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Chicken Breasts stuffed with Apricots in a Savory Chèvre

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Serves: 2 | Total Time: 1 day, 1 hour and 40 minutes


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I have been making this stuffed chicken breast recipe for years. It is one of my favorite chicken recipes!

This is the perfect date night dinner recipe to make if you are looking for meal ideas for two. The majority of the work can be done a day in advance, leaving you more time for what you like to do best during a romantic dinner – spending your undivided time on your date!

I first came up with this chicken recipe idea many years ago. I had just moved to Long Island and was hankering for a fancy dinner at home that I could make for myself. I had some chopped dried apricots sitting in my cupboard that I had picked up on a whim. At the time, I had never cooked with apricots before, much less dried ones!

Having trouble finding dried apricots at your grocery store? Purchase some good quality ones by clicking on:

iGourmet.com

Baked Chicken Breast

Apricots are a stone fruit, and stone fruits pair well with white wine. In fact, you can get a wonderful peach wine on the north fork of Long Island. I just happened to have a bottle that I had gotten that week while out wine tasting with a good friend.

I did not use the peach wine in this recipe since I was going to use the chopped dried apricots. This is a savory main dish, after all! I decided to stick with a bright, fresh wine with acidity, such as Sauvignon Blanc, which typically has notes of peach without being too sweet.

Chicken Breast Meat With Chopped Dried Apricots

Sage and thyme are my favorite herbs to cook with chicken. So of course, they got added to the recipe. All I needed now was a nice, creamy base for the stuffing.

Enter plain goat cheese.

If you have never cooked with goat cheese and you are not sure what to expect, know that it breaks down into a wonderful custard-like consistency when heated up. It also absorbs any flavor you add to it. The more aged the goat cheese, the more earthy the flavor, but in any case, it’s light tanginess will balance out the sweetness of the apricots beautifully.

Oh boy, how do you stuff chicken breasts?

Entree Idea: How Do You Stuff Chicken Breasts?

For the best results, start with chicken breasts that are large. The fatter they are, the easier it will be to stuff them without piercing through the meat. If you do pierce it, just wrap the skinny end of the breast underneath that part and place it on the bottom of the sheet tray when it comes time to bake the chicken. The meat will cook together, searing in the flavors of the herbed goat cheese with fruit you whipped up.

A note about how to cut chicken breasts to stuff; use a paring knife. It is small, sharp, and easy to maneuver.

You might find it a little strange that I leave my chicken breasts uncovered when chilling overnight. Don’t worry, they will dry out a little, but you want some of this to happen because it is what will give these boneless, skinless chicken breasts a nice crust; one that will seal all the juices inside during baking. The butter acts as a moisture barrier, too, so use it liberally!

Plan for a little extra time for baking. The best baked stuffed chicken breasts will take longer to cook through the stuffing. It may take close to double the time you are used to if you normally cook chicken breasts all by themselves.

Baked Stuffed Chicken Breasts

You’ll know when the chicken breasts are done by piercing a hole through one with a sharp skewer. If the juices run out clear, they are ready. Try to resist cutting them open with a knife. If they are not yet done, all of the moisture may steam out through the cut as they finish baking.

The bigger the cut, the more moisture you’ll lose.

Lost moisture means… dry chicken meat.

No!

So, resist the urge… please!

Baked Stuffed Chicken Breast Chevre Goat Cheese

I like to let my baked stuffed chicken breasts rest on a cutting board for a few minutes before slicing. This allows the juices to reabsorb into the meat so that you don’t lose too much when you cut them for serving. This is a really important step for the juiciest white meat ever. I know, you just want to dig in, but trust me on this part. 

Wait that extra five minutes!

If you want to serve this as a fancy main course dish, place the slices fanned out on plates. Garnish with a leaf of butter lettuce and a dried apricot. If you are more the casual type, just place the whole chicken breasts on plates let everyone cut their own. Add a side of white rice or potatoes and your favorite veggies.

Oh, and don’t forget the glasses for that bottle of white wine you opened. Sauvignon Blanc pairs great with chèvre goat cheese, too!

Fine Dining Dishes with Chevre Goat Cheese

Sauvignon Blanc Pairs Will With Goat Cheese Dishes

Wine pairings for Chicken Breasts stuffed with Apricots in a Savory Chèvre:

Sauvignon Blanc is the best bet for this dish. Go for one made with riper grapes, like those found in Napa. A great one to try:

Joel Gott Sauvignon Blanc 2018

How to make Chicken Breasts stuffed with Apricots in a Savory Chèvre:

What you’ll need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped dried apricots
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 ounces chèvre (goat cheese), room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon almonds, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Sauté the shallot and chopped dried apricots until lightly browned and glossy, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent them from burning. Add the wine and continue to stir for another minute, or until the liquid is absorbed, then stir in the herbs. Cook for one more minute or until the herbs become fragrant but not browned. Remove the skillet from the heat.

