Thursday, October 15, 2015

Blackened Pumpkin Seed Encrusted Stuffed Chicken Breasts

As the weather begins to cool off in early fall, I start to get excited about making some of our favorite cold weather dinners. Stuffed chicken breasts are very versatile and I look for new ways to change up the stuffing. When we received the very generous selection of nuts from Truly Good Foods, I knew right then I had to use the Blackened Pumpkin Seeds! “Blackened” makes me think Cajun and Cajun makes me think Andouille sausage. Next was to a select a cheese because every good stuffed chicken breast needs cheese! I needed a little input so I headed over to my favorite cheese expert at the local Whole Foods. After several tastes, I opted for a sheep’s milk cheese. It had a little more zing than the Manchego. I really wanted a cheese that would hold it’s own with the Andouille. I am sure that I made the right choice! The result was incredible and my fellow diners were thrilled with the flavor!!

Blackened Pumpkin Seed Encrusted Stuffed Chicken Breasts
by Susan R-H
Serves 6

1 1/2 cups Truly Good Foods Blackened Pumpkin Seeds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 pound fresh Andouille sausage, casings removed
2 cloves garlic finely chopped
5 ounces of organic baby spinach
6 boneless/skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4-inch
2 cups grated Cordobes Mitica Spanish sheep’s milk cheese or Manchego
Kitchen twine to tie the chicken breasts, 3 pieces per breast
2 large eggs
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 Tablespoons canola oil, divided
Salt and Pepper as desired

Place the pumpkin seeds and salt in a food processor and pulse until coarse ground. Set aside. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the Andouille sausage. Sauté, breaking up with a spoon as the sausage browns. When the sausage has almost cooked through, add the garlic and spinach. Mix and remove from the heat. Allow the sausage mixture to cool completely. Divide the sausage mixture between each chicken breast. Then divide the cheese. Fold the breasts over and tie with the kitchen twine. I start with the middle and make sure the stuffing is secure on each side and then tie each end. Beat the eggs and place in a shallow bowl. Put the ground pumpkin seeds on a dinner-sized plate. Coat each breast with egg and roll them in the nut mixture. Pat gently to ensure the breasts are completely covered with the nuts.

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a rimmed baking sheet in the oven as it heats.

Wipe out the large skillet, but don’t feel the need to clean it. There will be a bit of flavor left behind! Over medium heat, add 1 Tablespoon of butter and 1 Tablespoon of oil. Add three of the stuffed chicken breasts to the pan and cook until lightly browned on each side. Remove and place on a plate. Add the remaining 1 Tablespoon of butter and 1 Tablespoon of oil. Repeat the process with the remaining three stuffed chicken breasts. Remove the preheated baking sheet and place all of the stuffed chicken beasts on the baking sheet. Return to the oven and bake until the chicken has reached an internal temperature of 165°F. Approximately 20-25 minutes. I use an instant-read thermometer.

Serve this delightful chicken with your favorite vegetables! I chose carrots and beets for this preparation, but anything goes with this dish! The nuts were the STAR!

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