Smokey Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken

www.jamiecooksitup.blogspot.com
Time: 45 minutes hands on + 20 minutes baking

Yield: 4 servings
Recipe from Carolyn Kempe (Philly Finalist)
 
Filling:
1  8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 C ham, chopped into thin shreds
2 green onions, chopped
1 T minced chipotle pepper in adobe sauce
1/2 t salt
1/2 t smoked paprika
 
4 chicken breasts
1/3 C flour
1 egg, beaten
1 C panko bread crumbs
1/4 C olive oil
 
1. Toss all filling ingredients into your stand mixer, or into a small mixing bowl. Beat until well combined. 
2. Lay your chicken out on a large cookie sheet. Using a long sharp knife, cut a pocket in each chicken breast starting at the thickest part of the breast. 
3. Open up the pocket and stuff it with the filling. It's fine to fill them quite full. The cream cheese will seep out of the pocket just a bit when baked....but do not dismay! It makes a yummy little crusty bite of heaven. Something to look forward to!
4. Take some toothpicks and fasten the cut side of the chicken together. 
5. Dip each stuffed chicken breasts into the beaten egg, then the flour, then the panko bread crumbs being sure that all sides are coated.
6. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. When the pan is hot add 1/4 C olive oil. Allow the oil to heat up and then add your chicken to the hot pan. If you hear a nice sizzle when the chicken hits the oil....you will know you have the heat just right. Add just a sprinkle of salt at this point, will ya. I don't think you'll be sorry.
7. Let the chicken brown on both sides. Transfer them to a 9x13 pan that has been coated with cooking spray. 
8. Bake, uncovered at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 170 degrees. These handy meat thermometers are so nice to have around. I think I purchased mine at a local grocery store for under $5. 
9. Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes...then serve!
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