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Spinach-stuffed chicken

February 3, 2011

There are several poultry shops at South Melbourne Market, all with their own individual value-added offerings as well as the usual whole birds and regular cuts.

During the winter, a dollar will buy a good bag of chicken frames for making chicken stock. I like to make it in bulk and then freeze it in assorted containers for soup, risotto and other dishes. It certainly beats commercial chicken stock powder that is sometimes made without the lives of any chickens being endangered.

But it’s summer now, a good time for eating lighter meals. This week’s trolley of food included some skinless, boneless chicken breasts for the following recipe from The South Beach Diet Cookbook. It contains frozen chopped spinach but you could easily microwave fresh spinach, and chop and use that after squeezing out all the liquid.

Spinach-stuffed chicken

150g frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 spring onion, chopped
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
freshly ground pepper
2 thick rashers of lean back bacon cut into strips 5mm wide
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
lemon slices to garnish
sprigs of parsley to garnish

Preheat the oven to 180C.

In a bowl, combine the spinach, spring onion and Parmesan; season to taste with salt and pepper. In a large, non-stick frying pan, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 4 minutes. Add the bacon to the spinach and mix well, reserving any bacon fat in the pan.

Using a sharp knife, cut a horizontal slit in each chicken breast to make a pocket. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Spoon the spinach mixture into the chicken pockets. [At this stage I tied up each chicken breast with string to keep the filling contained.] Add the olive oil to the frying pan and heat until sizzling. Add the chicken and cook over medium-high heat, turning once, until well browned, about 6 minutes.

Transfer the chicken breasts to an ovenproof dish. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part registers 75C and the juices run clear.

Transfer the chicken to four warmed plates. Add the vinegar to the frying pan and cook for 30 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat, add the butter and swirl until melted. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and sprinkle with chopped parsley sprigs.

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The South Beach Diet Cookbook






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