Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken and Saladeh Shirazi

As I've already mentioned in this blog, I love cheese. I also tend to go through cheese fixations. At other points in my life it was Gruyere or Brie, but the last six months, it has been goat cheese. It's the perfect balance cheese: light yet creamy, tart yet mellow, etc. I've put it in everything from salad to baked potato to just eaten plain schmeared all over good bread. So when I saw this recipe for roasted chicken breast, stuffed with goat cheese, garlic and herbs, I knew I would be making it very, very soon.

I ended up making it one idle Sunday afternoon for some friends. I didn't have green garlic and only had skinless breast so I made an incision deep into the breast and filled that instead. I was a little weary, but it worked out just fine. Honestly, how bad can anything smeared with herb goat cheese taste bad?

To balance the creaminess, I made a simple Saladeh Shrazi (Salad from Shiraz), a salad made very often in Iran and throughout the Middle East, made with tomatoes, cucumber, and onion in a dressing of olive oil, lemon juice, and dried mint. To make this one extra delicious, I added an avocado, but I didn't include that in the recipe below, for fear of offending Iranians who are crazy about their Saladeh Shirazi. As is often the case these days, these fantastical photos were taken by Sadiqeh.

Roasted Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Fresh Garlic
adapted from The Kitchn
serves 4

4 ounces goat cheese
1 teaspoon lemon zest
4 teaspoons lemon juice
2 teaspoon chopped parsley
4 cloves of regular garlic, minced
4 medium chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a bowl, mix the goat cheese with the lemon zest, juice, parsley, and garlic until well blended. Loosen the skin on the chicken breasts by running your fingers underneath it, leaving it attached at the edges. Cut a deep slit — about 3 inches long and and inch and a half deep — into the thick, meatier side of each breast.

Using half of the goat cheese for each chicken breast, stuff half of that portion into the slit, pushing it as deep as possible into the chicken breast. Use a toothpick or two to close the slit if necessary. Put the other half under the skin and slide your finger across the top of the skin to spread the cheese out. Repeat with the other chicken breast.

Rub both breasts with olive oil and season well with plenty of salt and pepper. Place on a lined baking sheet. Cook for about 30 minutes, or until the skin is brown and crisp.

Saladeh Shirazi
serves 4

4 medium tomatoes
2 small cucumbers
1 medium onion
3-4 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2-3 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dry mint
salt & black pepper

Chop first three ingredients as roughly or as finely as you like and mix with the rest of the ingredients.


Manggy said...

Cheese makes everything better! I'm sure a lot of people (especially my brother :) would agree!

I might differ in my approach to making a stuffed chicken breast, though. Have you considered pounding it paper-thin between sheets of parchment and rolling the stuffing within? (There's probably be more leakage, but I like the idea of very thin chicken breasts :)

Unknown said...

oh my god that sounds amazing! goat cheese is my favorite, I'm all over this recipe ;-)

Anonymous said...

That salad is so simple and fresh looking! Nice dinner.

Heather and Reese said...

OH YUM!!!!


Paola Westbeek said...

That looks awesome! And what gorgeous colors in that salad!


Anonymous said...

Yum! I need to save this recipe, I've been wanting to make something like this for lunch :).