Put on your fancy pants because today we’re learning how to stuff chicken breasts with awesome flavors and braise them. I decided to put away the slow cooker for this recipe because we had our fun making these BBQ chicken sweet potato skins and buffalo chicken zucchini boats. Now it’s time to learn another amazing way to cook chicken until it’s juicy, shred-with-a-fork tender and in my opinion, it’s THE BEST way to cook any meat when you want that slow cooked texture and tons of added flavor you can’t get from a crock pot cooked dish.
And since we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day this weekend, I thought it’d be fun to create a recipe inspired by the stuffed chicken served at my wedding reception. During wedding planning, I remember reading the words chicken, apples, and gouda (no kale because did anyone know what that was back in 2009?) on the list of entrée offerings, and I was immediately obsessed. My novice culinary mind couldn’t believe that someone was genius enough to come up with that flavor combo.
And indeed it was amazing…with just two slight issues. It was my wedding day so obviously I was a ball of nerves and couldn’t really enjoy this amazing meal while my dad’s giving the most heartfelt and witty speech about the day my husband asked him for my hand in marriage. Note: it involved a manly “athletic hug” (aka a blubbering and emotional hug) in the middle of a busy golf course. And the other slight snafu was the fact that this chicken, with it’s rich, gravy-like sauce and cooked apples, was a quintessential autumn/winter entree. Our wedding took place in the peak of summer. Woops.
So now that it’s nearly 7 years later, it’s Valentine’s Day weekend, and we’re in the dead of winter, I’m ready to enjoy this chicken properly! Let’s braise, shall we? Start out with some plump chicken breasts, chopped apples, baby kale, and sliced gouda cheese.
Cut a slit in each breast and start stuffing. It’ll get a little messy, but if things falls out, just stuff them back in. Once everything’s in place, quick, get out that kitchen twine and tie them up!
Season them up and sear them with olive oil in a French oven until browned and crusty. Take out the breasts and add in more olive oil plus the onions and garlic aka the aromatics. Saute the aromatics until softened. Then, pour in the broth and cooking wine. Grab a wooden spoon and start scraping up those brown little bits from the bottom of the pan. That’s where the flavor’s at!
Add the breasts back in the pan, cover, let it simmer, and in about 45 minutes, you’ll have the most buttery and tender chicken stuffed with softened apples, melted cheese, and wilted kale. To make things even more fancy, spoon some of that extra cooking liquid over the top. Serve it on a bed of rice or quinoa with a side of vegetables and glass of wine for an elegant, healthy, and romantic dinner.
- 4 raw boneless skinless chicken breasts (8 ounces each)
- 3 apples, chopped
- 3 ounces Gouda cheese, sliced
- 2 cups baby kale
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon thyme
- 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 can (14.5 ounces) of chicken broth
- ¼ cup white wine (optional)
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Cut a large slit on the side of each chicken breast, creating a pocket for the stuffing. Stuff each chicken breast with an equal amount of apples, gouda, and kale. Tie each chicken breast shut with 2-3 pieces of kitchen twine. Sprinkle ¼ teaspoon of salt, pepper, and thyme on all sides of the chicken breasts.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large French oven over medium-high heat. Once heated, place the chicken breasts in the pan and sear on opposite sides for about 3 minutes each until the breasts have a nice brown crust on the outside. Depending on the size of your pan, you may need to do this in two batches. Set the chicken breasts aside on a plate.
- Add a ½ tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. Add in the onion and garlic and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of salt. Sauté for 2-3 minutes until soft. Then, add in the chicken broth and white wine and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Place the chicken breasts back in the pan, cover, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook on the stovetop for 45 minutes. Remove the chicken breasts from the pan.
- For the sauce, remove the garlic and onions with a slotted spoon and whisk together the remaining cooking liquid. Alternatively, you could use an immersion blender to blend the liquid, onions, and garlic together for a slightly thicker sauce. Plate each chicken breast and pour a couple tablespoons of sauce over the top. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.
Nutrition Information (per serving) from Caloriecount.about.com
Calories: 473 Fat: 14g Carb: 26.8g Fiber: 4.5g Protein: 57.8g Sugar 16.3g Sodium: 891mg