2. Add the goat cheese to the skillet and stir to combine with the apricot mixture. Next, stir in the almonds. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to stir until well mixed. The mixture should begin to bind into a ball. This is what you want to see; it will be easier to work with when stuffing the chicken breasts. Transfer the goat cheese filling to a small bowl and set aside.

3. Butter a baking dish with 1/2 tablespoon butter, set aside.

4. Using a paring knife, cut pockets into the chicken breasts, starting at the thickest end where the tendon is located. Use your fingers to carefully push through the breast to make a pocket, being careful not to poke a hole in the side. Use a small spoon or your fingers to stuff one chicken breast with half of the goat cheese filling. Massage the meat gently to push the filling into the farthest corners of the pocket, then pinch the hole shut. Fold the thin end of the chicken breast under (covering any thin spots or holes that may have torn while stuffing the chicken breast) and place in the prepared baking dish with the folded side down. Repeat with the second chicken breast, using the rest of the filling, if possible. You do not want to overstuff the chicken, so don’t fret if you have some filling left over.

5. Rub the remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter onto the outside of the chicken breasts, being careful not to push out the stuffing. Place the baking dish with the stuffed chicken breasts in the refrigerator, uncovered, overnight or for up to 24 hours, but not longer than 1 day.

6. When ready to bake: Preheat the oven to 375F. Cover the stuffed chicken breasts tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 120F. After 45 minutes, remove the foil and baste the chicken breasts with the pan juices. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the chicken just begins to brown.

7. Increase the heat to 475F. Baste the chicken breasts with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle a small amount of chopped almonds over the meat. Put the chicken in the oven again and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until juices run clear. The internal temperature of the meat should be 150F.

8. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and carefully slice the breasts crosswise, being careful not to push out the stuffing. Serve drizzled with the juices from the pan. If you have any leftover stuffing, reheat it for a minute or two and serve it with your chicken dinner.

Learn How To Cook With Gordon Ramsay!
Chicken Recipe Ideas
Meal Ideas For Twto
Goat Cheese Stuffed Apricot Chicken

Chicken Breasts stuffed with Apricots in a Savory Chèvre

Christy Boston’s Kitchen
Looking for romantic dinner recipe ideas? Chopped dried apricots and herbed goat cheese fill these stuffed chicken breasts. Make this chicken dinner a day ahead and enjoy a no-fuss date night at home.
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Chill 1 d
Total Time 1 d 1 hr 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine French, Gourmet
Servings 2

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tbsp olive oil divided
  • 1 shallot peeled and finely chopped
  • ¼ cup finely chopped dried apricots
  • 2 tbsp white wine
  • 1 ½ tsp chopped fresh sage leaves
  • ½ tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 ounces chèvre (goat cheese) room temperature
  • 1 tbsp almonds finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp salted butter softened and divided
  • 2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts

Instructions
 

  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium-sized skillet over medium heat. Sauté the shallot and chopped dried apricots until lightly browned and glossy, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent them from burning. Add the wine and continue to stir for another minute, or until the liquid is absorbed, then stir in the herbs. Cook for one more minute or until the herbs become fragrant but not browned. Remove the skillet from the heat.
  • Add the goat cheese to the skillet and stir to combine with the apricot mixture. Next, stir in the almonds. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to stir until well mixed. The mixture should begin to bind into a ball. This is what you want to see; it will be easier to work with when stuffing the chicken breasts. Transfer the goat cheese filling to a small bowl and set aside.
  • Butter a baking dish with 1/2 tablespoon butter, set aside.
  • Using a paring knife, cut pockets into the chicken breasts, starting at the thickest end where the tendon is located. Use your fingers to carefully push through the breast to make a pocket, being careful not to poke a hole in the side. Use a small spoon or your fingers to stuff one chicken breast with half of the goat cheese filling. Massage the meat gently to push the filling into the farthest corners of the pocket, then pinch the hole shut. Fold the thin end of the chicken breast under (covering any thin spots or holes that may have torn while stuffing the chicken breast) and place in the prepared baking dish with the folded side down. Repeat with the second chicken breast, using the rest of the filling, if possible. You do not want to overstuff the chicken, so don’t fret if you have some filling left over.
  • Rub the remaining 1/2 tablespoon butter onto the outside of the chicken breasts, being careful not to push out the stuffing. Place the baking dish with the stuffed chicken breasts in the refrigerator, uncovered, overnight or for up to 24 hours, but not longer than 1 day.
  • When ready to bake: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cover the stuffed chicken breasts tightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meat reaches 120F. After 45 minutes, remove the foil and baste the chicken breasts with the pan juices. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the chicken just begins to brown.
  • Increase the heat to 475°F. Baste the chicken breasts with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and sprinkle a small amount of chopped almonds over the meat. Put the chicken in the oven again and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until juices run clear. The internal temperature of the meat should be 150°F.
  • Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and carefully slice the breasts crosswise, being careful not to push out the stuffing. Serve drizzled with the juices from the pan. If you have any leftover stuffing, reheat it for a minute or two and serve it with your chicken dinner.

