Hummus-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
We’re always on the hunt for cool ways to use hummus, which both Ellen and I make, differently but to the same great effect. She likes roasted red peppers and garlic, while I like to experiment with different flavors. My current favorite mix is garlic, scallions, a bit of ginger and a drizzle of sesame seed oil.
The other night, I went the way of her recipe, and used the wonderful ingredient as the basis for a stuffing for chicken breasts. I am here to report that this recipe is restaurant-good, and is absolutely worth the time and energy. It is so good, even, that store-bought hummus will turn this into a rousing and beautiful supper. Please take the time to do this. It is a three-pan batter dip recipe, but worth the trouble. Make this one for company. It is a terrific presentation, but a lot of work and a lot of ingredients for two people. This is a six- to eight-person do, and will garner ooohs and aaahs. Guaranteed. One of the ingredients is panko, a Japanese bread crumb. Please go to the trouble to find this. Substitution of regular bread crumbs for panko will alter the final product, and not to its advantage. The texture of the panko is incredible. Try it:
1 10-oz box frozen chopped spinach, thawed and wrung out
2/3 cup hummus
¼ cup lightly-toasted pignolas (pine nuts)
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
salt and pepper
6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, butterflied* and pounded to ½ inch thick
½ cup whole-wheat flour (you can use all-purpose, but whole wheat tastes waaay better)
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups panko
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- your butcher will butterfly chicken breasts for you if you don’t know how, but it is really simple—just hold them firmly on a cutting board and slice them lengthwise (horizontally) from the thick side to the thin side, stopping about a half-inch from cutting all the way through
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Set up three shallow dipping pans, one with flour, salt and pepper; one with beaten eggs; and one with panko.
- In a medium bowl, combine the spinach, hummus, pignolas and nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and place a dollop (1/6th of the total amount) of the hummus mixture on one side of each breast. Fold the breast over the stuffing and pin the open side with two toothpicks.
- Coat the stuffed chicken breasts with flour, shaking off any excess. Then dip them in egg, then coat the breasts with panko.
- In a large skillet, heat the butter and olive oil over meduim-high heat until the butter stops foaming. Add two chicken breasts two at a time, and cook, turning once, four minutes on the first side, three minutes on the second side. Adjust the heat so that the chicken browns but doesn’t burn. Transfer the sautee’d breasts to a foil-lined baking sheet, and bake them for ten minutes. Remove from oven, cover with foil, and allow to rest for five minutes. Discard the toothpicks and slice each breast crossways on plates to serve.
I served the chicken breasts with a zucchini-Parmesan risotto and roasted asparagus. This is a dinner-party presentation. Folks, the work is worth the effort.