PREP TIME: 2O MINS COOK TIME: 40 MINS
If you’re like most people, at some point, you went to the grocery store and bought a bunch of chicken breast to kick start your new healthy lifestyle. Fast forward a few weeks, and that same chicken breast is still sitting in the back of the freezer, dying to be stuffed with Pancetta, Cream Cheese, and Spinach!
All jokes aside – Chicken breast is known to be a bit boring. Let’s spice things up a bit!
We are going to use some delicious pancetta to take this dish to the next level. Pancetta is an Italian cured meat (pork belly) and is loaded with flavor. It’s like bacon’s hot older cousin with the nice car. Give it a try! (Or, if you can’t find it, you can use bacon instead!)
Start by cooking the pancetta in your skillet or frying pan. The rendered fat will provide tons of flavor and a naturally salty profile. (You won’t need to add much salt to the rest of the stuffing!)
Once the pancetta begins to get crispy, add in your onion and garlic. Cook this until fragrant. (Your house will smell absolutely amazing at this point)
Once you’ve incorporated the onion and garlic, add in your spinach at the very end. Spinach cooks quickly, so you can use the residual heat to wilt this down a bit. Once that is all combined, add everything to a mixing bowl, along with some room temperature cream cheese.
Combine those ingredients with some mozzarella and parmesan cheese and season. (Taste as you go and adjust as you see fit)
Now we are going to butterfly the chicken breast to create a pocket for our stuffing. Don’t let this step intimidate you! Simply place your hand on top of the chicken breast, (out of harms way) – and, using a sharp knife, slice into the side (about halfway). Use your fingers to create the pocket. You should feel ready for an episode of Top Chef now.
Repeat for all chicken boobs involved. Next, season liberally prior to stuffing!
Stuff each chicken breast and get your skillet hot. Once your skillet begins to smoke a bit, add about a tablespoon of cooking oil.
Sear on both sides. Next, add in some butter and fresh rosemary and thyme. Place this skillet or oven safe pan into a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until the internal temperature registers at least 165 degrees.
There you have it. You’ve officially become a master-stuffer. Allow the chicken to rest about 5-7 minutes prior to slicing. If some of the stuffing leaks out, just scoop it up and serve it. Any points you lose in presentation will be made up in deliciousness.
2 8oz boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 package cream cheese
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tbs butter
2 tsp minced garlic
4 oz diced pancetta
1/2 diced onion
rosemary & thyme (fresh)
salt, pepper, garlic, onion powder, creole seasoning, italian seasoning (to taste)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Start by cooking your pancetta until it begins to get crispy. Add in your onion and garlic and cook until fragrant. The pancetta is naturally a bit salty so wait to season with salt until later.
Add fresh spinach at the very end and then remove from heat. Mix everything together until the spinach wilts a bit. Add this mixture to your room temperature cream cheese and begin to mix. Season with Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning.
Add cheese and combine. Place in fridge or freezer to cool for a few minutes before stuffing chicken.
Using a sharp knife, butterfly your chicken breast. Place your hand on the top of the chicken and using your knife, slowly make an incision in the side. Cut about halfway (see pic) and form a pocket for your stuffing. Season chicken breast before adding stuffing.
Using a spoon, stuff your chicken cavity with chilled stuffing mixture. Next, get your oven safe skillet hot and sear chicken on both sides. Add butter and fresh herbs and then place in the oven to finish. Chicken is finished when the internal temperature registers 165 degrees (or when the juices run clear)
Allow this to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with your favorite side dishes.