The Joy of Pumpkin: Pumpkin-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
PUMPKIN-STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS
This is a lighter (and quicker, and easier) meal in comparison to pumpkin stew, but it’ll whittle away at your baked pumpkin reserves and give your household something fresh-tasting and delightful. Feel free to take liberties with the ingredients, but be sure to serve this entree with something crisp and green, like a winter salad or green beans with lemon zest.
3-4 large, boneless chicken breasts
1 tbsp olive oil/butter
1/3 cup diced yellow onion
3/4 cup baked, mashed pumpkin flesh
3/4 cup fresh (or 1/2 cup frozen) chopped spinach leaves
3-4 dried apricots, roughly minced, or 1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup “interesting” cheese — think goat, feta, bleu, or smoked gouda, crumbled, diced or shredded
Salt and pepper to taste
OPTIONAL (for a light breading)
2 tbsp melted butter
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup finely crushed walnuts or pecans (optional)
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (3/4 to 1 cup if not using nuts)
Salt and pepper, herbes de provence, paprika, and/or other mild seasonings to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Split chicken breasts. If desired, remove skin.
Over medium heat, saute onion in oil and/or butter until lightly browned (you can also use as much as 3/4 diced onion and caramelize it, if you’ve got a few extra minutes). Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Stuff mixture into chicken breasts, and arrange the meat in an oiled baking dish.
If you want breaded chicken breasts, put the beaten egg a shallow bowl and dry ingredients in another shallow bowl or soup plate. Coat each breast in the egg, then roll/dust in the dry ingredients. Place the breaded breasts in the baking dish, then drizzle the top with melted butter.
Cover the dish with aluminium foil and bake for 30-50 minutes until the chicken is done; timing will depend on the thickness of the breasts and amount of stuffing. I trust we’re all adults and know how to check for chicken doneness. You can also remove the foil and bake uncovered for a few (10-15) minutes at the end, basting with pan juice if not breaded, to get a nicer color. If the breasts are breaded, you’ll want to do this anyhow.
Let the finished breasts sit outside the oven for 7-10 minutes after baking is done, then plate and serve.
Want more pumpkin? Check out my four other pumpkin-centric recipes, all original and all delicious!