All the satisfaction of crispy fried chicken, but without all the grease. I’ve got plenty of tips to make sure this quick and easy cheese and ham stuffed chicken is so good that you’ll make it time and time again!
What is it about crispy food that’s so appealing? When I get home from work hungry, I try to be good and have a banana for a snack, but all I really want to do is stuff my face with crisps (that’s chips of course if you’re in the US or Australia, but don’t you think ‘crisps’ describes them a bit more accurately?).
I find crispy chicken especially delicious (don’t we all?), and so lately I’ve been thinking through ways to get it featured on the blog.
My original thought was a simple chicken schnitzel. You know, bash it down, roll it in crumbs, pan fry and eat. Yum!
But I do love a good stuffed bit of chicken too, so I can have that wonderfully satisfying experience of cutting into it and seeing whatever I’ve stuffed inside it ooze out. Which in this case is just a very simple mixture of ham and cheese.
Oh, and with a big splodge of Dijon mustard for a bit of oomph, and a squirt of honey to add the tiny bit of sweetness that Mr. Scrummy said was missing when we first tried this. I was a little skeptical about the honey part, but it actually does work well!
What Mr. Scrummy says he likes about this is the lovely moistness of the chicken, and the really crispy coating. I agree, but I also love how the cheese mixes with the mustard and honey to make a gooey, tasty sauce.
It took me a few tries to get this right. The first time I used too-small chicken breasts and I got a soggy bottom. The second time we realised it needed a bit of extra ‘something’ (the honey!), and the third I reckon I got it just right. But what this hopefully means is that I’ve done all the testing for you and yours will be just right too! Fingers crossed.
So here are my ‘tips’ for pretty darn perfect (IMHO) crispy baked cheese and ham stuffed chicken:
- Use really big chicken breasts so that it’s easier to cut the little pocket into it and you’ll have enough space for your cheese and ham to get stuffed into.
- Try to find good quality thin(ish) sliced ham. Not that awful watery wafer thin stuff you often see.
- Mozzarella works well for extra ooze factor, but I prefer to use a mixture of mozzarella for ooze and sharp cheddar for taste (to be honest though pretty much any grated cheese is fine).
- Now for the fun part. Wrap the cheese up in the ham – a bit like a tortilla – so that it doesn’t all ooze out during cooking. This also makes it easier to stuff into the chicken.
- Spread a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and a teaspoon of honey on the ham before sprinkling on the cheese.
- If you have time, refrigerate the stuffed chicken for a short while (around half an hour). Just helps keep everything together while you’re covering the chicken in crumbs.
- Japanese panko breadcrumbs work really well, for extra ease and crisp. Don’t worry if you can’t find any, though – ordinary white or brown breadcrumbs are fine.
- Bake the chicken on a wire rack so that you don’t end up with a soggy bottom! 😉
- Serve with a nice green salad with a simple dressing, and some really good bread. Delicious!
Wow, I’d gathered more tips than I thought! Really hope they help you to get a cracking dinner!
We both commented on how crispy and juicy this baked cheese and ham stuffed chicken is. I think the combination of the juicy things you put inside the chicken and the crispy ‘coat’ you put around it must be what helps it to stay so moist.
If you’re like me, you see ‘stuffed’ in a recipe and think that it must be hard to make. But really, it isn’t. Well, at least this recipe isn’t! See for yourself how easy it is:
Crispy baked cheese and ham stuffed chicken (with a video)
- 2 large chicken breasts
- 2 thin slices good quality ham
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons runny honey
- 1/2 cup grated cheese I used mozzarella and mature cheddar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1 egg whisked
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs I used Japanese Panko
- salt and pepper
To serve (suggestion)
- simple green salad leaves with a light dressing
- nice fresh bread
Use a sharp knife to cut a ‘pocket’ into the side of the chicken.*
Lay a slice of ham out (with the short side towards you), then spread with a teaspoon of mustard and a teaspoon of honey. Pile half of the cheese in the middle (towards the end closest to you) and then roll up like a tortilla, tucking the sides in as you go.
Repeat with the second piece of ham, then tuck one of the ham and cheese rolls into each chicken pocket. Press the chicken back down over the stuffing, then refrigerate for a while (at least half an hour).
Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 190C / 375F. Set out a plate with the flour on, a bowl with the egg in, and another plate with the breadcrumbs on. First grind plenty of salt and pepper over the chicken, then roll it in the flour, the egg, and the breadcrumbs in turn.
Place the chicken on a wire rack over a baking tray, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until the chicken is completely cooked through. Serve immediately.
*Cut as deep a pocket as you can into the chicken without cutting it all the way through. Start by slicing a small pocket, then gently widen / deepen it.
See the video in the post above to see how the chicken is assembled!
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