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Found this at WholeFoods.com yesterday. It just jumped up a grabbed me by the throat while I was calmly crusin', and I just had to fix my version of it for dinner. It was great! Luckily we had everything in the larder, or I would have just HAD to go to the store; it grabbed me that hard! One of these days, I will share my recipes for spinach salad and brown rice pilaf that really go well with it.
- 4 large boneless skinless chicken breast halves, fat discarded,washed,patted dry,and gently pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
- 4 -5 ounces goat cheese, mild or aged,at room temperature
- 2 bunches fresh spinach, stemmed,washed,drained,and coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 -3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 shallots, minced or 1⁄4 cup chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried thyme, lightly crushed
- 1⁄2 cup drained chopped jarred roasted red pepper (optional)
- 3 -4 tablespoons chopped pitted kalamata olives or 3 -4 tablespoons other mediterranean olives
- 1 -2 tablespoon chopped capers
- 1⁄4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
- 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons butter (preferred) or 2 tablespoons olive oil, for brushing chicken,divided
- sweet paprika (optional)
- 1⁄4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves (optional)
- nonstick cooking spray
- Heat olive oil in a large deep pot over medium-high heat, and saute the garlic, shallot, and thyme for 2 minutes, until softened.
- Add the spinach, and saute for 1 minute longer, until just wilted, but still bright green and not mushy.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, remove from heat, and let cool enough to handle.
- Squeeze about half of the spinach dry using your hands; you should have a tennis ball size mass after squeezing.
- Refrigerate the remaining spinach for another use, and coarsely chop the squeezed ball of spinach.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Spray an 8"x8" baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a small bowl, mix the optional roasted red peppers with the olives, capers, optional walnuts, and balsamic vinegar.
- Combine this mixture with the softened goat cheese, and set aside.
- If desired, divided in quarters, and refrigerate until firm (recommended, but not required).
- Sprinkle both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, and place breasts skin-side down on a flat surface.
- Spread about one quarter of the spinach mixture in the center of each pounded chicken breast.
- Evenly divide the goat cheese mixture among the chicken breasts, placing a piece in the center of each breast.
- Fold the sides of each breast up and around the filling to form a more or less ball shaped package, sealing the bottom of the chicken packages as well as possible without getting fanatical about it.
- Place the chicken in prepared baking pan, pretty side up.
- Brush with about half of the butter, and sprinkle to taste with salt and pepper.
- Cover with aluminum foil, and bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
- Turn oven to broil.
- Uncover chicken, brush with remaining butter, and sprinkle with a little optional paprika, if desired, and broil just until the chicken is nicely browned.
- Place the chicken on a serving platter and sprinkle with parsley if desired.
- Serve with brown rice and a spinach salad dressed with vinaigrette and homemade croutons.
- Serves 4.
These were good, Toby. Very pretty little packages, dinner party worthy. I was disappointed in the amount of goat cheese left by the time they were cooked. Next time I think I'll double up on the cheese and somehow stretch that pretty chicken to cover it. I used the sweet paprika, oil instead of butter and skinless breasts (because that's what I had) and it was yummy.