Recipe Review

Ina Garten’s Ingenious Chicken Trick Makes Weeknight Dinner a Breeze

published Apr 20, 2023
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Ina Garten's chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese sliced and plated.
Credit: Lauren Miyashiro

What would Ina do? It’s a question that I ask myself quite frequently. (I’m sure I’m not alone.) And when I do, I reach for one of her (many) cookbooks. Most recently, I grabbed Barefoot Contessa at Home

Even though the book feels slightly outdated (it was published in 2006), it’s filled with some timeless gems like Beatty’s chocolate cake and coconut cake. But dessert wasn’t on my mind. While flipping through the pages, I was on a mission, yet again, to come up with something (anything!) for dinner. And so it was Ina’s chicken with herbed goat cheese that gave me pause. In the book, Ina says it’s her go-to when she doesn’t want to cook and promises it takes only five minutes to prepare. 

Ina’s Simple Chicken Breast Technique 

The concept is simple. Stuff some goat cheese and a basil leaf under the skin of a bone-in chicken breast, roast the chicken in a 375°F oven, and boom! You’ve got dinner. 

For the cheese, Ina recommends Montrachet, but any herbed goat cheese will do. Before you stuff it under the chicken skin, you’ll want to cut it into thick slices. It’ll feel awkward and the cheese will crumble, but trust Ina, always. 

Once the chicken is stuffed with goat cheese and basil, you’ll rub each piece with “good olive oil,” season generously with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, and bake until cooked through, 35 to 40 minutes. How easy is that? 

Credit: Lauren Miyashiro

If You’re Going to Try This Trick, a Few Tips

  • Use Boursin. I had some leftover Boursin and swapped some in one of the breasts. The results, as any Boursin fan might expect, were superb. 
  • Don’t bother with the math. Ina calls for cutting a 12-ounce log of goat cheese into 12 thick slices and adding two slices to each of the three chicken breasts, which doesn’t add up. Simply plan for a couple of thick slices of goat cheese (or Boursin!) for each breast, and you’ll be fine. 
  • Cut the cheese first. I like to slice and set aside the cheese before touching the chicken to avoid cross contamination for the rest of the log. (Again, you likely won’t need the full 12 ounces.)