Bacon and Basil-Wrapped Chicken Breasts

READY IN: 45mins




  • 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.