Video

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Herbed Chèvre with Mushrooms in Phyllo Pouches

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Serves: 6 | Total Time: 50 Minutes

I first developed this recipe about 6 years ago. Mark and I were dating, and I wanted to treat him to one of my fancy appetizer recipes. He was kind enough to chop the mushrooms for me, and it did take quite a while. I was a beginner at working with phyllo dough as well, so that added even more time.

After a couple of hours, the phyllo appetizers were done.

I have come a long way since then!

To hasten up the chopping process, using the large holes on the grater attachment of a food processor shreds the mushrooms in a couple of minutes. As far as working with the phyllo dough… that just comes with practice. In time, you can get the process of preparing the phyllo cup appetizers down to just 10 minutes, but don’t rush this step if you are new to phyllo dough.

These mushroom and goat cheese appetizers are very filling, so if you serve them as an appetizer, two per person should be plenty. Mark and I sometimes have these as our entree – six of these phyllo dough appetizers makes a filling meal.

I like to serve these mushroom purses with a good red wine that has notes of cinnamon and clove over juicy berry flavors. My recommendation? Los Hermanos Manzanos Tempranillo – 2018.


Herbed Chèvre with Mushrooms in Phyllo Pouches

Total Time: 50 Minutes

Prep: 20 Minutes / Cook: 30 Minutes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram leaves
  • 4 cups finely chopped assorted mushrooms
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 4 ounces goat cheese
  • 7 ounces phyllo dough
  • chopped fresh chives, for garnish

RECIPE DIRECTIONS:

1. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the garlic until lightly browned, one minute. Add the herbs and continue to heat, stirring constantly, for another minute. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms give up their juices and the pan dries out, about 10 more minutes.

2. While the mushrooms are cooking, heat the remaining stick of butter (8 tablespoons) in a small saucepan over medium heat. When melted, whisk in the Chinese five spice. Reduce heat to low to keep warm.

3. When the mushrooms are finished cooking, remove the skillet from the heat and allow to cool slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the goat cheese and using a wooden spatula, break it up and mix it into the warm mushroom mixture until thoroughly combined and creamy. Set the mushroom mixture aside.

Phyllo Dough Appetizer With Mushrooms and Goat Cheese.

4. Prepare the phyllo dough by removing it from the package and laying it flat. Cover the dough sheets with a tea towel that has been dampened with water and wrung well. (Phyllo dough dries out fast and once dry, it cannot be worked with. Keeping the dough covered with the damp cloth will prevent it from drying out.) 

5. Very carefully peel away one sheet of phyllo dough and place it on a flat surface. Dip a pastry brush into the melted butter with the Chinese five spice, tap against the side of the pan to remove excess butter. With light, quick stokes, brush the melted butter onto the phyllo dough sheet. (The best way to do this without ripping or wrinkling the dough is to hold one side of the sheet down with your fingers while brushing it in a direction away from your fingers. If this is your first time working with phyllo dough, this may take some getting used to. Just take your time, you’ll get the hang of it!) You don’t need a lot of butter for this step, just enough to moisten the sheet. When the first sheet is completely brushed with butter, carefully remove a new sheet of phyllo dough and place it directly over the one just brushed. Repeat this process until you have four sheets stacked, but do not brush butter onto the fourth (top) sheet. 

6. Cut the stacked dough into four squares that measure about 3 by 4 inches. Repeat step four until you have 12 of the smaller squares. Place the squares into the cups of an un-greased muffin tin.

Mushroom Purses With Phyllo Dough

7. Fill each square with the mushroom mixture so that they are about half full. There should be about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons in each cup. Once all of the cups are full, lightly pinch the dough together to form a ‘purse’. Leave a small opening on the top for steam to escape. You don’t want to press the dough together too tightly, just enough to nearly cover the mushroom mixture but so that the dough is still somewhat loose.

