Chicken Pocket Pesto with an Alessi Inspired Farro Salad
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Total Time: 50 min
Yield: 4 Servings
Chicken Pocket Pesto:
4 large boneless skinless organic chicken breasts
½ jar of Alessi Kale Pesto
½ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup crumbled goat feta cheese
4 Alessi sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced
Zest of one lemon
Directions: Preheat oven to 375
To stuff a chicken breast, you'll need to cut a pocket lengthwise into the breast to hold the filling. The pocket should be deep and wide enough to get the filling into, but not so big that the filling can fall out during cooking. Larger organic breasts make this step slightly easier.
Place the widest/thickest side of the breast closest to your knife. Use the tip of the knife to make a slit at the top of the breast. Push the knife straight down lengthwise the breast. Tip: if you shimmy the knife a little to the left and right down the breast, you can use your fingers (or a back of a wooden spoon) to widen the pocket to avoid cutting through the breast.
For the Filling:
In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients and mix gently with a spoon. Then using a small teaspoon start filling each breast. Then using the back of a wooden spoon or your finger push filling down throughout the breast so it is evenly filled. Note: you may need one or two toothpicks to seal any blemishes or openings. Once all the breasts are filled, season each breast lightly with salt and pepper on both sides.
Heat a large frying pan with a tablespoon of olive oil on medium high heat and pan-fry each breast until golden brown. About 3-4 minutes each side. Then place in a 375-degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until breasts reach 160 degrees.
Alessi Inspired Farro Salad
1 cup Alessi organic pearled farro
2 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 large clove of minced garlic
8 oz. of shitake or cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 large shallots or one small red onion, finely diced
2 red and 2 yellow Alessi roasted peppers, diced
4 Alessi sundried tomatoes, finely diced
8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
¼ cup fresh parsley
¼ cup fresh basil
¼ cup Alessi pine nuts, lightly toasted
¼ cup crumbled goat feta, plus more for garnish
Zest and Juice of one lemon
Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
First rinse farro with cold water using a fine mesh strainer, place rinsed farro in a small saucepan and cover with two cups of stock and one clove of minced garlic. Bring to a boil, then cover with a lid and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes until farro is fully cooked. Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat. Add mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes. Then add shallots to the mushrooms and sauté for an additional 5-6 minutes. If mushrooms seem dry add a few tablespoons of chicken stock or water to help them get tender. Season mushrooms and shallots with sea salt and pepper to taste. Next in a large mixing bowl add cooked farro, mushroom and shallot mixture, diced peppers, sun dried tomatoes, lemon zest and juice. Mix gently with two spoons. Last add fresh herbs, cheese, and toasted pine nuts. Taste the salad to see if it needs any extra salt or black pepper. Garnish with fresh herbs and a crumble of cheese for a pop of color. Enjoy!