid be­gins to bub­ble at the edges, stir to dis­solve any browned bits in the pan. Add the vine­gar and the re­main­ing 1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) each salt and pep­per, stir­ring to in­cor­po­rate.

8. To serve, di­vide the arugula among in­di­vid­ual plates. Top each por­tion with a stuffed chicken breast, then driz­zle with the pan juices. Serve warm.

DEB LIND­SEY

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