Thanks to Stoneridge Orchards for sponsoring this post for goat cheese stuffed chicken, a flavorful, comforting main that will be an instant hit.
I have really grown to love fall in New England as the colors are so beautiful, mornings are crisp but the skies are still blue. And much as I love grilling in the summer, I have to admit to being a bit excited about making more meals in the oven. Comfort foods are just that – warming and comforting, which is just what you need as it gets cooler and the nights darker. And this goat’s cheese stuffed chicken with spinach and cranberries is a perfect addition to the menu.
This dish might look fancy, but it is easier than you might think to make. And with some tasty Stoneridge Orchards cranberries, spinach and pine nuts in the stuffing, it’s not a huge indulgence either. You can put this together in a little over half an hour, meaning it would be just as good for a midweek meal as served at a dinner party.
We’ve been a little addicted to Stoneridge Orchards’ berries in our house in recent months. Both of my boys love snacking on them, and I love adding them into various dishes as well. You might remember the delicious overnight breakfast bake that I made a few months ago with their dried cherries.
This recipe uses their dried cranberries which have a lovely balance of sweetness, tartness and juiciness. Along with the other ingredients, it makes for a truly wonderful filling for the chicken, without being overly complicated, that will be the star of any plate.
How they’re made
For the stuffing, you simply toast the pine nuts, then soften the garlic in a little oil. Add the spinach to wilt it down then let it cool. Add in the goats cheese, cranberries and the toasted pine nuts and that’s it. You can make the stuffing ahead if it helps your schedule as well. For the chicken, you make a little hole on one side then cut round inside to make a pocket for the stuffing. Fill the pocket, press the chicken together then sear the outside before finishing it in the oven. The filling may well come out a bit but don’t worry, it will still be delicious.
This goat cheese stuffed chicken with spinach and cranberries has that wonderful balance of comforting flavor but without being too heavy. It’s fancy enough for a dinner party but quick enough for any night. Being relatively healthy is no bad thing, either, but it definitely doesn’t skip on flavor. I know it will be back on our menu soon – when will you put it on yours?
Comforting, flavorful and great both for a fancy meal or an everyday dinner.
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil divided
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- 1 cup baby spinach 30g, roughly chopped
- 2 chicken breasts approx 1lb/450g
- 2 tbsp goat cheese
- 2 tbsp dried cranberries I used Stoneridge
Toast the pine nuts in a dry small-medium skillet/frying pan that is big enough to fit both the chicken breasts and that can go in the oven over a medium heat. Watch them closely as they can quickly burn. Once gently brown, tip out and set aside.
Put the skillet back on the heat and add 1/2 tbsp oil. Add the garlic and cook a minute so that it cooks a little but doesn't burn, then add the chopped spinach. Cook for a minute, turning so that it all wilts down. Remove from the skillet and set aside to cool.
Preheat the oven to 400F/200C.
As the spinach is cooling, make a small cut into the side of each chicken breast and then use the knife to open it up inside while keeping the opening small. Try not to cut through the chicken on any other side - you're just creating a pocket.
Add the goat cheese, dried cranberries and the toasted pine nuts to the cooled spinach and mix so everything is mixed through then fill the chicken breasts with the mixture. Press together the opening to close it up as best you can (it will open in cooking, but this saves too much filling escaping).
Warm the rest of the oil in the skillet over a medium heat and cook the chicken for around 3 minutes on each side to gently brown it. Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for around 10 minutes until it is cooked through.
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