Sometimes the most delicious recipes come about with the most unexpected ingredient combinations. This Apricot Chicken Stuffed w. Herby Goat Cheese was created on an empty fridge and pantry! We’d just gotten home from some travel and I hadn’t yet hit the store to restock. As the chicken thawed, I peeled through the fridge and pantry for something to create, from seemingly nothing. Apricot jam, goat cheese and pesto were about the only things I had other than a half-full bottle of ketchup and about a tablespoon worth of BBQ sauce. I pulled out my trusty Flavor Bible book and got to searching. Apricots and chicken, great pairing. Bacon, goes with everything, DUH! And goat cheese and pesto, well the pesto just helped me skip pulling a handful of spices from the cupboard. It was all a happy accident!
The grocery list.
While these ingredients were the scraps from my fridge and pantry, I’ve outlined them here for you just incase you need to stock up on any of these for this recipe. No doubt you’ll be making this dish more than once and worth it to have the ingredients on hand for when dinnertime hits!
- bacon — just enough bacon in this recipe to add crunch and saltiness to the dish as well as offer bacon grease to cook the chicken in.
- plain goat cheese — creamy and delicious. It’s mild in flavor and the perfect texture for this dish. If you have to substitute, I’d suggest either ricotta cheese or use slices of brie.
- basil pesto — so much great bold flavor wrapped in one pantry ingredient! Basil, olive oil, pine nuts YUM.
- ButcherBox boneless skinless chicken breast — the humble chicken breast is perfect for a dish like this, the added creaminess inside and sweetness on top is balanced perfectly by the heartiness of the chicken breast.
- Salt — I often suggest to salt and pepper to taste. This allows you to season to your personal preference. You begin to get an eye for how much/little you want to use vs. being told to use a whole tablespoon of salt.
- cracked black pepper — love the spice and sweetness of cracked black pepper. A little goes a long way!
- apricot jam — typically when shopping for jams, I opt for no-added sugars. There is already plenty of sweetness in fruits and prefer to keep the sugars to my desserts vs. my dinners.
- balsamic vinegar — the vinegar gives balance to the sweetness of the jam.
- red pepper flakes — just a bit for spice, it’s not enough to make the dish spicy but just enough to warm the palate.
- Fresh thyme — fresh herbs bring a POP of flavor to a finished dish. If I had to choose, I’d suggest dried herbs for cooking and fresh herbs for finishing a dish, nothing compares!
What to serve with this stuffed chicken.
A humble side of cooked white rice or brown rice is always a great option for a dish like this to sop up some of those pan juices. This dish contains a lot of flavor, below are a handful of side dishes that are not only simple to make but will not overpower the flavors in this dish.
This dish is packed with flavor and I find that the simpler the side, the more these flavors POP. It reheats well the next day and can easily be prepped for meals for the week. Prepare your main dish and partition it out, along with your chosen side, for easy meals throughout the week. People often ask “what are your go-to lunches?” and I often give one of two responses. First, I’d likely say a sandwich. Second, dinner leftovers. These dinner leftovers make a GREAT lunch the next day.
Looking for more simple chicken dishes?
Here are a few to try:
Lastly, if you make this Apricot Chicken Stuffed w. Herby Goat Cheese recipe, be sure to leave a comment! Above all, I love to hear from ya’ll and do my best to respond to every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to snap a pic and tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of your dayyyummm good recreations is my favorite!
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- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Heat a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Lay the strips of bacon in the hot skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side until crispy. Remove the bacon and place on a paper towel-lined plated. Reserve the pan and bacon grease for cooking the chicken.
- Mix the goat cheese with the basil pesto in a small bowl. Set aside.
- Butterfly the chicken breast by placing your hand on top of the chicken breast and cutting horizontally. Be sure not to cut all the way through, stop about a 1/2" from the opposite end. Season the chicken inside and out with salt and pepper to taste.
- Stuff each chicken breast with 1-2 tablespoons of the pesto goat cheese mixture. Place the chicken breast into the heated skillet with bacon grease. Sear on each side for 2-3 minutes, flipping carefully to keep the goat cheese mixture inside the chicken.
- Mix the apricot jam, balsamic and red pepper flakes. Baste the tops of the chicken breasts with the jam mixture. Place the cast iron in the preheated oven and cook for an additional 10-12 minutes** or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- Remove the cast iron from the oven. Chop the cooked bacon and sprinkle on top of the chicken. Top with fresh thyme and serve.
** Cooking times will depend on the size and thickness of your chicken, always cook to TEMPERATURE (165°F) instead of time to ensure you're chicken is cooked to the perfect temperature (not overcooked) and to a safe temperature (not undercooked).
Nutrition Information: Serves 4 585 cals / 23g F / 27g C / 64g P