To be honest, hubby and I aren’t fans of chicken breast. We prefer thighs which are juicier due to the higher fat content. But every now and then I feel like doing something fancy with chicken and opt for breasts especially when stuffing. Using olives marinated in olive oil kept these moist and flavorful.
I generally get my proteins from the butcher counter rather than the prepackaged section, as I can assure that the pieces are all similar sized for even cooking. These particular breasts were huge at almost a pound each, which makes stuffing them fairly easy. I made three breasts and served four people with a small portion left over for lunch.
I got the olives and garlic cloves from the serve-yourself anti-pasto bar at the Alameda Landing Safeway. I can get as much or little as I need without buying multiple jars. There is usually a nice selection of marinated items and I chose the pitted combo which included black and green olives.
Variations: You can use just one type of olive and even canned olives. If you use olives packed in water, you’ll need to drain and add a few tablespoons of olive oil. I love cooking with infused olive oils as it adds to the depth of flavor. The Italian seasoning blend was easy and delish but you can use dried oregano, basil, thyme or rosemary or a combo of any of them.
- 3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup of marinated mixed pitted olives
- 6 marinated garlic cloves (or 4 raw garlic cloves)
- 1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1/4 cup olive oil (I used rosemary infused)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees
- Line a baking sheet with tin foil.
- Roughly cut the olives and garlic and combine with the cheese and seasonings.
- Cut a slit lengthwise in each breast and then cut a slit into each side. Use your fingers to spread the meat open to create a pocket.
- Spoon the olive mixture into the breasts, then fold together and insert toothpicks to keep closed.
- Brush each breast with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet.
- Cook for 35 minutes then turn oven to broil and cook for an additional 5 minutes to brown. Watch to make sure they don’t burn.
- When a meat thermometer inserted at the meatiest point reaches 160 degrees and the juices run clear, remove from oven and loosely tent with tin foil. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before removing toothpicks and cutting into 1 inch slices.
- I served this with baked eggplant and heirloom tomatoes … yummm!
Above left: The stuffed, toothpicked, olive oil brushed breasts ready for the oven. Right: Dessert – baked white peach with drizzles of balsamic vinegar and honey and a dollop of vanilla bean yogurt.