I was raised by a couple of serious foodies. My mom is known among family and friends as an enthusiastic baker, who is happiest playing in the kitchen. My dad’s secret dream is to be on one of the amateur episodes of Chopped, and I’m certain he’d be a strong contender – he’s got some kind of innate flavor-mixing sixth sense that continually amazes me.
We all owe my dad an enormous debt of gratitude for this recipe, because it’s all his creation, and it’s unbelievably good. Thinking about it makes me immediately hungry. It’s the kind of impressive, crowd-pleasing dish that people take a bite of and swoon over. At least, that is, if they’re anything like me. It’s a little unusual for a stuffed chicken recipe, and you definitely need to have some specific ingredients for this one, but it’s beyond worth that extra trip to the grocery store. They’re not weird ingredients that you’ll only use once and then lose in the back of the refrigerator or pantry. If you don’t use them up by making this dish over and over – it’s that good – you’ll find lots of other recipes for them. If you don’t cook with them already, prepare to have feta, sun-dried tomatoes, and turmeric become your new best friends.
This dish starts with garlic, onion, and sun-dried tomatoes, stewing in olive oil. Then you add apples, ginger, and turmeric, and let them cook until everything is soft and the flavor has started to develop. The filling is finished with a good helping of feta cheese, stirred in until it gets all melted and the whole mixture thickens. Tell me you’re not thinking about that filling and wondering if you’ve got time to stop at the grocery store to get sun-dried tomatoes and feta! The chicken breasts get seared in a pan, sliced open to create a pocket, stuffed with the filling, and then cooked in the oven. After baking, they’re topped with mozzarella cheese, and then go back in the oven just until the cheese melts.
I generally prefer food that has some kind of spicy heat, but this dish is an exception. The sweetness of the apple with the salty feta and mozzarella, mixed with the tart sun-dried tomatoes, and flavored with the turmeric, onion, garlic, and ginger, make this stuffed chicken an absolute standout. With so many flavors involved, it’s important that they’re balanced just right, and in this recipe they go together perfectly.
The turmeric in this dish turns everything a bright yellow color, so I definitely recommend serving it with some colorful veggies. I went with a simple spinach salad, topped with feta, apple, and a balsamic vinaigrette. The flavors in the stuffed chicken would go well with just about anything, so you could serve it with asparagus, roasted sweet potato, or brussels sprouts. Or you could just forgo worrying about aesthetics because you’re more concerned with eating your stuffed chicken than posting it on the internet. Sometimes I barely get my blog photos taken before I dive into the food!
The nice part about this recipe is that it can be done from start to finish in about 45 minutes. Once you’ve seared the chicken and made the filling, you’re only 25 minutes away from eating. Make a quick salad or steam some veggies, and dinner is served. This dish is a great choice if you want to really impress someone with your cooking skills, because it looks and tastes complex, but it’s so easy to put together. I’m excited to try variations of this filling, with different fruit and seasonings – let me know in the comments if you try it out, and how you put your own spin on it!
Apple, Feta, and Turmeric Stuffed Chicken
- 4 chicken breasts
- 1/3 cup olive oil + 2 Tbsps, divided use
- 3/4 cup feta cheese
- 1 small Gala apple
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 tsps ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 4 garlic cloves
- 5 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
- 5 oz sun-dried tomatoes
- dash of salt - add to taste
Dice onion and mince garlic. Add all to a small saucepan with 1/3 cup of olive oil. Begin cooking over medium heat. Dice apple with skin still on, slice sun-dried tomatoes into thin strips, and add both to the sauce pan. Let cook until the apples and onions become tender.
2. While the filling is cooking, get a skillet hot. Add 2 Tbsps of olive oil, and place chicken breasts in the skillet. Sear chicken on each side for two minutes, and remove from heat. Chicken should still be raw on the inside. Searing it on the stove just makes it easier to stuff, and helps it cook in the oven faster.
3. Add turmeric, ginger, and feta to the sauce pan. Stir gently until cheese melts and the filling is well-mixed. Remove from heat.
4. Cut a pocket into each chicken breast along the long side - be careful not to cut all the way through. Fill each with a fourth of the filling.
5. Place stuffed chicken breasts on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Check to make sure chicken is cooked through.
6. Remove from oven, top with mozzarella cheese, and cook in the oven for an additional 4-5 minutes. Serve and enjoy!