Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breast

We are loving America’s Test Kitchen’s cookbooks right now.

Nathan and I were in charge of dinner Sunday night so we opened one of these great books and found this gem. Stuffed chicken is a simple recipe that looks fancy. We’re all about fancy. Enjoy!

Start with your ingredients.

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Adjust oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Stir the cream cheese, goat cheese, thyme, garlic, pesto, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper together until smooth.

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Trim any fat off chicken.

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Pound the chicken to an even 1/4 inch thickness. We put the chicken in a ziplock bag before pounding. If you don’t own a meat mallet, rolling pins work well.

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Before and after.

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Pat dry with paper towels.

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Season with salt and pepper.

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Mound 1/4 cup of the cream cheese filling at the wider end of the chicken, form the cheese into a log, and then roll the chicken up. There will be leftover filling.

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Place the chicken rolls, seam side down in a greased 9 x 13 baking pan. In the future for this recipe we would probably use a slightly bigger pan. As it was our stuffed chicken rolls probably ended up being a bit bigger than the smart folks at America’s Test Kitchen had intended them to be. No biggie really, but any assembled meat roll like this will cook better if it isn’t so massive.

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Mix any remaining filling with the mayonnaise, mustard, and lemon juice.

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Brush this mixture over the tops of the chicken rolls.

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Toss breadcrumbs with butter and sprinkle over chicken. A few notes on the bread crumbs: The recipe calls for you to make your own bread crumbs (a very America’s Test Kitchen-y thing to do), but we were lazy due to dealing with family all weekend so we used (gasp!) store bought bread crumbs. Not a horrible choice, but coarser bread crumbs would have looked better. FYI.

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Bake until breadcrumbs are golden and the very center of the chicken rolls registers 165 degrees on a thermometer, about 30 minutes. I’m not sure this much of the filling was supposed to melt out, but were were having a little trouble regulating the oven temperature.

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Serve with lemon wedges.

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As it turned out these were very rich and delicious. Not to mention they looked very impressive. As I always say, you eat a dish with your eyes first.

A few notes from ATK

-Make sure the chicken rolls do not touch each other in the pan. By using the right size pan, you can avoid burnt breadcrumbs and unevenly cooked chicken.

-Avoid using dried thyme. Dried thyme will add a stale and dusty flavor [they say].

UPDATE: We made these again for Nathan’s birthday with homemade breadcrumbs. We couldn’t find coarse at the store so we made our own. It was amazing the difference that they made. There was a perfect crunch on the outside. This time we made two pans. The first pan was done after thirty minutes. The second pan needed a little more time. It seemed the longer the pan stayed in the oven the more the filling leaked out. These were great the first time around and truly amazing the second time.

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Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breast
Author: 
Recipe type: Poultry
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 Servings
 
Ingredients
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 4 oz goat cheese, softened
  • 2 tsp minced fresh thyme (ATK mentions to stay away from dried thyme or the filling will taste like dust)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 6 TBSP pesto
  • Salt and pepper
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cleaned and trimmed
  • ¾ c Mayonnaise
  • 2 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp fresh lemon juice
  • 3 c breadcrumbs
  • 1 TBSP melted butter
  • Lemon wedges for serving
Instructions
  1. Adjust oven rack to the middle of the oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Stir the cream cheese, goat cheese, thyme, garlic, 6 TBSP of pesto, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper together until smooth.
  3. Pound the chicken to an even ¼ inch thickness. Pat dry with paper towels, season with salt and pepper,.
  4. Mound ¼ of the cream cheese mixture at the wider end of the chicken, form the cheese into a log , and then roll the chicken up. There should be a little leftover filling.
  5. Arrange the chicken rolls, seam side down in a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan.
  6. Mix remaining cream cheese mixture with the mayo, lemon juice, and mustard. Brush over the tops and sides of the chicken rolls.
  7. Mix melted butter with breadcrumbs and sprinkle over chicken.
  8. Bake until breadcrumbs are brown and the very middle of the chicken rolls measure an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Serve with lemon wedges.