Kale, Apple, and Bacon Stuffed Chicken Recipe

Yields: 4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25-30 minutes

Ingredients:

Chicken:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approximately 6 ounces each)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Stuffing:

  • 2 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chopped kale (stems removed)
  • 1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and diced (Honeycrisp or Granny Smith work well)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese or feta (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Equipment:

  • Large skillet
  • Baking sheet
  • Meat mallet or rolling pin (optional)
  • Toothpicks (optional)

Instructions

Prepare the chicken:

  • Pound chicken breasts to an even thickness (about ½ inch) for even cooking. This step is optional but recommended.
  • Using a sharp knife, carefully cut a deep pocket into the thickest side of each chicken breast.
  • Season both the inside and outside of the chicken with salt and pepper.

Make the stuffing:

  • Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon, leaving rendered fat in the pan.
  • Add onion to the skillet and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes.
  • Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, until fragrant.
  • Add kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Stir in diced apple, cooked bacon, goat cheese/feta (if using), thyme, salt, and pepper. Cook for another minute. Set aside.

Stuff the chicken:

  • Divide the kale mixture evenly among the chicken breasts, stuffing it into the pockets.
  • If needed, secure the opening with toothpicks to prevent the stuffing from falling out.

Cook the chicken:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  • Heat a drizzle of olive oil in the same skillet used for the stuffing over medium-high heat.
  • Sear chicken for a few minutes per side, until golden brown.
  • Transfer chicken to a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through (internal temperature reaches 165°F / 74°C).

Make the sauce:

  • While the chicken bakes, use the same skillet to make the sauce. Deglaze the pan with chicken broth, scraping up any browned bits.
  • Stir in Dijon mustard and maple syrup. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until sauce thickens slightly.

Serve:

  • Remove toothpicks from chicken, if used.
  • Plate chicken and drizzle with the maple mustard sauce.

Tips:

  • For a richer flavor, substitute heavy cream for the chicken broth in the sauce.
  • Add other mix-ins to the stuffing, like dried cranberries, walnuts, or shredded cheese.
  • No kale? Use spinach for a similar effect.
  • Serve with roasted potatoes, rice, or quinoa for a complete meal.

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