Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Apple-Stuffed Chicken

1 Empire, Fuji or Braeburn apple, cored and finely diced
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat Cheddar
2 Tbsp seasoned dried bread crumbs
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme, plus 3 large sprigs
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp each salt and freshly ground pepper, mixed
4 skinless, boneless chicken-breast halves (6 oz each)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
2 tsp canola oil
3/4 cup apple cider
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1. You'll need 12 wooden toothpicks coated with nonstick spray. In a small bowl, mix apple, cheese, bread crumbs, chopped thyme, lemon juice and half the salt mixture. On a cutting board, lightly press each chicken breast flat with one hand; using a sharp knife, carefully cut into side of breast to form a deep, horizontal pocket (do not pierce top, bottom or far side of breast).
2. Divide the apple mixture into 4 portions and stuff into chicken pockets. With the prepared toothpicks, pin closed. Sprinkle the remaining salt mixture over breasts. Dredge chicken in flour to lightly coat; tap off excess flour. (At this point, chicken can be refrigerated, covered, up to 6 hours.)
3. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and brown 3 minutes per side. Pour 1/2 cup of the apple cider and the broth into skillet; add thyme sprigs. Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 5 to 7 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and stuffing registers 165?F on an instant-read thermometer.
4. Remove chicken to a serving plate; cover with foil to keep warm. Whisk mustard and remaining 1/4 cup cider into juices in skillet; boil mixture 3 minutes on high until reduced and slightly thickened. Spoon sauce over chicken and serve.

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