Stuffed Grilled Chicken Pockets – I got this name for my dish with the help of my lovely viewers. So I decided to prepare and present this dish for one of my live cooking sessions and I wasn’t really sure (because of lock down…no ingredients…) what it’s going to be till a night prior… except for that it’s chicken for sure. Once I got my grocery bags, I took everything that was available and knew exactly what I’m going to make…!!! It’s one of our favourite and easy -going meal at home… Grilled Chicken!!
But, this time, I just didn’t want it to be a simple marinated chicken that is grilled on a pan. Thus, with the curiosity of wanting to do something different, I decided to stuff the chicken with some filling of cream cheese, spinach and mushrooms…!!!! It can be served as an appetizer or as mains because it is so filling.
Stuffed Grilled Chicken Pockets are chicken breasts stuffed with cream cheese, spinach and mushrooms. Why Pockets? Simply because I wanted a simpler way to secure the filling, so I made a vertical cavity around two inch wide opening instead of horizontally slitting the chicken breast. This way I was sure to get the filling right till the end of the cavity which would surely stay intact and in no way would spill out. So, if you want to avoid rolling up your chicken with the filling follow the vertical way and you’ll surely not be disappointed with any mishaps. In case you do plan to roll up the chicken, make sure you pound it good enough and then add the filling. Pounding helps in faster cooking and keeps the dish moist.
How deep was the cavity and how did I secure the cavity? Well, depending on the size of the chicken breast, small….medium or big, you can decide how wide and deep you want the cavity. If you follow the shape of the chicken breast which is usually V, so placing the smooth and thick side up insert the knife from the broader side and gently keep sliding the knife through just leaving one or two inches from the end of the V.
Usually, toothpicks are used to secure the filling. But I simply didn’t want to use toothpicks and so I thought of securing the filling with a leaf of baby spinach by simply tucking it nicely at the opening of the cavity. I was happy because this method worked perfectly good for me. As long as it works for you go ahead, else just prick through with the toothpick from bottom to up to close the cavity.
Once, your done with making the cavity, marinate the chicken for atleast two to three hours preferably over night before cooking. Marinating chicken for any dish you prepare is important that way it helps to keep chicken flavoursome and moist. Once you have all the goodness soaked up you’re good to get started…!!
I served Stuffed Grilled Chicken Pockets with Butter Garlic Spaghetti and a quick butter garlic sauce that goes perfectly well with it.
Ingredients for marination:
- 2 chicken breasts
- 1 tsp black pepper powder
- 1 tsp chicken seasoning
- 1 1/2 tsp ginger garlic and green chilli paste
- Salt as desired
Ingredients for Filling:
- 4 cheese cubes (I’ve used laughing cow and kiri, you can use any that’s available)
- 1 cup finely chopped baby spinach (you can use one’s that are available)
- 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
- 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley (optional)
- 1 tsp chopped garlic or garlic stems
- 1 tsp black pepper powder
- 1 tsp chicken seasoning (you can use any seasoning of your choice)
- Salt as desired
Oil and butter for cooking.
- Marinate the chicken inside out with all ingredients listed above for marination atleast for two to three hours preferably over night before cooking.
- Remove the chicken thirty minute to one hour prior before cooking till it comes to room temperature.
- Soak spinach in lukewarm water for five minutes and pat it dry.
- For the filling, in a bowl mix all ingredients listed above.
- Now, carefully fill the chicken breasts with the filling. Feel free to use your hands and push it carefully with your fingers. Similarly do the other one and secure both with a spinach leaf tucking it carefully at the opening.
- Heat a grill pan, add few drops of oil and tsp of butter and place the chicken.
- Cook both sides till you get nice grill marks on both the sides for two to three minutes each making sure the chicken is cooked. Flip and cook if required.
- You know your chicken is done when it changes colour from pink to white and gets nice and tender. Check by pricking a knife if it easily goes through and no longer pink from inside as well it’s done.
- Serve hot with any sauce or dip of your choice.
For butter garlic sauce, I simply used all the sauces I had at home. Add few drops of oil and a tsp of butter in a pan. Add a tbsp of chopped garlic two tbsp of chicken dipping sauce, tbsp of calamansi seasoning, tbsp of red chilli sauce and little ketchup to balance the taste. Just mix everything till one boil and serve with grilled chicken. This sauce is good to serve with any starters.
I have used raw spinach and mushroom as they cook very fast. So it will cook with the steam and heat when you grill the chicken.
To ensure your chicken is cooked, when it changes colour from pink to white and gets nice and tender simply check by pricking a knife if it easily goes through and no longer pink from inside as well it’s done.
Few basic points to remember to keep the chicken moist and avoid it getting dry:
- Make sure to get the chicken to room temperature before cooking.
- Avoid over cooking the chicken. It will loose it’s tenderness and surely get dry.
- Make sure you have a good marination time.
- Add chicken to a heated pan and not a cold pan and cook it on medium heat so it gets evenly cooked. On a high heat you might end up cooking the outer part and inner part might still remain uncooked.
- Good amount of oil or butter used to cook the chicken with ensure it remains moist and tender. You can also add little extra oil or butter while the chicken is still cooking. This process is called basting.
- Pounding can also help to keep the chicken moist and tender and allows faster cooking. I skipped this step simply because I have used a medium size chicken breast and slit it vertically.