8. Dip the pastry brush into the melted butter. Tap off the excess, then lightly dab the tops of the purses. It is ok if the dough layers separate a bit, in fact, you want this. This will create a lighter, flakier end result. You only want enough butter on the purses so that they brown while baking, you don’t need very much – too much and the dough will become soggy.

9. Drain the remaining melted butter through a stainer into a ramekin, discard the residue. Keep the butter warm by placing it on top of the oven as the mushroom purses bake.

10. Bake the purses for 15 minutes at 325 degrees F or until the tops are golden brown. When done, remove the pan from the oven and let the purses cool for a few minutes so that you can safely handle them. Carefully lift them from the muffin tin with a teaspoon and transfer them onto a serving platter. Be careful that you don’t break them! Sprinkle with sliced fresh chives and serve with the ramekin of the strained spiced butter.

Phyllo Dough Appetizer With Mushrooms and Goat Cheese.
Gourmet Mushroom Appetizer Ideas
Phyllo Appetizer Recipe

Herbed Chèvre with Mushrooms in Phyllo Pouches

Looking for fancy appetizer recipes? Impress your dinner guests with this phyllo dough appetizer recipe that includes mushrooms, goat cheese, and herbs. Make it in under an hour!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 50 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine French, Gourmet
Servings 6 people
Calories 410 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ½ sticks unsalted butter divided
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh marjoram leaves
  • 4 cups finely chopped assorted mushrooms
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ tetaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 4 ounces goat cheese (chèvre)
  • 7 ounces phyllo dough
  • chopped fresh chives for garnish

Instructions
 

  • Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the garlic until lightly browned, one minute. Add the herbs and continue to heat, stirring constantly, for another minute. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms give up their juices and the pan dries out, about 10 more minutes.
  • While the mushrooms are cooking, heat the remaining stick of butter (8 tablespoons) in a small saucepan over medium heat. When melted, whisk in the Chinese five spice. Reduce heat to low to keep warm.
  • When the mushrooms are finished cooking, remove the skillet from the heat and allow to cool slightly, about 3 minutes. Add the goat cheese and using a wooden spatula, break it up and mix it into the warm mushroom mixture until thoroughly combined and creamy. Set the mushroom mixture aside.
  • Prepare the phyllo dough by removing it from the package and laying it flat. Cover the dough sheets with a tea towel that has been dampened with water and wrung well. (Phyllo dough dries out fast and once dry, it cannot be worked with. Keeping the dough covered with the damp cloth will prevent it from drying out.) 
  • Very carefully peel away one sheet of phyllo dough and place it on a flat surface. Dip a pastry brush into the melted butter with the Chinese five spice, tap against the side of the pan to remove excess butter. With light, quick stokes, brush the melted butter onto the phyllo dough sheet. (The best way to do this without ripping or wrinkling the dough is to hold one side of the sheet down with your fingers while brushing it in a direction away from your fingers. If this is your first time working with phyllo dough, this may take some getting used to. Just take your time, you’ll get the hang of it!) You don’t need a lot of butter for this step, just enough to moisten the sheet. When the first sheet is completely brushed with butter, carefully remove a new sheet of phyllo dough and place it directly over the one just brushed. Repeat this process until you have four sheets stacked, but do not brush butter onto the fourth (top) sheet. 
  • Cut the stacked dough into four squares that measure about 3 by 4 inches. Repeat step four until you have 12 of the smaller squares. Place the squares into the cups of an un-greased muffin tin.
  • Fill each square with the mushroom mixture so that they are about half full. There should be about 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons in each cup. Once all of the cups are full, lightly pinch the dough together to form a ‘purse’. Leave a small opening on the top for steam to escape. You don’t want to press the dough together too tightly, just enough to nearly cover the mushroom mixture but so that the dough is still somewhat loose.
  • Dip the pastry brush into the melted butter. Tap off the excess, then lightly dab the tops of the purses. It is ok if the dough layers separate a bit, in fact, you want this. This will create a lighter, flakier end result. You only want enough butter on the purses so that they brown while baking, you don’t need very much – too much and the dough will become soggy.
  • Drain the remaining melted butter through a stainer into a ramekin, discard the residue. Keep the butter warm by placing it on top of the oven as the mushroom purses bake.
  • Bake the purses for 15 minutes at 325 degrees F or until the tops are golden brown. When done, remove the pan from the oven and let the purses cool for a few minutes so that you can safely handle them. Carefully lift them from the muffin tin with a teaspoon and transfer them onto a serving platter. Be careful that you don’t break them! Sprinkle with sliced fresh chives and serve with the ramekin of the strained spiced butter.
Keyword date night dinner ideas, easy gourmet recipes, goat cheese recipes, how to cook phyllo dough, mushroom appetizers
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Made this recipe? Let me know how it went!