Chorizo-stuffed Chicken With Red Pepper Tapenade, Capers and Spiced Feta Cheese
Use the flat, not jagged, end of a meat tenderizer to flatten chicken, beating the underneath side, not the tops.
Remove chorizo sausages from wrapping, break apart into a prepared, hot heavy skillet, stirring frequently. Chorizo cooks quickly, so don’t leave unattended. Cook for 5-7 minutes until lightly browned, scraping the bottom of the skillet frequently. Pour contents into a sieve balanced over a metal bowl. Retain drained oil.
In a small bowl, combine drained capers and finely crumbled feta cheese. Spoon tapenade into another sieve balanced over the chorizo oil, draining the tapenade oil into the same bowl with the reserved chorizo oil. Add drained tapenade to capers and cheese mixture.
On a cutting board or large flat surface, using the flat side of a meat tenderizer, beat chicken breasts until flat.
Allow chorizo to cool slightly before adding the sausage to the cheese mixture, or it will melt the cheese.
Once chicken is flattened, the chorizo should be cool enough to add to the cheese mixture. Spoon 2-3 Tbsp. cheese mixture into the center of each flattened piece of chicken.
Use white thread to hold the chicken breast in place during the browning process. Pretty is not the goal – just wrap it well enough to prevent the cheese mixture from leaking out into the skillet or during baking.
Wrap chicken completely around cheese mixture and roll several times with white string to hold chicken in place. DO NOT tie ends of string, just roll it around the chicken in several directions, pushing cheese mixture to center and covering as much as possible with chicken breast. It doesn’t need to be perfect or all that pretty – the goal is simply to not lose all of the cheese out into the baking pan during baking.
Re-heat heavy skillet, spooning in 2-3 tbsp. of reserved oil blend. Add rolled chicken to hot oil and brown on all sides, cooking each side for 2-3 minutes. Chicken will still be raw on ends, edges and in the middle. Add additional oil as needed during the browning process. Remove browned chicken and place in a 9 X 13 baking dish prepared with non-stick cooking spray.
Once chicken is cool enough to touch, find the end of the string, and carefully unravel until the string is removed from each piece of chicken. Set chicken in baking dish with seams facing downward.
Place seams down in the baking pan and sprinkle any leftover cheese mixture over the top. Cover with foil before baking.
Top with leftover cheese filling. Cover with foil.
(Either proceed directly to baking instructions or refrigerate for up to 24 hours; may also freeze at this point, wrapped individually in plastic wrap and stored in freezer bags for later use.)
Bake chicken in prepared 9 X 13 baking dish for 45 minutes at 325℉ or until done
(carefully slice the center of one of the inner pieces of chicken to determine doneness before removing from oven). Remove from oven and let sit covered with foil for 10 minutes (this allows the juice in the dish to be absorbed by the chicken and will make your meat juicy). Slice in thin layers or serve whole.
(Leftovers are wonderful served cold atop salads, in pasta dishes, or as a base for soups, tacos or enchiladas.)