“If God grants me longer life, I will see to it that no peasant in my kingdom will lack the means to have a chicken in the pot every Sunday.”
– Henri IV of France
First off, hello everyone! It has been a while since I posted a new recipe. May has been an intense month – the first 3 days were spent at Gujora Beach on Geoje Island (see right). It was just beautiful there and so much fun, too! Around 11 of us went, and we barbecued tons of food: hamburgers, chicken, pork, and vegetables for nearly every meal. The following weekend I celebrated a friend’s birthday in Seoul, and since then I’ve just been trying to catch up on normal everyday life while trying to perfect the following recipe. Which I did, finally, on Saturday morning!
Over the last month, I think I’ve had various versions of this recipe about 6 times, and I am at the point where I am almost sick of chicken (but can one ever, really, be sick of chicken?). Luckily, I have plenty of taste testers in my group of friends, and one of them in particular was really helpful in deciding the final ingredients. He has tasted three different versions, and it was his inspired suggestion that lead me to include tomatoes. So, thank you, Luke 1.0!
This recipe, for as long as it took me to get just right, is a relatively easy one to make. The “pesto” is the hardest amount of work, and all you are doing is blitzing the ingredients with a hand-blender! I really like how crispy the chicken gets and how well the mozzarella and tomatoes go with the pesto. I had wanted to incorporate spinach and pumpkin seeds into a stuffed chicken recipe for a while, and I think that it works perfectly with the basil pesto as it not only brightens the colour of the pesto, but also adds texture and richness. Additionally, the spinach gives you a little iron, and the pumpkin seeds some zinc. (According to the World’s Healthiest Foods website zinc is incredibly important for our immune systems. As someone who has a terrible one, this is really important for me.)
I hope you like this recipe and it becomes a regular in your repertoire of dishes!
Spinach, Pumpkin Seed and Caprese Stuffed Chicken
- 1 tbsp green pesto
- ½ cup spinach, washed and excess water spun out
- 2 garlic cloves, whole
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- ½ cup mozzarella, diced*
- 1 cup flour, seasoned with salt and pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- 1 cup breadcrumbs**
- 4 Chicken breasts
- 8 thin slices buffalo mozzarella cheese
- 1/3-½ cup of sundried tomatoes in oil*
- 2-4 tbsp olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Meanwhile, using a blender (I used a hand blender), blend together the pesto, spinach and garlic cloves.
- Add the pumpkin seeds, the hard mozzarella cheese and seasoning. Blitz until most of the pumpkin seeds are ground up and the cheese has mostly blended with the other ingredients (it kind of looks like a pesto without the oil).
- Place the flour with a little salt and pepper in a shallow bowl or on a plate and set aside.
- Place the egg in a separate shallow bowl and set aside.
- Mix the parmesan, salt and pepper into the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl and set aside.
- Cut each chicken breast in half through the middle so that you have two thinner pieces (almost as if you are going to butterfly the chicken, but instead cut the whole way through).
- Flatten each half out with a meat mallet or rolling pin.
- Spread some pesto on each piece and top with a slice of buffalo mozzarella.
- Add some of the sundried tomatoes to the top of the mozzarella.
- Roll the chicken to encompass the filling and secure with a toothpick , if needed.
- Cover the stuffed chicken with the flour, shaking off any excess flour.
- Then dip and cover in the egg, and finally, the breadcrumb mixture.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium/medium-high heat.
- Add the chicken breasts and fry until golden on each side. If needed, add more olive oil.
- Place each breast, seam side down in a baking dish, and pop in the oven for 20-25 minutes, checking at the 20 minute mark.
- Serve with bread, potatoes, a pasta dish, a green salad, or vegetables. Guacamole goes really well as a side to this chicken also.
*I used the “Kirkland Organic Oven Dried Roma Tomatoes” that I found at Costco but sundried tomatoes in oil should work just as well. Depending on how big your chicken pieces are you may need a little more of the tomatoes. If you have any leftover, you can serve them as a side to the dish.
**I used Ottogi breadcrumbs but Panko would also work.
Make it your own: Add more garlic to the “pesto.” Substitute fresh tomatoes for the sundried ones or these balsamic roasted tomatoes.