Chicken breasts stuffed with figs and goat cheese look so much fussier than they are. This is a simple method to butterfly a few breasts, stuff them full of sweet and savory fillings, then wrap them in prosciutto, resulting in an elegant meal that will wow anyone.
This elegant recipe—good enough for entertaining—comes together in a few minutes and cooks in less than half an hour. Serve it with a side dish of freshly cooked green beans seasoned with olive oil, chopped fresh mint, and salt.–Marie Simmons
Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Figs and Goat Cheese
- Toothpicks or small metal skewers
- 4 large chicken breast halves boneless and skinless, fillets removed*
- 1 tablespoon thyme leaves
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup (about 6 figs) diced fresh green or black figs
- 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese well-chilled
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- Four (1/8-inch-thick) slices pancetta or bacon
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Place the chicken breasts, smooth side up, on a work surface with the thickest portion to your right. Butterfly the breast by holding your knife parallel to the work surface and cutting almost but not quite all the way through the thick side of the breast toward the tapered side so that you can open the breast like a book. Season the butterflied chicken breasts inside and out with 1/2 tablespoon thyme leaves, a pinch of salt, and a grinding of pepper.
- In a small bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 tablespoon thyme, figs, goat cheese, 1 tablespoon olive oil, the garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a grinding of black pepper. Spoon the stuffing onto 1 half of each chicken breast portion, dividing it evenly. Close the chicken over the stuffing. Wrap a slice of pancetta around each chicken breast. Hold the breast closed and the pancetta in place with a toothpick or a small metal skewer.
- Oil a large (about 13-by-9-inch) shallow flameproof baking pan with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Place the chicken breasts in the pan and roast in the oven for 10 minutes. Turn and roast the other side until cooked through and the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C), about 10 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven; transfer the chicken to a serving platter and cover with foil. Add the wine to the pan and heat to a boil over high heat, scraping up the browned bits and reducing the wine to a syrup, about 5 minutes. Drizzle the wine over the chicken, and serve.
*What should I do with the chicken tender?When you’re butterflying the breast, you might notice that there’s still a “fillet” attached to the underside. The fillet, or tender, is the long, slender piece attached to the bottom side of each breast half. If you have a big ‘ole pile of breasts and don’t find any attached, don’t despair. They’re often removed and sold separately because they do fetch a pretty good price on their own—their tenderness and how quick-cooking they are makes them irresistable. Save yours and set them aside in the freezer for stir-fries or kid-friendly chicken strips.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This is a lovely recipe that is, as promised, easy to put together. My own personal taste required less salt, with the presence of both pancetta and goat cheese. Next time, I’d leave the salt out of the stuffing, and perhaps just use a pinch to season the chicken rather than the half teaspoon. The white wine syrup is a delicious finishing touch, and I’d definitely make this again for guests.
I am always looking for a good, easy, and seasonal dish to serve as the main course for entertaining. For the most part, this chicken breasts stuffed with figs and goat cheese recipe works well. It’s simple to follow and easy to prepare. While I’m not a huge fan of goat cheese, I found this pairing of the cheese and figs to be very pleasant. The chicken was moist and tender, and we all enjoyed the wine sauce. When finished, the stuffing blends together well and is mellow in taste. I would certainly make this again, but I think I may add a dash of Greek herbs along with the thyme to the stuffing so it’s not so subtle in taste. The only complaint I have is that the stuffing might be a little too subtle in the seasoning. I wanted something a little more in the “wow” department.
Originally published May 3, 2004