Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Almonds, Olives, and Thyme

These Mediterranean-style stuffed chicken breasts, which are filled with a mixture of cream cheese, bacon, bread crumbs, almonds, olives, and thyme, are an easy, healthy-ish main that’s simple enough for a weeknight, but still feel (and taste!) quite special.

A sliced Mediterranean-style stuffed chicken breast on a white plate with purple cauliflower, sweet potato, and a sprig of thyme.

We know what you’re thinking. “Stuffed chicken? How very…’80s.” Perhaps. And ’70s. And ’60s. And ’50s. Because as with most classics, this technique has wended in and out of favor throughout the decades. Yet its popularity persists, which is precisely why it’s a classic. That and because it works–to great effect. And if you covet those colorful and ridiculously healthy sides, just toss some vegetables—pretty much any veggie will do, though this photo happens to have captured an autumn moment wherein vibrant sweet potatoes and purple cauliflower were in season and plentiful—with a little olive oil and roast in a hot oven (425ish°F or so) until barely tender, maybe 12 minutes for young summery things, upwards for sturdier, cooler-weather items.–Renee Schettler Rossi

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Almonds, Olives, and Thyme

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 1 H
  • Serves 4
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Ingredients


Directions

Preheat the oven to 325°F (162° C). Lightly oil a 13-by-9-inch baking dish.

Fry the bacon in a skillet until crisp. Let cool and then crumble. Reserve the bacon drippings.

Combine the crumbled bacon, cream cheese, bread crumbs, olives, almonds, egg, and 1 tablespoon of the thyme and mix well.

Use a small, sharp knife to make a horizontal slit in the thickest portion of each chicken breast, being careful to not cut through to the opposite side. Fill each pocket with some of the cream cheese stuffing. This could get messy. And you may have a little left over.

Heat the oil or, if you prefer, the bacon drippings in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken until browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the chicken to the baking dish, reserving the drippings in the skillet.

Cover the chicken and roast until done, 25 to 30 minutes. After the chicken has been in the oven for about 15 minutes, add the wine and broth to the drippings in the skillet and cook on medium, stirring frequently to scrape up browned bits from the bottom of the skillet, until reduced by half, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining thyme then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the chicken breasts to a cutting board and slice them, keeping each breast sort of intact. Deftly transfer to plates and nap the chicken with the sauce. Originally published June 6, 2011.

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    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    Chicken breasts usually aren’t my protein of choice, but this dish will be a repeat offender on my table. I loved how the chicken turned out—it was unbelievably moist. The crunchiness of the bacon and crushed almonds really made the stuffing pop.

    Searing and baking the chicken at first seemed a little much, but it’s not. The chicken came out beautifully golden brown, and it smelled amazing. A couple of things to watch out for: Taste the bacon before you add salt and pepper to the chicken, to make sure you’re not oversalting the bird. It’s better to salt at the end. Also, do use low-sodium chicken broth (homemade is fine). Though the stuffing is more than enough for six chicken breasts, don’t worry, there won’t be any left!

    This is a very easy recipe. The stuffed chicken is very impressive and tasty. The filling was a nice blend of creamy and crunchy with a little smokiness from the bacon and brininess from the olives.

    The pan sauce was quite thin so I added a little Wondra flour to thicken it. It didn’t make very much sauce (about 2 tablespoons), so I suggest doubling the amount of wine and broth to deglaze. This will make just enough to nicely coat the chicken breasts.

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    Comments

      1. Okay, look at it as I do. Put Kraft Foods in capital letters aside. What cream cheese do you always reach for when making a cheese cake? Philly, right? At least I do. I would never, ever attempt to make my pumpkin cake with maple cream cheese frosting with anything but Philly. I’m not looking at the whole, but only at one small, delicious part. We try very hard to not toss any babies with the bath water here!

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