Apricot Glazed Chicken

A dear teacher friend in The Netherlands introduced me to goat cheese close to twenty years ago. Mary is an American, married to a Dutch man, and was a fellow teacher for the Department of Defense Schools in Germany. I believe it was at least one of their four boys with a cow’s milk allergy and therefore she served goat cheese with the local fresh baked brötchen (German bread similar to a French loaf). I had no idea what I’d been missing – the creamy texture and mild flavor, spread over the warm bread – a perfect pairing with salami, prosciutto and fresh fruit! I can still taste the wonderfulness.

Ever since that day, a salad or entree made with goat cheese will certainly get my attention. For instance, when we lived in middle Georgia, The Rookery in downtown Macon serves a Chevre Chicken entree made with grilled chicken, fresh chevre, prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, and green onion. I highly recommend it. In fact, I’m not sure I tried anything else on the menu as it was my absolute favorite! Recently, I was inspired to stuff chicken with goat cheese and somehow integrate a jar of homemade apricot preserves hanging out in the pantry. After a couple hours at the local ski hill followed by a 2 mile hike on a slushy trailhead with the dogs, we were more than ready for dinner, and I couldn’t have been more pleased with the results.

Apricot Glazed Chicken (serves 3-4)

1 -1 1/2 lb. chicken tenderloins (or breasts), pounded thin
salt and pepper
1 egg
2 tbls. milk
1/4 c. flour
1/2 c. panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 oz. honey goat cheese
handful of kale or spinach leaves
1/8 onion, diced
1/2 c. white wine
4 tbls. apricot preserves
1 c. chicken broth
1 tbls. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. basil garlic seasoning

Preheat the oven to 350º. If you are using breasts rather than tenderloin, first slice in half horizontally for thinner slices. Pound the chicken until 1/4″ thick and malleable. Season both sides with salt and pepper. Slice the goat cheese into equal portions, one per slice of chicken. Add the cheese to the center of the chicken, then top the full length of the chicken with kale or spinach leaves. Gently roll, and attach with a short wooden skewer or long toothpick to secure.

In a shallow bowl, whisk the egg and milk until creamy. In a separate bowl, thoroughly mix flour, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Working with one chicken roll at a time, soak in the milk egg mixture, following by dredging in the flower mixture. Shake off any excess before adding to the hot skillet.

Heat a cast iron skillet on the stove to medium high, and add 2-3 T. of your favorite oil. (I used the caramelized garlic olive oil I use in so many of my recipes). When hot, add the chicken bundles and fry until golden brown on both sides. Note: You may be able to remove the skewers after the seam is sealed from frying and before flipping. When browned, remove the chicken from the skillet and add to a prepared baking dish.

Take advantage of the browned bits left in the skillet and deglaze to make the sauce. First, add the minced onion and saute over medium heat, scraping up the browned bits as you go. When the onion is tender, add the wine and the jam until melted. Boil until reduced in half. Add the chicken broth and basil, bring to a boil. Shake the cornstarch and a few extra tablespoons of chicken broth (cold water will work as well) in a jar or small container until smooth. Add the mixture to the boiling sauce to thicken slightly. Mix until combined. Pour the sauce over the chicken bundles. Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes.

Depending on the size of your bundles, portion 1-2 per plate, spooning sauce over the top. I served the chicken with au gratin potatoes and sliced red beets, paired with a glass of white wine.

I can imagine that several different fruit flavors could easily be substituted. For example, huckleberries are well known across Montana and are often used in an entree sauce or glaze. Cherries and cranberries would also be very tasty. If you are cutting carbs or cook gluten free, pan frying without the breading step would be an easy adjustment as well. I had suggested to my husband I could have used a larger portion of goat cheese and he disagreed, saying it was the perfect amount. Whatever your choice, I have no doubt it will be awesome!

Blessings,
Tina

Copyright © 2019 Montana Mountain Maven / Tina R. Cusker. All rights reserved.

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