Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts
These boneless chicken breasts come out flavorful, moist and tender every time. They're filled with a mixture of fresh spinach, dill and feta cheese, that is reminiscent of spanikopita (Greek spinach pie), then baked in a simple tomato sauce. Briefly sautéeing the spinach in a little butter prior to mixing it with the other filling ingredients lends extra moisture to the chicken from the inside out as it cooks.
- 6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 10 ounces fresh spinach leaves, roughly chopped
- 8 ounces crumbled feta
- 2 eggs, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons bread crumbs
- 4 green onions, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons fresh dill
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- For the sauce:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic
- 28-ounce can tomatoes
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Spray a 13 x 9-inch pan with nonstick spray. Using a sharp knife, make a pocket in each piece of chicken by slicing horizontally to within 1/2-inch of the opposite edge. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Heat the butter in a pan over medium high heat. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes. Drain off any liquid, transfer to a bowl and allow to cool.
Prepare the sauce next. Reduce the heat to medium and add the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and oregano. Season to taste with salt and pepper, cover and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spoon about 1/2 of the sauce into the bottom of the prepared 13 x 9-inch pan.
Drain off any additional liquid that may have accumulated in the bowl of spinach. Add the feta, eggs, bread crumbs, green onions, dill, oregano, salt and a few grinds of black pepper to the spinach and mix well. Fill the pocket of each chicken breast with the spinach mixture and arrange them in a single layer over the sauce. Top with the remaining sauce, cover the pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Serve over cooked pasta or steamed rice.
Makes 6 servings
If you like extra cheese, remove the chicken from the oven after 40 minutes, uncover it and sprinkle with some additional crumbled feta. Return to the oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly.