Christmas Stuffed chicken breasts

Why carve a turkey when you can stuff a chicken?

I admit, not a question that one is faced with very often but when it arises I vote for the chicken breast any day. It’s not that I don’t love a big turkey with all the trimmings but I am a self confessed loather of carving birds and when you have a house full of guests and a million vege on the go I think one should be forgiven for taking an easier, but just as tasty, route.

My chicken breasts below were stuffed with a seasonal mix of sage, onion, apple, pancetta and lemon for a fresh and zesty stuffing that adds lashings of flavour to a classic roast dinner. I then wrapped my chicken with extra pancetta to mimic bacon rashers on top of the turkey and to top the dish off with that yummy, salty,  crunchy flavour.

Other twists to this stuffing is the addition of sausage meat, chestnuts or parmesan cheese, all of which work brilliantly with the core flavours. But if like me you think less is more then try this simpler recipe first before embellishing with other ingredients.

Stuffed Chicken uncooked

Ingredients: (For the stuffing) Butter, grated zest of 2 lemons plus some of the juice, big handful fresh chopped sage, 1 large peeled and grated apple, 80g cubed pancetta, 100g breadcrumbs, 1-2 eggs, salt, pepper, nutmeg, (For the meat) 2 large Chicken breasts and pancetta or bacon slices to wrap the chicken breasts.

Preparation: 10 mins

1. Melt a knob of butter and lightly sweat the onions before stirring in the lemon zest and sage for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

2. Once cooled add in the pancetta, grated apple and breadcrumbs.

3. Season the mix with the salt, pepper and nutmeg and then add in 1 or 2 eggs (depending on their size). The egss need to hold the mix together so if 1 egg isn’t enough then add in a second.

4. Taste the mix and if the lemon zest is lost then you can add in some of the lemon juice at this stage to boost the flavour.

5. Leave to rest for a few hours in the fridge before using.

6. Slice open the chicken breasts and stuff with a generous amount of stuffing. Close and wrap the chicken with the pancetta slices and place in an oiled baking dish.

7. You can bake any left over stuffing in a dish for c. 20-30 minutes.

8. The chicken breasts need to be cooked at c. 190C until the juices run clear. Timings will depend on the weight and size of the breasts but allow roughly 1 hour for 1 kg. The best tip is to check regularly as chicken dries out easily and you want to ensure you catch it whilst still lovely and moist.

9. I served mine with roast potatoes, roast pumpkin and sauted leeks.

The stuffing helps keep the chicken moist and the pancetta wrap gives the perfect crunch so you have the beauty of 3 different textures of stuffing, meat and pancetta. Delicious!

I’m off home for christmas to enjoy a couple of weeks of home cooked UK grub so I shall be taking a break from the blog but aspect to be hit with lots of new recipes and photos in the new year. Merry Christmas to one and all!

Stuffed Chicken cooked

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