Stuffed thighs are better than stuffed breasts
You will find many recipes for stuffed chicken breasts. However stuffing chicken thighs produces a taster and juicier dish. A few years ago we were set to make stuffed chicken breasts and only had a package of thighs on hand. It takes a bit of a lighter touch as the meat is not as uniform but we won’t go back. They are so much more tender, juicy and flavorful (as well as less expensive) . I use boneless , skinless thighs which are typically found 4 per package.
Prep the meat
Remove the fat and butterfly any thick sections slicing form the center outwards and then folding the flap out. Pound out under a piece of plastic (the top of the package they came in works well) until about 1/4″ thick. They will be irregular and have holes – don’t worry.
Prep the stuffing
1.5 cups net of frozen spinach thawed and wrung out well. You may need 2-3 cups to start with before wringing out the extra juice.
1 c shredded cheese . We like 4 cheese mexican blend
1/3 c finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic finely chopped
Microwave the onion and garlic for one and about 90 seconds and let sit for another 3 minutes covered. You want them to be translucent and not browned.
1/2 tsp dried oregano – roll in your palm to crumble
1/2 tsp dried basil – roll in your palm to crumble
Mix all of the stuffing ingredients, being sure to break up the lumps of spinach. Having the spinach and cheese well mixed helps keep it from leaking out while baking.
1c Panko crumbs
3 Tbsp pine nuts crushed
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese (“green can cheese” is ideal for this)
Stuff, roll and coat
Place 1/4 of the stuffing mix on each thigh, fold over and roll lightly. Place 1 wrap of string in each direction (along the roll direction and across like putting ribbon on a package) .
Dredge in flour, then in a beaten egg to which salt and pepper has been added.
Roll in the crumb mix and pat down to set the crumbs. Let sit for 10-20 min. which helps the coating stick better.
Pan fry and Bake
Heat 1.5 Tbsp bacon grease in an oven proof pan
Brown on 3 sides , roll to the 4th side and then place in 350 degree oven on convect for 25 min. Internal temperature should be 160F when done.
Instead of shredded cheese blend , substitute feta cheese.
Leave out the basil and double the oregano
Add grated zest of 1 lemon and juice of 1/2 lemon to the stuffing mix
After baking, squeeze juice of 1/2 lemon over the tops