Everywhere there are signs of spring. Cherry blossoms on the trees, daffodils in the parks, and in the markets, bunches of fresh, new season asparagus. I wait all year to get my hands on asparagus, and today we’re having Asparagus Stuffed Chicken Breasts, yum!
Apart from the obvious, Asparagus Stuffed Chicken Breasts are filled with an incredibly tasty mixture of fresh mozzarella, Parmesan cheese and sun-dried tomatoes. Cooked in a white wine sauce, this is the perfect one-pan meal for spring.
Did you just say one-pan?
Yes! My favourite kind of recipe! These chicken breasts are stuffed and then seared to golden brown perfection on the stovetop. They finish cooking in the oven. This method, known as pan-roasting means perfectly juicy, perfectly cooked chicken breasts every time with no stress.
A stress-free host = the best kind of party
The secret to a really good dinner party is a host/cook who isn’t running around in a panic. There is no point trying to be an entire restaurant kitchen crew when you’re alone in the kitchen as you’ll only end up having a terrible time and stressing yourself, and your guests out.
That’s why a recipe like this, which you can prep up earlier in the day and then deal with very quickly when the guests arrive, is a lifesaver. The kitchen is clean, the cook is serene, and there is all the more time to have a glass of wine and a chat with your friends. Win-win.
Make in advance
You’ve got two options, the first, (which I prefer, as the asparagus stays fresher) is to season and stuff the chicken breasts, ready to cook quickly when your guests arrive. Alternatively, you can just cook the whole thing and gently re-warm it before serving.
Is it fiddly to butterfly and stuff chicken breasts?
Not at all, you just need a good, sharp knife to slice through the breasts horizontally, then it is as simple as adding the ingredients, folding them back together and securing them with a couple of toothpicks. This is a dish that looks much fancier than it actually is.
feed a crowd
This recipe requires one smallish chicken breast per person, so simply scale it up or down as necessary. If you are making a huge amount I’d recommend browning the chicken in batches for best results.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Asparagus isn’t in season! What else can I stuff chicken breasts with?
If asparagus isn’t in season you could try using baby spinach leaves instead. Otherwise, give my delicious Feta and Pesto Chicken a go.
How do I know the chicken is cooked?
Because the chicken is first browned in the pan and then oven roasted if you stick to the temperatures, times and quantities given in this recipe you should be fine.
If you want to be double sure, either cut into one of the chicken breasts (yours) to make sure it is cooked through or use a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast. The USDA recommends a temperature of 71°C/ 160°F when you remove the chicken from the oven. It will continue cooking to 73°C / 165°F as it rests.
Can I freeze Asparagus Stuffed Chicken Breasts?
In this case, I wouldn’t recommend it. You’re better off making these fresh for the best results.
Can I sear the chicken breasts and then finish them off in the oven later?
Par-cooking chicken breasts is not recommended. If you want to prepare these in advance I’d recommend stuffing them and keeping them chilled until you are ready to sear and cook them completely.
I don’t drink wine! What can I substitute?
A great substitute for white wine is a mixture of fresh orange juice and water with a dash of vinegar.
A note on Chicken Breasts
Chicken breasts, much like chickens, vary drastically in size from country to country. European birds are smaller than the kind sold in the U.S and Australia.
As a good rule of thumb, you want breasts that are around 200g / 7 oz. each. If you are dealing with gigantic dinosaur-sized pieces of meat, you’ll need to trim them down to size. I freeze the offcuts and use them for another meal like my Honey Ginger Chicken or Chicken Pie.
Asparagus Stuffed Chicken Breasts
- 800 g boneless and skinless chicken breasts, 200g / 7 oz. each
- 12 green asparagus spears, trimmed
- 125 g ball of fresh mozzarella
- 100 g sun-dried tomatoes in oil, diced
- 50 g Parmesan cheese,, grated
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp sweet paprika powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 125 ml white wine
- 1 tsp chicken stock powder
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- sea salt and black pepper
- rocket / arugula / green salad
- small bunch of chives, sliced
- PREPARE: Heat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas 6 with a rack in the middle shelf.
- CUT AND STUFF THE CHICKEN: Butterfly the chicken breasts by cutting them horizontally through the middle and opening them out like a book. Season well with salt and pepper then lay three asparagus spears on each. Top with mozzarella, tomatoes and parmesan, then for closed, securing each with two wooden toothpicks.
- SEASON AND SEAR THE CHICKEN: Season the outside of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper, then scatter over the oregano, paprika and garlic powder. Heat the butter in a large, oven-proof saucepan and cook the chicken breasts over medium heat for 3 minutes on each side, without moving, until golden brown.
- ADD THE LIQUID AND ROAST: Mix together the wine, chicken stock powder and balsamic vinegar, then pour into the pan, allowing it to bubble a little and using a wooden spatula to scrape up any browned on flavour. Transfer to the preheated oven and roast for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.
- REST THEN SERVE: Remove the chicken from the oven, allow to rest for 5 minutes, then transfer to warmed plates, spooning over plenty of the sauce. Serve with a leafy green salad and garnish with chives. A good white bread goes well with this to mop up the sauce.
WINE RECOMMENDATION: A crisp New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc compliments the asparagus beautifully.
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