Stuffed chicken breast recipes are easy to come by, but this apricot-walnut stuffed chicken breast recipe is fit for a queen… or a duke!
The catering company I worked for in London was fairly posh, and nearly every weekend, there was some big event at a historic place in the city. I served hors d’oeuvres in the British Museum. After hours at a large charity cocktail party. We worked at Lambeth Palace, home of the Anglican Bishop. At a dinner-dance, and we even cooked and waited at the wedding for the sister of one of the stars of “Dallas”.Hey, it was the mid 80’s…Dallas was HOT in the UK!
Nearly every event would have a lesser member of the royal family in attendance and a series of toasts would ensue, beginning with the Queen, whether or not she was present.
I came across a folder I’ve kept of menus of parties or events I’ve either worked at or been to…food that I wanted to remember, perhaps recreate at a later date. Nearly 30 years later, I remember the main course we served at nearly every one of those events, Turkey stuffed with apricots and walnuts.
I really wish now that I had paid better attention to the preparation of that dish, as I loved it so. I thought by saving the menu, it would jog my mind. But alas, I was the dessert girl and most usually was prepping the hors d’oeuvres or sugaring currants for the Summer Puddings I’d made the day before.
Had I made that dish just once, I would have been able to recreate it, even 30 years later, from memory. But one thing I do remember is the taste. Sometimes you just can’t forget the taste. This weekend I decided to try it, but instead of using a boned turkey breast, I’d use breast of chicken and make them into individual stuffed chicken breast portions.
I made one batch of the stuffing for the stuffed chicken breast and tasted it over and over, trying to will it to be what I remembered. But it wasn’t, so I tossed it and started over. The second time, the taste brought me back to London, circa 1985. I didn’t make the demi-glace sauce, instead I finished it with brandy and butter that I’d used to deglaze the pan. Back then we always served roasted potatoes and a “bouquetiere of fresh vegetables” with the roulade, rounding out the meal with Summer Pudding.
This stuffed chicken breast recipe is one you’ll want to make over and over again.
- 4 chicken breasts pounded thin about 1/4" to 1/2" thick. They should be uniform in thickness so that they will cook evenly. Season both sides with salt. Click here to see how to make a "paillard" or flattened chicken breast.
- Apricot-Walnut Stuffing
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup dried apricots
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary chopped
- 1/4 cup brandy
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 2 shallots minced (divided)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Kosher salt and white pepper
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a medium saute pan over a medium heat and sauté 1 minced shallot about 2 minutes, just to soften.
Meanwhile in a bowl soak apricots in brandy and hot water until softened, about 10 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid.
In a food processor, add walnuts, rosemary, shallot and apricots, pulsing until coarsely chopped.
Spread about 1/4 cup of filling on breasts, leaving 1/4" space at edges. Roll breasts narrow side first and hold together with a toothpick or skewer.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Saute chicken rolls in a large pan with 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil over medium heat, about 2 minutes per side until golden brown on all sides. Transfer breasts to a baking dish.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter in pan, add remaining minced shallot and scrape browned bits, cooking for a minute or two, deglaze, sauté pan with reserved brandy from apricots.
Whisk in another 2 tablespoons of butter just until incorporated. Season to taste with salt and a dash of white pepper.
our sauce over chicken breasts.
Cover with foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until done, depending on thickness.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Saute each stuffed chicken breast in a large pan with 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil over medium heat, about 2 minutes per side until golden brown on all sides. Transfer breasts to a baking dish.
Heat 1 tablespoon butter in pan, add remaining minced shallot and scrape browned bits, cooking for a minute or two. Deglaze the sauté pan with reserved brandy from apricots. Whisk in another 2 tablespoons of butter just until incorporated. Season to taste with salt and a dash of white pepper.
Pour sauce over chicken breasts. Cover with foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until done, depending on thickness.