This chicken recipe is filled with Mediterranean flavors and pairs well with couscous. Use mozzarella or provolone for a milder kid's dish.
5 ounces fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 350°.
Heat a large nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach to pan; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts, tossing constantly. Place spinach in a colander; press until barely moist. Wipe pan clean.
Combine spinach, cheese, nuts, thyme, juice, and garlic. Cut a horizontal slit through the thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff 3 tablespoons filling into each pocket. Seal with wooden picks. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until brown. Add broth, and cover pan. Place pan in oven. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until done.
I definitely would make this for guests but for now the family loved it. Its easy, elegant and nutritious. I didn't have chicken broth so I just deglazed with a nice pinot grigio and popped it into the oven for an additional 10 mins over the 15 mins in the recipe. I like chicken to be done and since it was steaming in liquid I wasn't concerned it would dry out. Excellent! Also for the spices I just used herbs de Provence which just seems easier.
We thought this was good, not great. I felt the chicken needed more than just salt and pepper - maybe a sprinkling of thyme there too? Also, next time instead of oven roasting, I'm going to try to grill them on our Traeger, maybe that will add to the flavor.
Great recipe! Lends itself to many variations: substitute spinach with kale or broccoli rabe, or substitute basil for the spinach, variety of cheeses, nuts, seasonings (herbs, spices, & aromatics), onion, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, artichokes, roasted peppers, etc.
I sauté my greens with a little onion & garlic, s & p. Then I continue with step 3. Use some lemon zest along with the juice. Crushed red pepper flakes add zing. Be sure to toast the pine nuts first. For the poster - Btw, pine nuts (plant) have no bad cholesterol, only good. It actually decreases bad cholesterol. They are high in kcal. The cholesterol listed is from the cheese and chicken (animal products).
I didn't have any thyme or pine nuts so I subbed in some fresh mint leaf. It was delicious. The technique is spot on - cooking it in a covered pan with broth ensures the chicken doesn't dry out in the oven. I'll definitely be making this again!