By Amy Deline, The Gourmand Mom
Focus on technique – stuffed meat safety
When cooking stuffed meats, it is important to ensure that both the meat and the stuffing are cooked to a safe temperature. This is one of the major challenges with cooking larger stuffed items, like a whole turkey, where it will take much longer for the center stuffing to reach a safe temperature, while the surrounding turkey overcooks. In smaller cuts, like a stuffed chicken breast, it’s easier to bring both components to a safe temperature without overcooking the meat. To check for a safe temperature, it is important to test the temperature of both the meat and the stuffing. Do this by inserting an instant-read meat thermometer into both components of the dish. Poultry is safely cooked at 165 degrees F.
Bacon, mushroom-stuffed chicken breasts
8 ounces mushrooms (about 10-12 medium-sized mushrooms)
1/4 cup sour cream
1/8 cup onion, finely diced
1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1/8 cup bread crumbs
4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/8 cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 or 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
For the sour cream-mushroom sauce
2-1/2 tablespoons butter
2-1/2 tablespoons flour
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Using a damp paper towel, wipe the mushrooms clean. Remove the stems from the mushroom caps. Finely dice the mushroom stems and about half of the mushroom caps. Slice the remaining mushroom caps and set aside.
3. In a bowl, combine the diced mushrooms, sour cream, onion, garlic, bread crumbs, bacon, and Parmesan cheese. Taste the mixture, then season with salt and pepper, as desired. The stuffing should be fairly thick.
4. Slice the chicken breasts almost all the way through to create a wide pocket. Generously fill each pocket with some of the stuffing mixture. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray, then place the stuffed chicken breasts on the sheet. Sprinkle each chicken breast with a pinch of paprika, salt, and pepper. Bake for approximately 30 minutes. Check for doneness with an instant-read meat thermometer. Test both the chicken and the stuffing. Both components are safely cooked at 165 degrees F.
5. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the sauce. Melt the butter in a small pan over medium heat. Add the reserved sliced mushroom caps. Cook for 5-7 minutes until tender and slightly golden.
6. Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms. Stir to even coat the mushrooms. Cook for about a minute, then gradually whisk in the chicken broth until well combined. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer for a couple minutes until it has thickened to the consistency of a gravy.
7. Stir in the sour cream. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, as desired.
8. Pour some of the sauce over each chicken breast before serving.