Sunday, July 27, 2008

Leah's Fancy Pesto Encrusted Stuffed Chicken Breasts

In these lean times, I make sure to use up any and all food - but do not wish to dummy-down my palette in anyway! This dish I made up the other day since I had all the ingredients handy. Looked great out of the oven, tasted amazing since the pesto became crunchy and the corn bread stuffing ensured a moist chicken breast. A wonderful dish for parties or for a special evening in.

I had made corn bread that didn't get all eaten up, so I had cut it into large cubes, and let it air dry for a day, then threw it into the freezer for future use as corn bread stuffing. I happen to also have made pesto the other night and thought this would be a nice twist to simple oven roasted chicken breasts.

I am also saving money by buying chicken whole, and cutting it up myself - this amazing meal for two cost me a total of $5.00 if that when all ingredients tallied up - we got a huge kick out of that, since taste was not denied by us in any way!


  • One large breast of chicken with the bone still in.
  • 2 cups cubed corn bread (preferably homemade)
  • 2 tablespoons each fresh herbs: parsley, rosemary, mint
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1-2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 onion - cut into chunks
  • 2-4 potatoes with skins, washed and cut up into 2 inch size chunks
  • other vegetables that are good to roast: fennel, carrots, etc. cut up (optional)
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 3-4 toothpicks for each chicken breasts
  • Preheated oven 350 degrees
  • 3-4 tablespoons or more of basil pesto (homemade preferred)
  • deep heavy skillet or roasting pan (I used my Le Cruset deep skilled)

  1. In small bowl, add orange juice to corn bread cubes, then melted butter and 1/3 of the minced fresh herbs and all of the minced garlic. Stir to combine and set aside for a moment.
  2. Rinse well and pat dry large chicken breasts.
  3. With knife, create pocket for stuffing with each chicken breast. If you have the chicken breast in front of you, start cutting from the higher end of the chicken breast down to the lower end - in other words, start pocket where the meat is deepest, you want to create the pocket as close to the bone as possible.
  4. Drizzle a little olive oil into your roasting pan.
  5. In another bowl, add vegetables and onions, add remaining minced herbs, salt and pepper and drizzle a little olive oil. Stir with hands to coat each cut veggie with the herbs, S&P and olive oil.
  6. Place stuffing into pockets and with toothpicks close up pockets, using skin of chicken to help pinch close the openings.
  7. Put chicken breasts skin side up into roasting pan.
  8. Add vegetables around chicken breasts.
  9. Spread a tablespoon of basil pesto on the tops of the chicken breasts.
  10. Then place into oven and go about your business.
  11. Roasting time should be anywhere from 45-70 minutes depending upon the size of your chicken breasts. To ensure they are done, you can fork them to make sure the juices run clear.
  12. The pesto adds extra flavor and becomes crusty and crunchy once out of the oven. Let chicken breasts rest for 5-8 minutes before serving.
  13. Enjoy!

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