Basil-Parmesan Chicken Breasts

I finally found the recipe for this dish a few days ago and made it again the other night.  I had forgotten how easy it is to make and how gooood it is!  The hardest part is tying the chicken breast to keep the stuffing in.  I always use too much stuffing, which results in it oozing out when I brown the skin.  But it’s still good.  Nothing better than fried cheese!  (My mouth is watering as I write this).  The smell of the basil-pesto with parmesan as it cooks in the oven is soooo good!  Makes us hungry and impatient for it to be done, as exemplified by David asking, “what are we waiting for”?  “Well, for it to finish cooking”, I said.

The finished product is so moist and juicy!  Better than any rotisserie chicken out there!

Recipe (adapted from Steven and Chris):

  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) soft butter
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (125 mL) grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup (50 mL) jarred basil pesto
  • 3 stalks green onion, finely chopped
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 4 chicken breasts (up to 3/4 lb./375 g each), skin on, bone-in (trimmed of excess fat and skin)
  • drizzle olive oil for pan frying
  1. To make filling, in bowl, blend butter and flour well, then mix in cheese, basil pesto, green onion, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. Cut open a “pocket” in each chicken breast by cutting into meatier side of breast and across meat, but not cutting through on other side of breast.
  3. Tuck heaping tablespoon of basil-parmesan filling into each breast, spreading out to fill pocket.
  4. Recover breast meat over filling.
  5. Use kitchen twine to tie around mid-point of breasts (this keeps meat from curling open during roasting).  (Breasts can be covered and kept chilled overnight in fridge at this point).
  6. To cook chicken, preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  7. Heat olive oil in large oven-proof fry pan on medium-low.
  8. Brown breasts, skin-side down, about 3 minutes (be patient as the skin will release properly from the pan when it is browned sufficiently).
  9. Turn breasts skin-side up.
  10. Roast breasts in the fry pan on middle rack of oven 35-40 minutes or until juices run clear and chicken is cooked through.

Notes and Tips:

I usually half the recipe for 2 chicken breasts.  I rub the outsides of the chicken with some salt and ground pepper for more flavour.  I also tie the breast at both ends instead of just in the middle to better help keep it together.  Since I don’t have an oven-proof frying pan, I just fry it on a regular pan and then transfer it to an oven-proof pot.