This baked chicken is similar to stuffed caprese chicken without the tomatoes. Instead, I use sauteed bell pepper and onion, which gives it an amazing and slightly sweet flavor. You can stuff the chicken with mozzarella and peppers as I did or anything you enjoy from sautéed vegetables to cheese with or without ham, prosciutto, or bacon. I didn’t use any meat in the stuffing and my husband went wild over this dish!
Italian Stuffed Chicken in Balsamic Garlic Reduction
- 1 recipe Balsamic Reduction
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 chicken breasts 1 to 1-1/2 pounds total, butterflied
- 6 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons dried, crushed oregano
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 teaspoons dried, crushed sweet basil
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded, stemmed, and thinly sliced
- 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 12 to 15 large fresh basil leaves, sliced thinly
- 4 slices mozzarella cheese (or Daiya or Follow Your Heart brands for dairy-free)
- 1-1/2 teaspoons olive oil
- Smoked paprika (optional)
- Make the balsamic reduction as instructed in the above link, but add the garlic to the saucepan when you add the other ingredients; set aside.
- To butterfly a chicken breast, begin slicing the thickness in half beginning from the rounded side. Stop slicing when you reach the last half to one inch. Open it up so that it looks like on every whole piece.
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Coat the tops and bottoms of the breasts with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil and all of the dried basil. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
- Preheat a large skillet, over medium-high heat with 2 teaspoons of oil. Add and saute the peppers and onion, about 7 minutes.
- Add sliced basil leaves, stir, and remove from heat.
- On one side of each breast, add the cheese and top with some of the sauteed vegetables. Close the breast. Using toothpicks, seal closed. Sprinkle tops with smoked paprika, if desired. (It's not really Italian flavors but tastes great!)
- Transfer the remaining vegetables to a plate. Preheat the same skillet with 2 teaspoons of oil.
- Add the closed chicken breasts to the skillet and brown on both sides, about 14 minutes.
- If using an oven-safe skillet, pour the balsamic reduction over the top. Lift the chicken up so that the juices travel underneath the chicken. Otherwise, pour a little balsamic reduction in a 9 x 9-inch baking dish and pour the rest on top.
- Bake on the center shelf for 15 to 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked thoroughly and the cheese melts.
- Add the remaining peppers and onion to the juices in the chicken skillet/dish and stir to coat. If the chicken breasts are too large for one person, cut them in half.
*If you like food on the sweet side, use as much as 2 tablespoons brown sugar in the balsamic reduction.
The chicken loses a lot of juices when baking, which makes the sauce very thin. If you want a thicker balsamic reduction, add it to a small saucepan and allow it to reduce again or add a teaspoon of cornstarch mixed with a teaspoon of water, bring to a boil and stir until thick. Repeat if it is not thick enough.
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