I bought 4 slices of prosciutto last time I was at the store, and had yet to use it. I know I had a reason for buying it, but for the life of me can't remember what that might have been. The thought of wrapping it around the chicken breasts I had for dinner appealed to me...I took it a bit further and layered the chicken breasts with diced sundried tomatoes, some soft goat cheese and some of the basil in the herb garden that is in dire need of being used (I did make and freeze some Basil Pesto as well).
Instead of making a cavity in the chicken breasts, I sliced them in half horizontally, creating two thin layers, which I sandwhiched together with the filling, and then wrapped in the prosciutto.
The chicken was moist and juicy, the filling was creamy and tangy, and the prosciutto was crispy and salty. Such a wonderful combination of flavours and textures.
Make the filling by combining:
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3 tablespoons minced sundried tomatoes
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
pinch of salt
Carefully slice the chicken breasts in half horizontally, giving you 2 thin pieces per person. Place one piece from each breast onto a plate, and lightly season with ground black pepper.
Divide the filling between the seasoned chicken
breast slices, spreading it evenly across the meat.
Crumble soft goat cheese over the top of the filling. I used:
1 - 2 tablespoons per piece
Place the second slice of chicken breast on top of the filling, creating a sandwhich our of the original chicken breast and the filling.
Season lightly with black pepper.
Lay 2 pieces of prosciutto per chicken breast side by side on a cutting board, as shown.
Place a stuffed chicken breast onto each one, and roll up to create a package, as shown in the picture.
Chill until you are ready to cook.
Cook in a hot pan, with some olive oil to prevent sticking.
Keep the heat medium high, and cook on the first side until the prosciutto is golden and crisp, then carefully turn over and cook on the second side until the prosciutto is golden and crisp.
Cook until the chicken is fully cooked, turning a few more times during the cooking.
Remove from the heat and allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before cutting in half to show the filling, and serving.
I served the chicken with grilled asparagus, red peppers and zucchini, and boiled new potatoes that were tossed in some Basil Pesto. We opened a bottle of Chardonnay from one of the local wineries here in the Okanagan, and it was a perfect complement to the food. All in all, a really good end to a busy day.
- If you would prefer to stuff the chicken by creating a pocket in the breast, mix the goat cheese with the sundried tomatoes and basil and then stuff it all into the cavity at once.
- There is no need to use toothpicks to hold the chicken together...the prosciutto does that nicely.
- I left the fat on the prosciutto, and as it melted during cooking, it kept the meat moist, and also added flavour.
- Bacon can be used instead of prosciutto; this will give a slightly smoky flavour.
- I added only a small pinch of salt to the filling as I knew that the sundried tomatoes and prosciutto were salty, and people could add more at the table if they chose. It wasn't necessary at all.
- Other cheese that could be used include feta (again, watch the salt, consider rinsing the brine off first), cream cheese, brie.
- I used basil as I have an abundance of it right now, but you can use any herb that you have or like.
- My original plan was to sear the prosciutto wrapped chicken in a pan and then place it into the oven to finish cooking. It was a very hot evening though, and the thought of having the oven on was not very appealing, so I used an ovenproof pan to cook the chicken on the barbecue while I grilled the vegetables. It worked really well, and is worth trying. When the grill is closed, it acts just like an oven.
- The chicken can be filled and wrapped ahead of time, make sure to keep it well wrapped and refrigerated until you cook it.
- Boneless skinless chicken thighs can be used instead of chicken breast. Try using pork or beef tenderloin as well.