I love taking a classic dish like seared chicken breast and sprucing it up with whatever seasonal ingredients are available to me. This time around, I was really inspired by tart apples and cozy herb flavours like sage and thyme to create a delicious pan gravy…. because who doesn’t love a pan gravy?
I chose to use shredded Gouda in this recipe as opposed to a Brie or Gruyere for a couple reasons: it tends to have more flavour then a mild cheese like Brie, and I was anticipating that the herbs would enhance the flavour of the cheese rather than mask it. Gouda also comes in a variety — smoked, extra aged, mild, flavoured with peppercorns, you name it. I tend to choose whatever I’m in the mood for eating that day. Tuck into this delicious dinner and pair it with your favourite dry white wine and autumn-inspired side dish.
- 3-4 large chicken breasts
- 1/2 apple, sliced thin
- 3/4 cup of shredded gouda
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1/2 cup of all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
- 1 tsp of onion powder
- 1 tsp of dried rosemary
- 2 tbsp of unsalted butter
- Salt, pepper, olive oil
In a medium bowl, combine the shredded gouda, fresh thyme leaves, black pepper and salt to taste. Next, cut your apple into thin slices and set aside. Next, using a plate with a rim or a shallow dish, add the flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste and dried rosemary and mix to combine. This will be for coating your chicken so that you can get a nice sear on each side.
Start by butterflying your chicken breast by slicing an incision in the middle of the thickest part of the protein and cutting through halfway, essentially creating a pocket. Be sure not to slice all the way through, otherwise you might need to tie your chicken pieces with kitchen twine so they don’t fall apart. Repeat with the others and finish off by seasoning the outside of chicken breast with salt and pepper evenly.
At this time, prep whatever needs to be chopped for your pan gravy as well: the garlic, the chopped sage, etc. Once the chicken is pulled from the oven, you’ll be preparing the sage gravy to go with but it is much easier to cook when you have done your prep work in advance.
Time to stuff the chicken!
Start by taking a few apple slices and layering them down along the one side of the pocket, ensuring they are as far in as possible. Next, take a handful of the shredded gouda cheese and lightly pack it into the pocket as well on top of the apple. The goal here is to let the filling melt and get all gooey and yummy while the rest of the chicken cooks. Repeat with the rest of the chicken breasts and filling and set aside on a separate plate.
Next, at this time, heat a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat with the unsalted butter and a little olive oil. Take each chicken breast and dredge it on both sides in the flour mixture and brush off any excess. Sear the breast within the hot pan for about 2-3 minutes on one side or until golden brown before flipping it over carefully to sear the other side. (I ended up using tongs & a spatula for this step to help me flip!)
Once all of the chicken breasts have been seared on both sides, transfer to a baking tray and place in the oven for an additional 15 – 18 minutes. Check that the internal temp reaches anywhere between 160 – 165F before pulling from the oven and allowing to rest. Tent with aluminum foil to keep the breasts moist and tender while you start on the pan gravy.
- 1/4 cup of unsalted butter
- 2 gloves of garlic minced
- 1/4 cup of flour
- 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock
- 5-6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
- Salt and pepper
Using the same pan that you seared the chicken in (wipe clean of dark burned butter, if any, before starting), add the butter to the pan and saute the garlic for about a minute until fragrant. Next, add your flour and combine together to form a roux. Season your roux at this time with salt and pepper and allow it to cook out for a few minutes — this will act as the thickener to your gravy. Next, slowly whisk in your chicken stock and combine thoroughly until all of your stock has been added. Bring to a boil and mix a few times to ensure nothing gets glooey and clumpy.
Add the chopped sage and sprigs of whole thyme into the pot, allowing your gravy to bubble away and reduce until it gets to the consistency you like.
TIP: If your gravy is looking a little too light in colour, you can always add a splash of soya sauce to it for a little extra umami flavour, but also to darken the colour.
Serve over your apple and gouda stuffed chicken and enjoy guys!
As always, peace and good eats friends.