Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pounded, Stuffed, Wrapped & Devoured (Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts)

Last week my longtime best friend, Kate, came up to visit me. It was so fun and special having her here and I am so glad she took the time to come all the way up to our out-of-the-way corner of Washington! Kate and I enjoy a lot of the same things, a few being quality coffee, Scrabble, chocolate, classic literature and, last but not nearly least: good food. So I thought it would be fun to try a new recipe together! Last year when she visited we tried making manicotti. Mmm! This time around I chose something different, a new recipe from the cookbook: Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts (which we decided needs a much more imaginative and elegant name!). How could you go wrong with a recipe that consisted of chicken breast stuffed with spinach, sour cream, pepper jack cheese and garlic and...wait for it...wrapped in bacon?? I decided it was a must on our agenda of things to do.
It was a beautiful day. So after a walk in the sunshine and a very competitive game of Scrabble played outside on our picnic table (which I won, thank you!) we got to work on our masterpieces. I had never pounded chicken before, but Kate had, so she counseled me on which instrument to use (I have no meat pounder). We decided that the bottom of a small frying pan would work just as well and it did.

I placed the thawed chicken breast between some plastic wrap and gave it a few whacks with the pan. Surprisingly, it only took a few thumps to flatten the chicken to the specified 1/2 an inch.

We later reflected that it probably could have been a bit thinner, as it seemed to spring back somewhat after a little while.
While I pounded away, making a good racket, Kate wilted the fresh spinach in the microwave, stirring every minute or so until it was limp. Then she added sour cream, minced garlic and shredded Tillamook pepper jack cheese.

This part was when it was very nice to have 4 hands involved! While I held the chicken breast, Kate scooped the filling inside and tucked it in here and there. Then while I wrapped the whole thing in two slices of bacon, she secured it with toothpicks. The chicken didn't quite wrap completely around the filling (which is why we should probably have pounded a little more...), but with the bacon it was secure and close enough! With the toothpicks sticking out all over we joked that they look like little space creatures! We placed them into an 8x8 pan, and there was little room to spare.

While they were cooking we prepared brown rice and a green salad. When I checked on the chicken later, I noticed there was a lot of liquid in the pan (presumably from the sour cream, spinach and cheese), but Kate & I decided this probably helped to keep the chicken moist. The recipe said to turn the oven up to 500 for the last 10 minutes of cooking time to crisp the bacon, which I did, but it still didn't seem crisp enough, so I removed the chicken from the pan and put it on a cookie sheet and returned it to the oven for another 5 minutes or so at that high heat. It came out perfectly!

When we took our first bites there were sounds of enjoyment all around the table. It was sooo good! The combination of flavors was excellent and the textures were also wonderful! We even drizzled the flavorful liquid from the pan over our rice, and it was delicious. Kate and I looked at each other and grinned. "This one's a keeper, don't you think?" She nodded, "Definitely."

Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast
(printable version)
by "Jerseygirl_Chell" on
serves 4

1 (10 oz) package of fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/2 in. thickness
1 pinch ground black pepper
8 slices bacon

Preheat oven to 375.
Place spinach in a large glass bowl, and heat in the microwave for 3 minutes, stirring every minute or so, or until wilted. Stir in sour cream, pepperjack cheese, and garlic.
Lay the chicken breasts out on a clean surface, and spoon some of the spinach mixture onto each one. Roll up the chicken to enclose the spinach, then wrap each chicken breast with two slices of bacon. Secure with toothpicks and arrange seam side down in a shallow baking dish.
Bake uncovered for 35 minutes in the preheated oven, then increase heat to 500 or use the oven's broiler to cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes to brown the bacon (I removed the chicken from the pan and put it on a cookie sheet after this and cooked it another 5 min. or so at the high temp.).


  1. Mmm, I bet Josh would love these!! You need to post the recipe :)

  2. I did remember and updated it earlier today...maybe it hadn't changed over yet?


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