When I was growing up, my mom made chicken that we lovingly called “crummy chicken”. She cut up a whole chicken, bathed each piece in melted butter and coated it with a mixture of seasoned breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper.
I later saw recipes that called this Parmesan Chicken but I will always remember it as “crummy chicken”. Every time she made this, we devoured it.
As my taste became more sophisticated and my palate more educated, I no longer wanted a big piece of chicken breast or even thigh. I wanted a bit of chicken mixed with other flavors like goat cheese, olives and sun dried tomatoes. But I still wanted the “crummy chicken” coating. So I put it all together to create this dish.
The boneless skinless chicken breasts are pounded to 1/8” thickness and filled with a delectable mixture of ricotta, goat cheese, Parmesan, sun dried tomatoes and Kalamata olives. This filling is so yummy I take any leftovers—and you may have some depending on the actual size of the chicken breasts—and smear it on toasted baguette slices or bake it with pasta shells. I roll the filled chicken breasts in melted unsalted butter and then coat in the Parmesan breadcrumb mixture—my nod to the “crummy Parmesan chicken”.
It’s important to season your food in every step of this recipe! Chicken breasts are very bland, so you need to be sure every element of the dish is very flavorful. Taste the filling, taste the crumb mixture, taste the tomato sauce!
I bake the stuffed chicken breasts covered at first, then uncovered to get the tops browned. After they are baked, I let them sit and cool and then carefully slice them. You could stop here and serve them. But why stop there? I make my favorite tomato sauce, add a splash of heavy cream and create something even more spectacular.
This is great party fare! While it seems like a complicated recipe, much of the work can easily be done the day before the party. I actually pounded and seasoned the chicken breasts, made the tomato sauce and filling the day before. The day of the party I put it all together and the house smelled like freshly baked “crummy chicken”.
The guests couldn’t wait to chow down!
BONELESS CHICKEN BREASTS STUFFED WITH GOAT CHEESE
EVENT: Baby Shower
SERVES: 8 People
For the tomato sauce:
3 cloves garlic, crushed
6 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 28-oz cans OR, 1 35-oz can San Marzano tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup heavy cream
For the filling:
16 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
11 oz goat cheese
¼ cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
½ cup chopped Kalamata olives
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
For the breading:
1 ½ cups breadcrumbs
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
Pepper to taste
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
For the chicken:
4 whole boneless skinless chicken breasts (allow ½ breast per person)
Salt and pepper to taste
6-8 oz melted unsalted butter
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Make the tomato sauce:
2. Heat the garlic and oil in a saucepan over medium heat for 3 minutes until garlic is translucent.
3. Add the tomatoes, lower the heat and simmer 45 minutes – 1 hour.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add heavy cream just before serving.
Make the filling:
5. Combine: whole milk ricotta cheese, goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives with ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese.
6. Taste. Add salt and pepper. Filling should be very flavorful.
7. Set aside.
Make the breading:
8. Combine breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, and garlic powder with grated Parmesan cheese.
9. Taste. Correct seasoning. Set aside.
Prepare chicken breasts:
10. Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a smooth meat mallet or a rolling pin to 1/8” thickness.
11. Season each breast with salt and pepper.
12. Place generous portion of filling – approximately ½ cup — along center of each breast.
13. Fold the bottom edge of each breast over the stuffing and roll forward until completely wrapped.
14. Gently roll the breast in melted butter, coating completely; then in breadcrumbs to coat.
15. Place breasts in a rectangular baking dish and bake covered for 35 minutes. Uncover and bake for 10 minutes to brown.
16. Let chicken rest on a cutting board 10-20 minutes and then slice into medallions.
17. Serve topped with tomato sauce.