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From the July 1996 Gourmet magazine, these chicken breasts are really wonderful. This recipe calls for chicken breasts with the 'tenders', but I can rarely find them this way. I just stuff the chicken breasts with basil and wrap with bacon as described below. I have also tried these by stuffing them with some goat cheese too, that we liked a lot.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- In a small saucepan of boiling water blanch basil 2 seconds and drain in a sieve.
- Rinse basil under cold water to stop cooking and pat dry on paper towels.
- Put 1 whole chicken breast, skinned side down, on a work surface and remove "tender" (fillet strip located on either side of where breast bone was) from each breast half, keeping rest of chicken breast intact.
- (There should be 2 tenders from each whole breast.).
- Put 2 tenders side by side and wrap 7 basil leaves around them to enclose them.
- Season remainder of whole breast with salt and pepper and put basil-wrapped tenders lengthwise down middle of 1 breast half.
- Fold other breast half over to enclose tenders.
- Beginning on underside at 1 end of breast, wrap bacon slices snugly but without stretching, 1 at a time, around breast in a continuous overlapping spiral from 1 end to the other. (You will need about 4 to 5 bacon slices for each breast.).
- Remove tenders from remaining 2 chicken breasts and stuff and wrap breasts in same manner.
- Sprinkle crushed peppercorns evenly over bacon wrappings.
- Heat a 9- to 10-inch cast-iron skillet over moderately high heat until hot.
- Sliding a metal spatula under wrapped chicken breasts to keep bacon intact, transfer 2 breasts, undersides down, to skillet.
- Cook chicken, turning it only after bacon on underside is golden, until bacon is golden and crisp on all sides, about 4 minutes total.
- Transfer chicken as browned to a plate and cook remaining breasts in same manner.
- Pour off fat from skillet and return all 3 chicken breasts to skillet.
- Roast chicken in middle of oven 15 minutes, or until firm to the touch and just cooked through.
- Transfer chicken with tongs to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes before slicing.