This recipe is a little complicated, but once you get the knack of cutting the slit in the chicken, it's not hard at all. I had a bit of a mishap with the photography, so the finished product picture is in black and white (trust me, it's better that way).
Cranberry Apple Stuffed Chicken Breasts
- 1 granny smith apple, peeled and diced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock, plus a splash
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Cook the diced apple until tender, about 3 to 4 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix the cooked apple, cranberries, shallots and a splash of the chicken stock and set aside.
- Cut a deep horizontal pocket in the side of each chicken breast. Make the pocket as large as you can without piercing the top or bottom of the breast. Place 1/4 of the apple mixture in the pocket of each chicken breast. Secure the pocket with toothpicks threading along the side to close.
- Heat the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons oil in a heavy oven-proof skillet until it begins to smoke. Cook each side of the chicken until golden brown.
- Add the vinegar and chicken stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and gently simmer the chicken for 2 or 3 minutes per side until cooked through. Add any remaining cranberry apple mixture to the skillet.
- Remove the chicken breasts from the skillet and keep warm. Remove toothpicks. Continue to cook the sauce until it is reduced to a thick syrup.
- Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the sauce over each chicken breast to serve.
(Toothpicks inserted to show pocket. Do NOT put toothpicks inside the pocket)
Pocket stuffed and sealed with a toothpick
I used cherry-flavored Craisins, and it came out pretty good. You want the pocket in the chicken to be as deep as possible, but you want the opening to be fairly small so you don't have to use very many toothpicks to seal it. I try to seal the pocket with just 1 toothpick. Keep a good count of how many toothpicks you use! It can be harder to see them once the chicken is cooked, but you don't want to bite into a toothpick.