Balsamic Peach, Basil + Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast with an Arugula Salad
I’ve been seeing a lot of chefs whip up stuffed chicken breasts, and I wanted to give it a try and add my own summery spin. Many of the versions I’ve seen on the Internet incorporate a cheese and leafy green mixture inside of the chicken breast (most commonly: creamy spinach artichoke chicken breasts, which look delicious.) For my version, I wanted to add a bright pop of flavor, along with a cheese and leafy green. To achieve my dream stuffed chicken, I mixed together arugula, basil, goat cheese and some beautiful balsamic peaches!
Ok, please don’t let the idea of chicken being stuffed with fruit scare you! We eat orange chicken all the time… we also eat tomatoes with chicken all the time… so peaches aren’t that different. If I *must* persuade you to try this peachy chicken, here is why: these peaches are cooked with some balsamic vinegar to bring a savory, acidic punch to their tartness and sweetness. They really remind me of a slightly fruitier and more tart version of a tomato. I promise that you will love them.
Another thing I want to note is that you don’t have to brine the chicken, but I do recommend doing it for the juiciest outcome. We are finishing these chicken breasts in the oven and that can lead to a dry, tough chicken, if it’s not brined beforehand. You only have to brine these for a minimum of 20 minutes, and during this time, you can prep your ingredients, make your peaches and combine filling.
“How do you brine chicken“ you ask? Well!!! Let me tell you!!! For two chicken breasts, bring 5 cups of water to a boil and add 5 tbsp of salt. If you are using a really large bowl and need more water to fully cover the chicken, just add 1 tbsp of salt per 1 cup of water and follow the same instructions. Bring the water to a boil or heat it up until its really hot, then mix in the salt until it’s dissolved. Remove the water from the heat and transfer it to a chilled bowl. Add a bunch of ice cubes into the water and let it cool to at least room temp, or cooler. Once it’s cooled, place the chicken into the mixture and let it brine for up to an hour. It’s really that easy. If you don’t have ice on hand, you can dissolve 5 tbsp of salt into 2 cups of hot or boiling water, then just add 3 cups of cold water to neutralize the temperature afterwards. I’ve never tried this method, but I am pretty sure it will work just the same. Just make sure the salt is fully dissolved and that the water is NOT hot at all when you put the chicken breasts into it. Also make sure the chicken breasts are fully coated in the water when they are brining.
Now let’s make some stuffed chicken!!! I always find video to be the most helpful when teaching any kind of cooking, so feel free to watch my tutorial below before you read the recipe and get started!
|1/3cup balsamic vinegar|
|2 chicken breasts|
|1/2cup fresh basil leaves|
|1/4cup goat cheese|
|2tbsp balsamic peaches|
|3tbsp olive oil|
|1tbsp balsamic vinegar|
|Pinch of salt|
|Balsamic Reduction (for topping, if you want or need more)|
|1/2cup balsamic vinegar|
|Oven-safe skillet or dutch oven|
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Brine the chicken as you prepare the ingredients. Instructions on brining are in the body of the blog post!
In a mixing bowl, combine the arugula, basil and 3 tbsp of goat cheese until a cheesy paste is formed. The greens should be comfortably coated in the cheese. Set that cheese mixture aside along with the extra 1 tbsp of goat cheese that you reserved.
Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium heat. Season with about 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the sliced peaches to the skillet and sauté for 5 minutes, until slightly soft and golden brown. Then, add 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar and lower the heat. Continue to sauté until the balsamic vinegar reduces and becomes a thick syrup. If it doesn't seem to be thickening, turn up the heat and bring the vinegar to a boil. It should thicken very quickly. Once the balsamic vinegar is syrup-y, remove the peach mixture from the heat and save any extra balsamic reduction in a separate bowl.
Remove the chicken from the brining liquid and place the breasts onto a paper towel. Thoroughly dry off the chicken on all sides.
Carefully take a large knife and slice the chicken breast lengthwise, in the middle of the breast. Don't slice all the way through. Stop when you're about 3/4 the way through the chicken breast. It should open up like a book. Repeat with the second chicken breast.
Take the peach mixture and set aside 2 tbsp of peaches for your salad. Place the rest of the peaches into a new bowl. You'll be using your hands to stuff these into the chicken, so it's important you don't include the salad peaches in the same bowl!
Open up each chicken breast and generously spread a layer of the goat cheese and greens mixture onto the surface. Next, add a layer of the sliced peaches. Top the peaches with a little more of the goat cheese and greens mixture, then add some small dollops of plain goat cheese on top and around the sides of the peaches. The goal here is to create layers of creamy, crunch, tangy, earthy and tart flavors! Layer however you would like, or watch the video to see how I did it!