Monday, 15 September 2014

Herbed Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Warm Peach Chutney

Fresh herbs and fresh peaches, two of the things I always miss when summer ends. Why not put them together in one meal?

I decided to stuff some chicken breasts with herbed goat cheese, and to use the peaches to make a warm chutney, nice and light with just enough sweetness and spice to complement the creamy tartness of the goat cheese.

Dice 1 large fresh peach, that has been peeled and pitted.

Mince 1 shallot and grate 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger.

I threw in a piece of star anise and a cinnamon stick.

 In a small amount of olive oil, cook the shallots until they soften.

Add the ginger and cook for a minute or two to bring out the flavour and aroma.

Add the peaches, spices, about 2 slightly heaped tablespoons of brown sugar and about 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar.

Cook over a low heat, until the peaches are soft, but still retain some shape, and the liquid is thickened and almost reduced away.

Taste, and season with salt and pepper. At this point you can adjust the sweetness and tartness to your liking by adding more sugar or vinegar.

I found it was perfect like this, but my husband felt a bit less vinegar would have been better.

This will be served warm.

For the goat cheese stuffing, mix together approximately 1 - 2 tablespoons of soft goat cheese with chopped herbs, salt and black pepper.

I used chives, basil and thyme, finely chopping about 1 tablespoon of each.

Using a small sharp knife, make a slit neat the fat end of the chicken breast. Carefully ease the knife into the breast to form a pocket.

Try not to cut through to the top or bottom of the meat.

Using a finger, carefully ease the pocket open so that you can stuff the chicken.

Divide the goat cheese stuffing by the number of chicken breasts you have and carefully push it into the pocket you have formed.

It gets messy!

Close the opening of the pocket with a toothpick. If your stuffing does squeeze through the front or back of the chicken breast, close that up with a toothpick as well.

Season the breasts with salt and pepper.

Cook the chicken breasts on a hot, well oiled grill, until cooked through.

The cheese does tend to ooze out a bit as it gets hot, especially when you are a bit too generous with the amount you put into each breast, as I was!!

Easy fix...transfer the chicken breasts to an ovenproof pan and continue to cook on the grill.
This way you can still use the cheese that oozes out.

 Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes before serving.

I served this with panfried potatoes and corn, and grilled vegetables. I cut the chicken in half before plating.

  • Chutney relies on a combination of sweetness, spiciness and acidity. Sweetness can come from the fruit itself as well the addition of a sweetener such as brown sugar, maple syrup or honey. The spiciness is a blend of flavourful spices such as cinnamon, ginger, fennel or anise and hot spices such as chili flakes or cayenne pepper. The acidity often comes from the addition of vinegar, but other acids such as lemon or lime juice, or tamarind paste can be used as well. Start with less of everything, and add more to suit your taste.
  • A quick chutney such as this one will keep for a few days in the refrigerator, since it has not been properly canned.
  • Store bought chutney will work as a time saver, but nothing beats the freshness of a homemade chutney.
  • Stuff your chicken breasts with cream cheese, brie or a soft blue cheese instead of goats cheese.
  • Instead of just herbs add other flavours and textures such as finely chopped sundried tomatoes, olives, green onion, roasted or fresh red peppers, cooked mushrooms, roasted garlic or caramelized onions.
  • The chicken breasts can be stuffed ahead of time, and kept well wrapped in the refrigerator, or even frozen. Defrost before cooking.
  • These chicken breasts can be panfried, or seared in a hot pan and then placed in the oven to finish cooking. This allows you to use the pan to make a sauce or gravy.
  • Pork tenderloin can be stuff the same way. Cut it into individual serving sized pieces, then make a cavity starting from one end, making sure not to go the whole way through. Dried apricots, soaked in hot water, then pushed into the cavity give a beautiful sweetness to the pork, and when you slice through the tenderloin, the presentation often sparks quite the conversation!

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