Kitchen Table: Chicken with Goat Cheese and Basil

Serves 4

These chicken breasts, served in a creamy sauce, have flavorful pockets of herbed goat cheese.

  • 2 whole chicken breasts with the skin and meaty first joint of the wings attached, split
  • 4 ounces soft, fresh goat cheese
  • 1 small bunch fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 cup whipping cream

1. Carefully bone the chicken breast halves, leaving the wing joint attached. Leave as much skin as possible on the breast. Gently lift it from the narrow end of the breast up toward the wing. Carefully cut a pocket 2 inches long and 1 inch deep in the center of the breast on the side away from the wing.

2. For each pocket, cut off a one-ounce piece of goat cheese and wrap two or three basil leaves around it. Place the basil-wrapped cheese in the pocket and gently press the opening closed. Do not sew or use skewers. Put two basil leaves directly on top of the chicken and close the skin over them. Reserve the remaining basil for the sauce. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Over a moderately hot wood or charcoal fire, grill the chicken breasts about 20 minutes, turning frequently, or until the chicken is cooked through. (If you don’t have access to a grill or hibachi, sauté the chicken breasts in olive oil over medium-high heat.)

4. In a saucepan, gently cook the shallots with the cream for 5 to 6 minutes, reducing the sauce by half, and strain.

5. Just before serving, julienne the remaining basil leaves. Stir half into the sauce. To serve, pour one-fourth of the basil cream sauce on each plate, place a chicken breast on top, and garnish with the remaining basil.

Courtesy: Sharon Scott, Memphis, Tennessee

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