There are two ways to make stuffed chicken. The most popular way to make stuffed chicken is by using chicken breasts, but also a whole chicken may be stuffed and baked. When stuffing a whole chicken, it is important to remember to cook the chicken thoroughly and keep it covered. Baking a chicken is not the same as baking a turkey. Moisture must be trapped in to keep the bird tender, but even more importantly the stuffing must be cooked to a proper temperature. Failure to cook the stuffing and the inside of the chicken to a high enough temperature will mean that bacteria are simply soaking into the stuffing and surviving. Stuffed hicken should always be at a temperature of 180° in the stuffing and inside of the chicken’s flesh. Here are two methods and several ways to prepare delicious, safe and easy stuffed chicken:
1. Stuffed Chicken Breast
One of the best ways to prepare a stuffed chicken breast is to include spinach and ricotta cheese. To do this, use a boneless chicken breast. Cut the breast down the middle lengthwise but do not cut it completely in half. The breast should be cut like a pocket, but with two adjoining edges still intact. If the breast is cut completely in half or like a clamshell, it will allow the stuffing to fall out during cooking. Fill each chicken breast with about 5 tablespoons of ricotta cheese. Sprinkle a pinch of salt and pepper on the cheese, then line it with fresh spinach leaves. Close the breast’s sides together and if desired, wrap with a piece of twine. Place each piece in a greased baking dish, then drizzle the top of the chicken breasts with Italian dressing. Bake at 375° uncovered for 15 minutes, then turn the pieces over and drizzle more Italian dressing on the top. Cover it and bake an additional 20-30 minutes.
Bacon and cheese stuffing yields another delectable result. This recipe will require slightly cooked bacon pieces, about 2 strips for each breast. Also any desired kind of cheese may be used, but the best flavors with this recipe are Cheddar, Monterrey Jack and American. Cut the chicken as directed in the previous method, then place the bacon and cheese inside the breast. Layer bacon and cheese so that there are two layers of each. For those who love onion, also add a layer of onion for extra flavor. This chicken may be topped with drops of honey, 2 tablespoons of chicken broth or barbecue sauce. Bake uncovered at 375° for 15 minutes, then turn and glaze the other side. Cover the chicken and bake it for an additional 20-30 minutes.
2. Whole Stuffed Chicken
Before beginning, be certain that the chicken is completely defrosted. Check by placing a hand on the inside of the bird’s chest cavity and feeling the flesh. If gizzards are packaged in the cavity remove them and discard them or save them to use in making homemade gravy later. Either use a homemade stuffing recipe or a box of stuffing. Boxes of stuffing may be purchased at the grocery store and are delicious in chicken. Visit About.com: Basic Bread Stuffing for a delicious homemade stuffing recipe to use in the chicken. Place the stuffing inside the chicken. Rub olive oil, margarine or butter over the top of the chicken. Sprinkle salt, pepper and any other desired seasonings on the top. Place the chicken in an oven bag and seal it. Bake the chicken at 300° for about 3 hours. Check the temperature; remember it should read 180° internally when it is done.