I love stuffed food.... both making and eating them. I like the fact that I can keep the side dish hidden within the main meal itself until the last moment and the flavours merge. It can also be a surprise for the person you are making them for.
Tonight, I made stuffed chicken - a little bit different from my usual way of rolling the stuffing in the meat. This time, I made a slit each on the breast meat and push the stuffing in.
Most veggies can go in as stuffing... even a different meat or seafood. Taste and preferences dictate what goes in. Also, what is available in the fridge, I guess.
The stuffing for the stuffed chicken pictured here is a combo of diced bell pepper, red onion, white button mushroom, canned tomato and just a wee bit of its juice, a little bit of shrimp (I think wihout would be better), chopped garlic and grated Parmesan cheese.
I would suggest cooking them slightly so that there is no need to cook the chicken too long in the oven. Heat some olive oil and then fry the chopped garlic till fragrant but not brown. Add in the onion and then the rest of the ingredients except cheese. Stand to cool before mixing in the Parmesan cheese.
In the meantime, pat dry chicken breasts and make a narrow deep slit with sharp knife - a paring knife would do the job. Fill the pockets with the cooled stuffing and ensure it is compact. Secure with toothpicks which have been soaked in water for about 15 mins at least.
Season well with freshly gound sea salt and black pepper. Brush with a bit of olive oil. Place extra stuffing on top of chicken, if available so as not to waste. Bake in a preheated 200 deg C oven for about 20 to 30 minutes (depending on how thick the meat is). Spoon the pan juices over chicken halfway through cooking.
If like, you can serve with some greens like haricot vert (green beans), honey beans, broccoli etc which can be cooked in the pan juices about 5 to 10 minutes before end of cooking time depending on the size of veggies and your preference.
Try it - it is not as daunting as it looks!