When it comes to stuffed chicken breast, the sky’s the limit. And with my chicken breast stuffed with crab imperial and spinach, you’re reaching for the stars!
My restaurant days were some of my happiest days, creating incredible dishes, having all eyes on me as I walked across the dining room, and the sheer joy on people’s faces as they enjoyed their meals! One of the more challenging parts of my job running the restaurant was deciding what my specials would be, what would I create to satisfy and amaze my guests. It was always easy to come up with show stoppers when using pricier ingredients, but not everyone that came in was looking for that high ticket entree, they were there to enjoy a good meal without breaking the bank.
For those recipes I turned to chicken, it helped keep the cost down and allowed me to use some higher priced ingredients as well, blending flavors to make the dish enticing and delicious! I think the fact that I didn’t eat red meat helped me create some really good chicken dishes, and one that I’m going to share with you was always a favorite.
Chicken breasts don’t require a lot of prep, but one thing you do want to consider when working with chicken breasts is that they do need to be pounded out a bit. Being a chef I always have a meat hammer to work with, but I have been at other people’s homes that didn’t have a specific meat hammer and sometimes you need to be creative. Of course, a regular hammer will do, just remember to wrap it in foil or plastic wrap first and use the side of the hammer, not the head. You can also use a small frying pan and give it a few whacks to flatten it out.
I would, of course, suggest adding a small meat hammer to your kitchen if you don’t already have one, you’re going to use it and it will make your life easier! When pounding out chicken breasts, you do want to use the flat part of any meat hammer, not the ridged sides, the other side is reserved for beef or pork, meats that can use some help in tenderizing. It’s also a good idea to place a layer of plastic wrap under the chicken and one over top of the chicken before pounding.
This will actually help in the flattening process, and keep little bits of chicken from embedding themselves throughout your kitchen! While pounding the chicken don’t strike straight down, you want to almost push the meat towards the outer edges while you pound. We want the breast intact and this is the best way gain size without breaking apart the breast.
I stuffed this chicken breast with a crab imperial mix with some fresh spinach added in, and in Lisa would eat roasted red peppers you would have seen them in the mix as well. People eat with their eyes, so think festive and use colorful foods to add a little extra visual pizzazz to your dishes. If crab meat isn’t in your budget or just isn’t something you enjoy eating, you can always stuff your chicken breast with any of your favorites. Sausage, cheese, spinach and apples, would make a great stuffing especially for this time of the year, or if you would like to keep it simple how about a nice bread stuffing with mushrooms! The dish is yours be creative.
If crab meat isn’t in your budget or just isn’t something you enjoy eating, you can always stuff your chicken breast with any of your favorites. Sausage, cheese, spinach and apples, would make a great stuffing especially for this time of the year, or if you would like to keep it simple how about a nice bread stuffing with mushrooms! The dish is yours be creative.
I had intended to make a Dijon cream sauce for this dish, but had no Dijon on hand and just didn’t have the time to run to the store, so I made a Horseradish Lemon cream sauce, have fun with the sauce and use what you have on hand. When I developed recipes in my restaurants, I would use what I had on hand and just combine flavors that went well together, just don’t be afraid to experiment!
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded thin
- 1 lb lump crabmeat
- 8 oz baby spinach
- 2 oz roasted red peppers (optional)
- 1/2 cup Hellman's Mayonnaise
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp old bay
- 2 sheets puff pastry dough (defrosted)
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp flour
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 tbsp prepared horseradish
- juice of one half lemon
- pinch of black pepper
- trim chicken breasts and pound thin (chicken should almost double in size)
- cook spinach in a little water until completely wilted. Squeeze out all the water from the cooked spinach.
- Mix mayonnaise, egg, sugar, and old bay together and blend well, this is your imperial sauce.
- Mix together crabmeat, spinach and roasted peppers (if your using them)
- Add in the imperial sauce and mix together. (do not add all the imperial sauce in at one time in case its too much sauce for your mixture, mix should be loose but not too loose.) Chill this mixture for at least 30 minutes, it will be easier to work with.
- Place chicken breasts on a tray and divide mixture between the four breasts.
- Wrap breast around the crab meat mixture, tucking in all the sides until a nicely shaped ball is formed.
- Place stuffed chicken seem side down in a casserole dish, adding a little chicken stock, or water in the bottom to keep the chicken moist, cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.
- while chicken is cooling prepare your puff pastry dough, by rolling it out so that's its a little thinner and larger (you want to have 4 eight inch squares)
- Place cooled chicken breast in the center of the puff dough and wrap the dough around the breast sealing the dough under the chicken breast *
- At this point you can refrigerate your chicken and bake it later in the day
Before baking, brush dough with a lightly beaten egg, place in 350-degree oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry dough has a nice golden brown color.
- melt butter in small pan, then add in the flour, allow the roux to cook for 5 minutes on low, do not let it darken or burn.
- add in warm chicken stock and mix well
- add in heavy cream and continue to mix, if the sauce seems to thick add in more chicken stock or a little water.
- add in horseradish, lemon juice and black pepper, taste and adjust according your tastes, using more horseradish if you like.
- Serve chicken with lemon horseradish sauce and sides of your choice.
*Do not overlap the pastry dough on the bottom, trim it so there is an even layer of dough, or it will not cook entirely and you will have raw dough on the bottom when you serve the chicken.