Thursday, May 7, 2009

Baked Stuffed Caprese Chicken with Balsamic Reduction

Baked Stuffed Chicken Caprese - Photo by Taste As You Go
Baked Stuffed Chicken Caprese

While I completely understand and respect the agricultural need for rain, I'm growing awfully tired of it and everything associated with it -- the constantly overcast skies, the clunky and awkward rain gear, the wind blowing my umbrella inside out just as the rain starts to fall faster. Please, please, please... Can we just have a week of sunshine and clear skies? After all, April showers are supposed to bring May flowers... not May showers.

Stuffing for Baked Stuffed Chicken Caprese - Photo by Taste As You Go
Stuffing for Baked Stuffed Chicken Caprese

Anyway... A few weeks ago, I came upon Savor the Thyme's recipe for Chicken 'Caprese', and was inspired to create a similar dish. For me, the word "caprese" evokes thoughts of the warmer days of spring and summer, when the vegetables are fresh and fragrant. When it's too hot to cook anything else, insalata caprese is one of my favorite summer fallback meals. Because I was desperate to recover some of the mojo that was sucked out of my mood by consecutive days of rain, I went into the kitchen, removed two chicken breasts from the freezer, set them in the refrigerator to thaw overnight, and vowed to create my own caprese chicken dish the next night.

Pre-Baked Stuffed Chicken Caprese - Photo by Taste As You Go
Pre-Baked Stuffed Chicken Caprese

Rather than use fresh tomatoes - which were too expensive given the quality of the tomatoes in the local grocery store - I used sun-dried tomatoes. I think the sun-dried tomatoes contributed immensely to the rich flavor of the "stuffing" and the fresh mozzarella helped prevent the flavor of the sun-dried tomatoes from being too overpowering or too overwhelming.

Baked Stuffed Chicken Caprese with Balsamic Reduction - Photo by Taste As You Go
Baked Stuffed Chicken Caprese with Balsamic Reduction

After baking the chicken, I sliced it up and served it over wilted greens (a combination of fresh spinach and fresh arugula) and drizzled it all with a balsamic reduction I prepared while the chicken was in the oven. Everything about that meal came together perfectly, and my tastebuds absolutely died and went to heaven. So, if you're looking for something to help you make it through until the next sunny day, try this recipe for Baked Stuffed Caprese Chicken with Balsamic Reduction. You won't be disappointed!

Also, don't forget to enter the Popchips™ Coupon Giveaway! You have until 11:59pm EST on Sunday, May 10, 2009 to enter! Just leave a comment on on the giveaway post and let me know which flavor of chips you'd like to try. There will be three winners, who will be chosen at random and announced on May 11 (my birthday!!!). Make sure you enter before the deadline!

Baked Stuffed Caprese Chicken - Serves 2
Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 slices sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 3 basil leaves, julienned
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil (see Food Tip)
  • 2 slices fresh mozzarella, diced
  • 2 chicken breasts
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 small white onion, halved and sliced
  • 1/4 cup fat-free and low-sodium chicken broth

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

  2. In a small bowl, combine the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, oil, and mozzarella. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Set the bowl aside and allow the flavors to marry for 5 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, place each chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap and flatten with a mallet until 1/4-inch thick.

  4. Divide the caprese stuffing between the two chicken breasts. Place the stuffing in the center of the chicken (see picture above). Fold the chicken up around the stuffing and place each chicken breast, folded side down, in a baking dish. Season the outside of the chicken with salt and pepper.

  5. Scatter the sliced onions around the chicken breasts and pour the chicken broth into the baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.

  6. Remove the dish from the oven and baste the chicken by spooning the broth on top of it. Place in the oven and bake for another 30 minutes.

  7. Remove from the oven and check to make sure the chicken has been properly cooked. Allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing.

  8. Serve over wilted greens and drizzled with balsamic reduction.


Balsamic Reduction
Printable Recipe

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow to simmer.

  2. After the vinegar has reduced by half, whisk in the brown sugar.

  3. Simmer until the sauce has become thick and syrupy and sticks to the back of a wooden spoon.

Food Tip: I used sun-dried tomatoes that came in a vacuum-sealed package in this recipe. If you're using sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil, use that oil in the recipe rather than extra-virgin olive oil. This way, you can maximize the flavor of the sun-dried tomatoes.

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18 comments:

Jo said...

OH yes yes yes yes! This looks excellent! I'm going to have to make this one... and soon! Yummy! Nice job!

Michelle said...

Jo - Thanks, Jo! It was so delicious! I hope you enjoy it. :)

Meg said...

I love it! What beautiful colors!

Michelle said...

Meg - Thanks, Meg! The colors definitely help brighten up a gray and rainy day! :)

Sue said...

Michelle,
What a beautifully cooked dish! And how beautiful! I always have a hard time making chicken look appetizing. And I think I would prefer it with sun-dried tomatoes.

Michelle said...

Sue - Thanks! I agree, it is tough to make chicken look appetizing. I've found chicken often gets washed out in the photos I attempt at home. Especially when placed on the white plates I have. So, the wilted greens acted as the perfect blanket for the chicken and made the colors of the stuff pop. :)

I'm still playing catch-up, but don't worry, I'll blog about and pass along the award you bestowed upon me soon. And I'll see you next week!

HoneyB said...

Looks delicious and I love the balsamic reduction!

Michelle said...

HoneyB - The chicken tasted delicious without the reduction, but it just added something special to the dish. :)

nancy said...

This looks fabulous, Michelle. And I love that it contains ingredients I actually routinely have in the house! It's on my "short list" to try!

Michelle said...

Nancy - More often than not, I create recipes that include ingredients that I readily have on hand. I hope you enjoy it!

Gera @ SweetsFoods said...

Juicy, tender and really delicious with the balsamic reduction that brings shine to the dish!! :)

Michelle said...

Gera - That balsamic reduction brings a bit of a kick to the dish, too! :)

gail said...

I make something similar - but love that it takes my favourite "salad" and adds it to chicken - cheeeeesey....mmmm!!!!

Michelle said...

Gail - All of those ingredients are meant to be put in the same dish!

Joan Nova said...

I love stuffed meats or roulades or whatever you want to call them. Not only do they taste good, they look great on the plate.

Michelle said...

Joan Nova - I love how all the colors of the stuffing contrast with the neutral color of the chicken. Who wouldn't want to gobble that up, right? :)

The Hungry Mouse said...

What a great idea! Can't wait to try this! :D

+Jessie

Michelle said...

The Hungry Mouse - Thanks, Jessie! I hope you enjoy the chicken when you do get around to making it!