A couple of weeks ago I was flipping through my William Sonoma catalog and noticed a stuffed chicken recipe that was very enticing. Usually when I make stuffed chicken I use a mixture of either sun dried tomatoes or roasted red peppers pureed with cream cheese, salt, pepper, and minced garlic. The idea of using one of my favorite cheeses, provolone, to stuff chicken I just couldn’t pass up.
Okay, so panchetta is the problem child. I have purchased it at my local grocery store before and it just isn’t as good. I few years back I found a wine store that actually sells high quality cheeses and meats. They are a complete god send. Especially since they have the quality and authenticity that I want and they are a few bucks cheaper than the grocery store. YAY for me!!!
I make a trip over there and immediately want to buy the organic pork and beef that they carry. But I use my self control and get half a pound of panchetta cut in 1/4 inch thick slices. I figure I can always buy extra and freeze it for the next time I want to make the chicken 🙂 . If you can’t find panchetta you can always substitute thick cut bacon, but it isn’t the same.
Since I am watching my figure I decided that I would sauté the chicken instead of frying it. What I usually do is stuff the breasts like the recipe calls for then I heat up an oven proof skillet with about 1 tablespoon of oil and sear the outside of the chicken to give it color on both sides. Then I place it in a preheated 350°F oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is throughly cooked and reaches an inside temperature of 160°F.
For assistance on how to create the pocket for the stuffing refer to this link on William Sonoma’s web page. They have pictures and everything 🙂 .
The chicken turned out awesome. It was juicy and had the flavor of the provolone and panchetta with sage in the background. It was one of the best stuffed chickens ever. I would urge anyone to try their hand at this recipe sauté or fried. Your hands might smell like provolone for the rest of the day, but it is worth it 🙂 .
I completely forgot to take a picture of the final creation, so I decided to use the pretty picture that William Sonoma provided. It it is great picture and better than anything that I could have come up with.
Recipe and Photograph from William Sonoma.com
6 oz. pancetta, cut into 1/4-inch dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbs. minced fresh sage
5 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, each about 8 oz., pounded 1/2
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
3 oz. aged provolone cheese, grated
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 egg whites, lightly beaten
3 1/2 cups toasted bread crumbs
In a fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the 1 tsp. olive oil. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until crispy. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Transfer the pancetta mixture to a small bowl and stir in the sage.
Create a pocket in each chicken breast: Lay the breast on a work surface with the pointed end away from you. Insert a long paring knife in the center of the end closest to you (the rounded end). Move the knife around to enlarge the opening, forming a pocket; be careful not to cut through to the outside of the breast. Then remove the knife. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.
Season the chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Stuff each chicken breast with 2 Tbs. of the cheese and 1 Tbs. of the pancetta mixture. Set the chicken on a wire rack-lined baking sheet and freeze for 5 minutes.
Put the flour, egg whites and bread crumbs in separate breading pans or shallow dishes. Dredge the chicken in the flour, then dip into the egg whites and coat evenly with the bread crumbs, pressing so they adhere. Set the chicken on a wire rack-lined baking sheet and refrigerate for 15 minutes.
In a wide pan over high heat, heat the 1 1/2 cups olive oil. Working in batches, fry the chicken u ntil crisp and browned underneath, 5 to 6 minutes. Turn the chicken over, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the chicken is cooked through, 7 to 8 minutes more, adding more oil to the pan if needed. Drain the chicken on a paper towel-lined plate. Transfer to a platter and serve immediately. Serves 5.