Friday, February 07, 2014

Bacon Wrapped, Walnut and Spinach Chicken

I got this recipe from Rachael Ray. You know I have to try it, if it involves BACON

Well, I'm not a chef, or a Rachael Ray, so I gave it my best shot.  She wasn't clear down toward the end of her recipe that the last few ingredients were part of a fancy salad*, so I mistakenly put some vinegar and onion in the stuff mix!

However, I think it turned out well, but I did have to drizzle honey over the top to dampen the vinegar a bit!  However, the rest inside was fine, but I do not like celery cooked or watercress, so I left that out completely.

That all being said, here are the ingredients for my attempt.  I should point out that Rachael's recipe was for 6 chicken breasts, and I only used 3, but I did attempt to put more stuffing inside each of mine.  Use her ingredients if you want to cook 6, or freeze 3 for later.

  • 4 ounces walnuts (about 3/4 cup), toasted, cooled and coarsely chopped 
  • 1 brick Neufchatel cheese or cream cheese (8 ounces), softened 
  • 1 box chopped frozen spinach (10 ounces), defrosted and well-drained 
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
  • Salt and pepper (Don't forget this step before stuffing is added to the fillet.  I did and had to salt and pepper midway through the oven cooking.  Not as good as before!)
  • Freshly grated nutmeg 
  • 6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, breasts butterflied to open them up like a book 
  • 1/3 pound thinly sliced smoky bacon or speck  (Thinly sliced may work better than my thick sliced, but I liked it though it didn't brown the way I wanted it.)
  • 1/4 tablespoon olive or canola oil, divided 
  • Juice of 1 lemon 
  • 1 crisp apple, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced 

Pre-heat the oven to 400°F. 

Combine the walnuts with the soft cheese, spinach, garlic, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and divide the cheese mixture among the breasts. 
Close the chicken breasts over the filling. Wrap the chicken with bacon or speck, slightly overlapping the slices. 
Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon oil and lightly brown the chicken on all sides. 

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 15-20 (This depends on how thin your breasts are.  Watch and adjust.) minutes to cook through. 

*Here is where I messed up!  The following directions are for a salad.  I served mine with potato salad instead. 

While the chicken is in the oven, whisk up the lemon juice, vinegar, Dijon, honey (I'll put the honey inside next time.) and the remaining olive oil. Combine the apple, celery, onion and greens with dressing and season with salt and pepper. 

Serve the stuffed chicken with the salad (or potato salad) alongside. 

Despite a couple of mistakes, it was delicious!
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