Caprese Stuffed Chicken
Chicken has to be my least favorite protein to cook with. Sometimes I struggle cooking it all the way through and flavoring it well. One day, after about an hour of mindless Pinteresting, I came across a recipe for Caprese Chicken. For those who don't know, a Caprese salad (pronounced kuh-prey-zee) is a traditional Italian salad with mozzarella slices, tomato, basil, balsamic vinegar and a little olive oil. In the recipe I saw, the chicken was cooked in a pan directly with tomatoes and balsamic vinegar, then topped with mozzarella cheese. I wanted to put my twist on this recipe, so, I decided to stuff the chicken with a Caprese salad and the results were delicious.
Ingredients (for one chicken breast)
Handful of basil
1 chicken breast
5 cherry or grape tomatoes
Salt and Pepper
Making the Caprese Salad
The great thing about this recipe is that you can add as much or as little of an ingredient as you want. So feel free to play with the amounts you use.
Start by roughly chopping about a handful of basil. Unfortunately, I am not Giada De Laurentiis so I don't have basil growing around my house. I bought packaged basil from the grocery store that was separated into bushels. All I really needed to do from there was remove the leaves from the stems and wash them with some cold water.
Next, prepare the mozzarella. What's perfect for this recipe are those little mozzarella balls that are in olive oil. Sadly, Kroger wanted to punish me so I had to buy a huge ball of mozzarella. I cut a 1/2 inch slice off the fist size ball, then cut that slice into 6 cubes.
Add the basil, mozzarella and the tomatoes to a bowl then drizzle with some balsamic vinegar. Stir the ingredients together and your stuffing is ready.
Stuffing and Cooking the Chicken
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Depending on the size of your chicken breast, you may need to tenderize it first. My chicken breast was about an inch and a half thick. I used the flat side of a meat tenderizer to pound the chicken until it was my desired thickness (preferably one inch or less) . This also helps it cook evenly and all the way.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper (to taste) on both sides, then cut a pocket in the chicken. I cut my pocket in the wide side then used my fingers to help separate the skin. Be careful not to accidentally cut all of the way through the chicken. We aren't trying to butterfly it.
Using a spoon or tongs, put the Caprese mix in the chicken pocket. If you're worried about spillage, you can use tooth picks or small skewers to close the pocket.
Make a pouch for the the chicken with tin foil and seal it before putting it in the oven. This will keep the chicken from drying out. Bake the chicken for 30 minutes.
Once the chicken is finished, add an extra drizzle of balsamic vinegar on top, and enjoy!