There are many different chicken dishes that involve stuffing boneless breasts with anything from herbed compound butter, as in chicken Kiev, to a combination of meat and cheese, as in the more elaborate chicken cordon bleu. Less familiar but no less tasty is chicken Valentino, a dish created by the chef at an upscale Italian restaurant called Valentino's on the Green that is located in Queens, New York.
Developer Jessica Case says of her spin on this classic recipe, "This is a fun meal to cook up that takes dinnertime to the next level." She opts for using a seasoned cream cheese blend in the filling instead of the fontina cheese that is used in the original chicken Valentino as she feels that this ingredient "makes [the chicken] unique and extra flavorsome with the fresh herbs blended." She calls the cheesy, garlicky dish "super tasty" and enthuses, "It's hard to pass down all those flavors melting in your mouth."
Read more: 12 Different Ways To Cook Chicken
Collect The Ingredients For Stuffed Chicken Valentino
The base of this recipe is chicken breasts, while the filling includes cream cheese, spinach, parmesan cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, parsley, chives, crushed red pepper, salt, pepper, and prosciutto. You will also need some olive oil for cooking.
Stuff The Chicken Breasts
Set the oven to 375 F, then mix the cream cheese with the parmesan, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, parsley, chives, garlic, crushed red pepper, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Cut a pocket 4 inches long and 3 inches deep into the thickest part of each chicken breast, leaving about an inch of meat at the bottom.
Fill each chicken pocket with a piece of prosciutto and about 3 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture. Case notes that you shouldn't overfill the chicken, and suggests, "If you see a lot of filling coming out of the chicken, I would insert a toothpick to prevent from that happening." Sprinkle the remaining salt and pepper over the chicken and rub it into the skin.
Brown The Chicken Breasts
Pour the oil into a frying pan -- you'll either need to use an ovenproof one or else transfer the chicken to a baking pan for the next step. Set the burner to medium and heat up the oil, then put the chicken in the pan skin-side down. Case suggests pressing on the chicken as you do so, but be careful not to let any hot oil splash up onto your hands.
Cook the chicken on one side for 6 minutes, then turn it over and cook it for 6 more minutes. When it's done, it should look golden brown. You might want to check the internal chicken temperature with a meat thermometer at this point because Case notes that smaller, thinner chicken breasts may be done cooking and won't need finishing up in the oven.
Bake The Chicken Breasts
Assuming your chicken has not reached an internal temperature of 165 F, you'll now need to cover the pan (foil will work for this) and put it into the oven. Bake the chicken for 12 to 15 minutes, then check it again to see whether it has reached the proper temperature and the flesh no longer appears pink. Once the chicken is done, take it out of the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before cutting into it. If you want a garnish, you can use more basil or parsley. Case also suggests accompanying the dish with rice or pasta, while you could even add a green vegetable or salad to make it into a complete meal.
Case feels that her chicken Valentino is best eaten hot, but says you can refrigerate the leftovers for 3 days. Not enough time to finish it all? That's no problem, since the leftover stuffed chicken can also be frozen.
Stuffed Chicken Valentino Recipe
Prep Time: 15mCook Time: 30mYield: 4 ServingsIngredients
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cups chopped baby spinach
¼ cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon chopped chives
1 teaspoon minced garlic
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon black pepper, divided
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 slices prosciutto
2 tablespoons olive oil
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Combine the cream cheese, parmesan cheese, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, parsley, chives, garlic, crushed red pepper, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Refrigerate this mixture if the chicken isn't going to be stuffed right away.
Slice 4 chicken breasts lengthwise on the thickest side of the chicken breast, cutting a slit about 4 inches long and a pocket about 3 inches deep and leaving about an inch of connected meat at the bottom.
Place a slice of prosciutto in each pocket, then spread it evenly with about 3 tablespoons of the cream cheese mixture (don't overfill the chicken).
Rub the top of the chicken breasts with the remaining salt and pepper.
Heat the oil over medium heat in an ovenproof pan, then add the chicken breasts, skin-side down. Press down lightly on the chicken and cook it for about 6 minutes until the surface appears golden brown. Turn the chicken over and cook it for another 6 minutes.
Cover the pan and put it in the oven, then bake the chicken for 12 to 15 minutes until the meat is no longer pink and the internal temperature reaches 160 to 165 F.
Rest the chicken for 5 minutes before eating.
The chicken should be eaten hot and may be garnished with parsley or basil and accompanied with rice.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.