Chicken breasts stuffed with olives and goat cheese

June 27, 2014

I get more requests for the boneless, skinless chicken breast than anything else!   Here, chicken breasts are stuffed and then seared until golden-brown. The pan sauce is made separately, which both saves time and prevents the stuffing from getting into the velvety sauce.  Although really tasty, the sauce is optional, depending on how much time you want to devote to the dish. I have made it both ways very successfully.


Serves 4
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 1-1/2 lb. total)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 oz. fresh goat cheese, at room temp
2 Tbs. coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives
2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
1-1/2 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 oz. (6 Tbs.) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
3 Tbs. minced shallots
1-1/2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
2 Tbs. lower-salt chicken broth

With a sharp knife, cut a wide pocket into the thickest part of each chicken breast half, taking care not to cut all the way through. Season the chicken evenly on both sides with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper total.
In a small bowl, mix the cheese, olives, and 1 tsp. each lemon zest and rosemary. Stuff the pockets with the cheese mixture and pin each shut with two toothpicks. Spread the flour in a shallow bowl and dredge the chicken in the flour, shaking off the excess.
Heat 1 Tbs. of the butter and the oil in a 12-inch heavy-duty skillet over medium-high heat until the foam from the butter subsides. Add the chicken and cook, flipping once and adding another 1 Tbs. of butter halfway through cooking, until golden-brown and cooked through (reduce the heat to medium if necessary), 14 to 16 minutes total. Transfer to plates and remove the toothpicks. You can put them in the oven on low at this point, to stay warm, or even finish cooking at 300 F for 10 mins or so, if you like.
While the chicken cooks, melt 1 Tbs. of the butter in an 8-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the vinegar and boil until syrupy, about 3 minutes. Add the broth and boil for 1 minute more. Off the heat, whisk in the remaining 3 Tbs. butter, 1 tsp. zest, and 1/2 tsp. rosemary. Serve the chicken drizzled with the sauce.