Mozzarella & Pesto Stuffed Chicken with Pecan Crust

chickenMarika makes a mean pesto, and Alina just got a new meat tenderizer. The result? Mozzarella and pesto stuffed chicken breasts with crunchy pecan crust. We purchased the basil for the pesto fresh from the Ann Arbor farmers’ market–deliciously fragrant, organic, and most importantly, local! #helpingMotherEarth

Ingredients:
– 4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
– pesto (store-bought will do the trick, but we made our own!)
– sliced fresh mozzarella
– 4 tbsp butter
– 4 cloves garlic, finely minced
– 1 tsp lemon juice + zest
– Italian seasoning (oregano, basil, marjoram)
– dried thyme
– cayenne pepper
– 1 cup toasted pecans, finely chopped
– 1/2 cup bread crumbs
– salt and pepper, to taste
– toothpicks
– parchment paper or plastic wrap

meat 1. Place chicken breast, one at a time, between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap. Using a meat tenderizer (or bottom of a frying pan a la Rachael Ray), pound the meat from the center outward until 1/4 inch thick.

beforewrappingchicken2. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Spread on a spoonful of pesto and top with a slice of mozzarella. Then roll tightly and secure with toothpicks.

butter3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Add the garlic and cook on medium-low heat for 3-4 minutes. Add a liberal pinch of italian seasoning and thyme, as well a dash of cayenne pepper. Stir in the lemon juice and zest. Season with salt (if you’re using unsalted butter) and pepper to taste. Let simmer on low heat for another 5 minutes.

pecancrust4. Place the breadcrumbs and pecans in a dish. Add a palmful of the dried herbs and a few dashes of cayenne. Season with salt and pepper, and mix until homogenous.

chicken15. Dip each chicken breast in the garlic butter mixture and then dredge in the pecan-bread crumb coating. Place onto a cookie sheet and bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 min.

20130616_192834
SO. GOOD.
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Friends!

We enjoyed the chicken with grilled veggies, our friend’s homemade grape leaves, and great company!

Happy summer from Ann Arbor!

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5 thoughts on “Mozzarella & Pesto Stuffed Chicken with Pecan Crust

  1. Love the multiple flavors and textures in the chicken dish — a taste treat in each layer. Simple grilled veggies add just the right side variety. Eating with friends completes the experience. Then back to the kitchen for clean-up and good gossip about the guests who came!

  2. Eating my dinner as I found this on my Reader, I sort of wished I went on it earlier! This looks SO good. Definitely have to try it soon. Asparagus, mozzarella and pesto? You guys could not have got it more right.

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