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How-To

Crisp Coating, Moist Chicken, Flavorful Fillings

Fine Cooking Issue 69
Photo: Scott Phillips
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If you’re searching for something to serve to company that’s easy to prepare, that everyone will like, and that feels a little special, look no further than stuffed chicken breasts. They’re perfect for casual weekend dinners, and once you get the hang of the technique, you can manage it on a weeknight, too.  

The method we use isn’t fussy, and it ensures a crisp golden crust, moist meat, and cheesy, bold flavors in each bite. You start by making the filling, which can be as simple as a slice of prosciutto and some grated Fontina. Then you cut a pocket into the side of the breast and stuff in the filling. The breasts then get breaded, pan-fried to create a golden brown crust, and baked in the oven to finish cooking. The breading helps protect the meat as it bakes, and the result is a truly moist chicken breast.

We offer four diverse filling recipes, but one of the great things about chicken is that it goes with almost anything. Once you’ve made these recipes a few times, you’ll probably want to try your own filling ideas. When that time comes, here are a few tips to guide you:  

Keep the filling flavors intense but simple. Just a few ingredients can have a big impact. Choosing bold ingredients like capers, sun-dried tomatoes, Parmesan, sautéed shallots or garlic, mustard, and herbs will contribute strong flavors without a lot of fuss.

Include some cheese. We find that cheese in the filling adds a moist, creamy texture. Cheeses like mozzarella, Fontina, and Cheddar have a gorgeous oozy quality when the breast is sliced, and crumbly cheeses like feta and goat cheese get more creamy than melty.

You can spice up the breading. The master method uses a classic breading technique: dredge in flour, then eggs, then breadcrumbs. We often spike the eggs or breadcrumbs with other flavors. Try herbs, spices, citrus zest, or grated hard cheese in the crumbs; or add a dash of mustard or chile sauce to the eggs.

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