30-minute recipes like this stuffed chicken thighs recipe with a mixture of creamy, melty goat cheese, spinach, artichoke hearts, and sun dried tomatoes that sits right under the crispy skin, not only make boring chicken dinners a thing of the past, but since it’s cooked all in one cast iron skillet, the typicial stack of dishes to wash goes by the wayside, too.
As a recipe creator, it’s part of my job to look through cookbooks. But as a regular-old, home cook, one of my favorite hobbies is to look at them for fun, too. Call me crazy—I’m okay with that—but don’t ever think I don’t find myself one of the lucky few who actually gets to weave a hobby they love into their full-time job. I mean, how many of us can count walking through the grocery store and squeezing avocados or deciding on shrimp or chicken for dinner tonight as the means for their paycheck? So when I receive another new cookbook in the mail, it’s like Christmas at our house. Make that Christmas in the kitchen.
Today’s recipe comes from Megan of the blog Country Cleaver‘s new cookbook Cast Iron Gourmet, with recipes any home cook can easily master. From one-pot dinners, to meals made with just 5 ingredients, or those ready in 30 minutes or less, these cast-iron skillet or dutch oven recipes prove her tagline of “with less fuss and fewer dishes” totally true. And totally my kind of recipes.
Chicken is always a popular recipe to prepare. The best grilled chicken. Oven roasted chicken (proof that garlic, lemon and rosemary are made for one another.) And of course slow cooker chicken. So it’s no wonder that while looking through Megan’s book that’s loaded with a bounty of comfort food recipes and deliciously inspiring photos, chicken is what made me stop and stare.
To put it simply, chicken can sometimes get boring. But not this one. I’ve been ready to add a cheese stuffed chicken recipe to the blog forever, so when this one loaded with my best-loved Mediterranean-inspired ingredients of artichokes, spinach, and sun-dried tomatoes caught my eye, it went straight to the top of my to-make-list.
How Do You Make Stuffed Chicken?
Many stuffed chicken recipes stuff the middle of the bird meat with a stuffing concoction. But this one cuts out the need for extra knife skills or trimming by simply placing the stuffing gently under the skin instead.
Bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces work best for this recipe, and while you could create this as a stuffed chicken breast recipe, I really do prefer it with thighs as the dark meat tends to lend a juicier bite. If you prefer the white meat of chicken breast better, use bone-in, skin-on breasts, but you will need to adjust your cooking time accordingly.
For both thighs and breasts, take note that because the cold bone acts as an insulator, allow the chicken to come to room temperature before cooking so the meat will cook evenly all around.
How to Get a Crispy-Cooked Chicken Skin
There are several simple rules to achieve a crispy-cooked skin every time:
- Pat the chicken skin dry with paper towels before seasoning or adding to the pan. Moisture will make the skin steam rather than fry.
- Trim extra chicken skin and fat away, but know that the skin will shrink as it cooks so be careful of how much you cut away or you’ll end up with patchs of cooked skin rather than an even, crispy blanket. These are my favorite kitchen shears and I pretty much use them every single day.
- Use a pan large enough so the chicken pieces aren’t crowded, and cook on medium high heat so the oil is hot enough to crisp the skin in 4-5 minutes on each side. This cast-iron skillet is totally affordable and my husband’s favorite. Also, follow these tips for how to season a cast-iron skillet.
- Avoid nudging or flipping your chicken before it’s ready. Cook the chicken pieces skin-side down and leave undisturbed for at least 4-5 minutes. Gently lift the chicken from the pan to see if it will easily release. If it sticks, let it cook for another minute or two until it releases from the pan, then carefully flip so the skin doesn’t tear.
What to Serve With Stuffed Chicken Thighs to Make a Meal
This dinner can easily become a one and done dinner, but if you’re looking to augment it into something more, here are a few additions for the menu.
- Buttermilk Blue Cheese Potatoes (so good drizzled with the pan jus)
- The Best Buttery Parsley Potatoes (who am I kidding? This one is too)
- Easy 5-Minute Parmesan Zucchini
- Mashed Cauliflower with Parmesan and Chives (low-carb and amazing taste)
- Citrus, Fennel and Avocado Salad
- 1½ pounds bone-in, skin-on, chicken thighs (about 4 pieces)
- ⅓ cup goat cheese, softened
- ⅓ cup cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup wilted spinach, chopped and squeezed of extra moisture
- ¼ cup drained artichoke hearts, chopped
- ¼ cup sun-drained tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, minced
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons olive or canola oil
- ½ cup chicken broth
- Let the chicken sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before cooking so it takes the chicken comes to even internal temperature for even cooking.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a medium size bowl, mix the goat cheese and the cream cheese together until smooth. Stir the spinach, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper into the cheese mixture until combined.
- Pat the chicken dry with a paper towel. Carefully loosen the skin from the thigh meat with your fingers, gingerly making a pocket so the skin is still connected at the edges to the meat. Gently place a spoonful of the goat cheese mixture in the pocket between the skin and the chicken, keeping it in a small mound of cheese. Pull the skin so it covers the chicken and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- In a large cast iron skillet, add the olive oil over medium high heat. Place the chicken skin-side down in the skillet. Cook for about 4-5 minutes or until the chicken skin is golden and crispy. Carefully turn the chicken over and cook for another 4-5 minutes or until it's golden brown. If the chicken sticks to the pan, it isn't ready to turn.
- Add the chicken broth to the bottom of the pan and carefully cover with aluminum foil. Put in the oven for 12 -15 minutes, or until this internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160°F. Remove from the oven and let the chicken rest for 5 minutes. The chicken will continue to cook as it sits. Garnish with more basil and serve.
More Skillet Chicken Recipes to Make Now
- 30-Minute Caprese Chicken Recipe
- Cast Iron Skillet Whole Roasted Chicken with Potatoes
- One-Pan Chicken With Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Sauce
- 30-Minute Creamy Mushroom and Leek Chicken Breasts
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