I’ve used this versatile recipe as a simple family supper, when entertaining dinner guests and even once when I catered a small wedding for a friend. It is a hit whenever and wherever I make it. I love apricots but if you are not as fond of them, try substituting raisins, dried cranberries or even chopped dried figs.
Pictured with Apricot Apple Relish and Roasted Sweet Potatoes
4 six ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
Prepare the chicken breasts by butterfly cutting the breasts. Remove the fillet from the breast if it is still attached. Lay the breast flat on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, starting at the thinnest side, cut the breast in half horizontally stopping just short of cutting all the way through. Fold the breast open, doubling the surface area. At this point, if necessary, you can lay the breast out flat and cover it with plastic wrap and very gently pound it out to an even thickness using the flat side of a mallet.
For the stuffing:
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 clove chopped garlic
3 cups crusty French or Italian bread, toasted and cut in small cubes
1 tbsp dry basil
1 tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp ground black pepper
Salt to season
½ cup toasted roughly chopped pecans, toasted
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
2 tbsp melted butter
1/3 cup chicken stock
Sauté garlic in olive oil and add to remaining ingredients. Toss together well.
For the breading, mix together:
½ cup cornflake crumbs
½ cup cracker crumbs
¼ tsp black pepper
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp dry basil
Press a handful of the stuffing into an egg shaped ball and place it in the center of each butterflied chicken breast. Fold the edges toward the center to completely cover the stuffing. If you have the fillets that were removed from the breasts, you can use them by placing them just under the seam where the breast meat meets on the bottom.
Dip each stuffed breast into an egg wash of 1 egg mixed with 2 tbsp milk, then dip into the breading mix. Brush 2 tbsp olive oil over the bottom of a large baking dish. Place the breaded chicken breasts, seam side down into the prepared baking dish and bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.