BLUE CHEESE STUFFED CHICKEN WITH FIG SAUCE AND LOCAL GRITS
RECIPE COURTESY OF CHEF CHRIS ZAPALOWSKI
Yield: 4 servings
1 cup blue cheese crumbles
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 1/8 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, divided
4 (6 ounce) boneless skinless chicken breast halves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
2 cups diced onions
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh garlic
3/4 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 cups fresh figs, cut in half, divided
2 tablespoons honey
4 cups hot cooked grits
Preheat oven to 350F.
Combine the blue cheese, yogurt and 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper in a small bowl. Cut a horizontal slit through the thickest portion of each chicken breast to form a pocket. Stuff the cheese mixture evenly into the pockets. Season the chicken on both sides with the salt and remaining teaspoon of pepper.
Heat the oil in a large, oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook 5 to 6 minutes or until browned. Turn the chicken, add 1 tablespoon of the butter to the skillet and place the skillet in the oven. Cook chicken for 7 to 8 minutes or until cooked through. Remove the chicken from the skillet and keep warm until ready to serve.
Return the skillet to the stovetop over medium-high heat. Add the onions and thyme and cook, stirring frequently for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Add the chicken broth, vinegar, 1 cup of the figs and the honey. Bring the mixture to a boil and simmer for 6 to 8 minutes or until the liquid reduces and the sauce thickens slightly. Add the remaining 1 cup of figs and remaining tablespoon of butter and toss to combine. Remove the skillet from the heat and add the chicken back to the pan, tossing to coat. Remove and discard thyme sprigs.
Spoon the chicken and fig sauce over hot cooked grits and serve immediately.