Chicken is often a popular meat choice when cooking at home and is a staple ingredient on most household menus. I often find that, despite its popularity, the majority of people don’t know what to do with it beyond the usual curries and stir fries. This recipe for pesto stuffed chicken adds another option to the repertoire; it not only tastes delicious but is easy to put together and looks impressive!
The filling for the stuffed chicken incorporates my recipe for Roasted Red Pepper Pesto and is a great way to use up any leftovers. I make the pesto in bulk to make sure that I have enough to incorporate into recipes such as this one; having it on standby makes it quick and easy to get dinner on the table after a long day. Plus you get to bash out the chicken breast which is always good for stress relief.
When making any stuffed chicken dish the difficult part is always going to be keeping the filling where it should be. By adding the parma ham it helps to ensure that everything is held together nicely. You will need to make sure you wrap it as tight as you can and do your best to avoid any holes. The saltiness of the ham works beautifully with the sweetness of the red peppers and the moistness of the chicken; just make sure you check the ingredients for Parma ham as there can be a whole host of ingredients that you don’t want or need. It is best to look for brands which use just pork and salt with no nitrates or additives.
A few cooking tips for your pesto stuffed chicken…
Some of the filling will inevitably leak out during cooking so make sure you fill it generously. The thinner you get the chicken the easier it is to roll together and you can also pin together with toothpicks to help with sealing it up. Any of the filling that runs out can be poured over at the end so you will not lose out on any flavour.
Always use the best quality meat that you can afford and when it comes to chicken I would always recommend that you choose free-range. I am continually shocked that the supermarkets have such a small offering when it comes to ethically reared meat; it is much better to get this from your local butcher or farm shop where it is not only going to be better quality but most likely cheaper. If you struggle to find anywhere local then I would recommend ordering online – I like to use Primal Meats.
PIN THE RECIPE FOR LATER:
Servings: 2 portions
- Preheat the oven to 180C.
- Wrap each chicken breast in cling film and hit with a rolling pin until flattened out.
- Unwrap the chicken breast and spread one side with pesto and then top with two basil leaves.
- Roll the chicken breast up trying to keep as much of the filling in as you can.
- Wrap each of the chicken breasts with Parma ham as tightly as you can without it breaking.
- Place onto a lined baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes turning once to allow for evening browning of the Parma ham.
- Serve with your favourite side dishes; would work really well with watercress and rocket salad. Try adding something sweet into your salad such as peach to offset the saltiness of the Parma ham.
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