Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fig and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken in a Sweet “Pop” Reduction with Cracklin’ Sage

Fig and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken
in a Sweet “Pop” Reduction with Cracklin’ Sage

Country comfort food never tasted so good:  California Wine Country Meets Pittsburgh.  This dish is totally fusion, and totally affordable and light.

Just because you’re watching your weight and living economically doesn’t mean that you can’t eat a little “fancy” now and then.  If you’re looking for something a little different to serve company or the perfect meal for “date night,” try this dish.  It’s not difficult to prepare and the flavors -  WOW!  

The chicken is succulent; the creamy tartness of the goat cheese marries with the savory and subtle sweetness of the fig.  The “pop” sauce is a sugary delight with just a hint of pepper, raisin and spice.

You are going to love this meal!

Even if you’re planning on cutting this recipe in half, make the whole batch of the fig and goat cheese stuffing.  Spread it on a toasted whole wheat honey bagel in the morning – HEAVEN!

The addition of the soda, or “pop” as we used to call it in Pittsburgh where I grew up, makes this sauce very special, as does the Heinz 57.  The Heinz sauce has raisin in it, which makes it very unique.  There are likely English steak sauces that also have that ingredient, but the Heinz has always been my favorite.  In fact, I use the sauce and a jerk rub to make my simple beer can chicken in the summer, and people rave about it.

PS-  I am not endorsing either product, and no product was supplied to this blogger, but there are no others like it.  If you are going to make this, I suggest you go with the originals.

Here is the recipe:

Serves 4.

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 cup Dried Figs (about 20 figs)
1 cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1  4 ounce Container Crumbled Goat Cheese
1 cup Dr. Pepper 10
1  tablespoon Heinz 57® Steak Sauce
Freshly Ground Black Pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon Vegetable (Soybean) Oil
4 or 5 fresh Sage Sprigs

Other:  Butter Flavored Cooking Spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Slice a pocket in each chicken breast; do not cut all the way through.

In a skillet or a saucepan, add figs and chicken broth.  Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, about five minutes until figs are reconstituted. 

Transfer figs to a bowl and let cool slightly.  

Reserve chicken broth.

Once figs are cooled enough to handle, chop.  Add to bowl.

Add goat cheese and mash with the figs until well blended.  Divide into four portions.

Stuff each pocket of each chicken breast with the mixture. 

Spray baking dish with cooking spray.  Add stuffed chicken breasts to dish.  Spray tops with more cooking spray.   Bake for 30 minutes.

In a saucepan combine reserved chicken broth, Dr. Pepper 10 and Heinz 57.  Whisk together.  Bring to boil and reduce to simmer, about 10 minutes until thickened.  Add freshly ground black pepper, to taste.

In another skillet, add vegetable oil and sage.  Fry sage for approximately three minutes.  Transfer to paper towel to drain.

Serve chicken with sauce and top with crumbled (cooled) cracklin’ sage.
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