Here’s a little change up on an old favorite that I tried the other night with great success.
4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper
1 1/3 cups seasoned bread crumbs
1/3 cup parmsean cheese (the kind in the shaker)
1 jar pasta sauce (I prefer Classico or Five Brothers, I used the Classico Tomato and Basil)
1/4 pound provelone cheese, thinly sliced
1 package of shredded mozzerella cheese (Italian blend works well)
Trim any fat from the chicken breasts. Slice each chicken breast in half WIDTHWISE, so you have eight pieces that are roughly triangular in shape. With a sharp paring knife, cut a pocket into each chicken breast, cutting on the side that became exposed when you cut them in half. Cut as far down and to the sides as you can, then open each cut with your fingers and pull it apart slightly to make a good sized pocket. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
In a medium bowl, combine the eggs and cream (you can use milk if you’d like, but the coating won’t be quite as thick) along with salt and pepper to your liking and beat with a fork until combined.
In a separate bowl, combine the bread crumbs and the parmesean cheese and stir until well mixed.
Separate the sliced provelone cheese into 8 equal portions, and then line a baking sheet with wax paper. Remove chicken from refrigerator, and place the portions of cheese inside the pockets of the chicken. I find that by folding the cheese in half twice to form a triangle, it fits perfectly inside. Stuff it inside well, and sort press down on the outside cuts of the chicken to close the pocket a bit. When finished, roll each stuffed breast in the breadcrumbs, pressing to coat. Place them on the wax paper and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the breasts and then dip them one by one into the egg mixture, and then coat them with the bread crumbs, making sure to turn the chicken as you go and press the crumbs in until the chicken no longer feels wet. This ensures an even coating. Again, place the chicken on the wax paper and refrigerate for 10 to 15 minutes to allow the coating to set up.
While the chicken is setting up, heat about an inch of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium high heat. When oil is hot, cook chicken, a few pieces at a time, until both sides are golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
This recipe serves 8 people (or less, if you’re really starved). At this point, you can freeze any amount you don’t want to cook right now. For the recipe I am cooking all of them at once.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spread a small amount of the pasta sauce into the bottom of two baking dishes. Place 4 pieces of chicken in each dish, and then divide the rest of the sauce evenly over the breasts, making sure to cover all of the breast in sauce. Shake a bit of parmesean cheese over each breast. Divide the shredded mozzerella into eight portions and and top each breast with the cheese. Cover both dishes with aluminum foil, making sure to “tent” the foil so it isn’t touching the cheese, or you’ll lose a good bit of it when you take off the foil. Bake for about 30 minutes. Remove foil from pans, and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, until the cheese starts to turn golden brown. Serve with your choice of sides, I will be posting the garlic bread and pasta I served with it shortly. PLEASE NOTE The chicken will not be fully cooked through when you brown it in the olive oil. They are thick breasts, and would blacken in the oil before the were cooked through. Therefore, make sure you cook them in the oven for the time specified, so they are done. Enjoy!