Some of my favorite cooking is when I get home from work, look in the fridge, and say, "what can I make with this?" It's a fun form of problem solving for me. Sometimes I look up recipes, but more often than not I just make something up, hoping I create something new and exciting.
On one particular night my sister called as I was pulling out the possible ingredients, and she asked me what I was making. I said I didn't know yet, so she asked what I had. I told her:
- chicken breasts
- goat cheese
- spicy sausage
I had been planning on chopping it all up and maybe sauteing everything, perhaps tossing it with pasta? But Leah saved the day once again and told me:
"Here's what you do. You butterfly the chicken breasts. Cook the sausage and break it up, then mix it with the goat cheese. Stuff the chicken with the goat cheese mixture, and wrap it in bacon."
She blew my mind, and dinner that night was so incredible I decided I needed to make it again and document it for the blog. This time I stuffed it with a goat cheese/spinach mixture, but feel free to throw in whatever you want! I'm thinking next time I'll add fresh basil, maybe some garlic or mushrooms?
You will need:
- 4 large chicken breasts with the fat trimmed off
- 4 oz goat cheese
- spinach (about a handful)
- 12 oz thin sliced bacon
- salt, pepper, garlic salt...etc to season chicken
Preheat oven to 400°. Then, take a small handful of spinach and roughly chop it up. Put the goat cheese into a small bowl and begin to soften it with a fork (you may want to microwave it for 15 seconds to make it easier to work with). Once it's soft enough to easily mush, add the spinach, bit by bit, until you get to a ratio you like. Set aside.
Pound the chicken flat (I actually hate meat tenderizers. I prefer to use a large wooden rolling pin, or the bottom of a heavy sauce pan) and season with kosher or sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and maybe some garlic salt.
*Flattening the chicken is by far the hardest part. It takes a little bit of practice, but once you acquire this skill your chicken will be flat and cook evenly.
Spread the goat cheese mixture over one half of the chicken and fold over.
Lay three strips of bacon flat on the table and place the chicken on top of them, then fold the bacon over the sides. Alternatively, you could lay them just over the top. This will give you crispier bacon, but wrapping the meat completely seals in the juices, giving you moist, flavorful chicken.
Place the chicken on a broiler pan (put aluminum foil on the bottom pan for easy grease cleanup!) and bake at 400° for 35-40 minutes, or until bacon has crisped up a little bit.
This is SO good! The chicken was juicy and flavorful, and while the bacon wasn't crispy enough to eat much of, it worked perfectly to seal in the moisture of the meat. And then when you get a bite of the melty goat cheese and spinach? Mmmmm.
You'll just have to take my word for it, but you'll feel like you're eating expensive, restaurant quality food. And it only takes about 10 minutes of prep time!
If you've made a similar recipe using different cheese or stuffings, let me know. I'm curious to see what else I can do with this simple method.