A chicken breast with stuffing bursting out of it isn't the most photogenic of foods, but trust us: the sweet, salty, nutty mess spread out over our plate as we ate it was lovely...We love stuffing chicken breasts. We've given you our recipe for Roasted Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Fresh Garlic
, one of our favorites, and we consider this a fall-inspired version. The technique is easy, with a big wow payoff, and we love the combination of a simple, buttery skin with a complex filling.
We bought some local muscadine grapes at Whole Foods that looked plump and sweet, but you could use any grape that's in season. At first, the thought of grapes seemed a little odd, but then we thought of all the chicken salads we've had with grapes and how we love fruit with parmesan, and it started to sound perfect. Especially with a little aromatic crunch from the toasted hazelnuts.
Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Grapes, Hazelnuts, and Parmesan
makes 3 to 4 chicken breasts, depending on the size
3 or 4 medium bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
1/2 cup whole hazelnuts, skins removed (if necessary), toasted, and roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped, purple grapes (we used about 8 large muscadines, seeded)
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and divided
more salt and pepper for seasoning
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Combine the hazelnuts, grapes, parmesan, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Add one tablespoon of softened butter and pinch with your fingers to combine the ingredients.
Pat chicken breasts dry, and make a deep slit along the meatiest side, cutting far into the breast to create a pocket (but not slicing all the way through). Stuff small handfuls of the grape and nut mixture into the pockets, dividing it between the breasts. You should have enough stuffing for four small breasts or three medium to large ones. Stick two or three toothpicks through the open edges of the chicken to keep the stuffing from falling out.
Loosen the skin on each chicken breast, and use your fingers to push small bits of the remaining butter under the skin of each one. Sprinkle the chicken breasts liberally with salt and pepper. Place on a foil or parchment paper-lined, rimmed baking sheet.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the skin is brown and crispy. Remove toothpicks before serving.
Related: Seasonal Spotlight: Local Grape Varieties
(Images: Elizabeth Passarella)