Kentucky Hot Brown-Stuffed Chicken

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Chicken breast dinner never looked so good.

Kentucky Hot Brown-Stuffed Chicken
Photo: Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Christine Keely
Active Time:
20 mins
Bake Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
40 mins
Servings:
4

Over the years, we've devised plenty of twists on the iconic Kentucky Hot Brown sandwich. This Louisville classic typically features sliced turkey, Mornay sauce, bacon, and tomato. We've made Mini Hot Browns, Hot Brown Party Rolls, and even a Kentucky Hot Brown Casserole. And now, we've transformed this classic sandwich into a chicken dinner.

Our Kentucky Hot-Brown Stuffed Chicken proves that an old bird can still have new tricks. Rich and hearty just like the namesake sandwich, this dish packs all the flavors of a hot brown, with chicken breast taking the place of traditional turkey and panko breadcrumbs subbing in for white bread. The melty, creamy cheese provides contrast to the crunchy bacon, while the tender tomato and parsley garnish keep everything bright and fresh.

These hasselback chicken breasts will look beautiful on a dinner plate with pretty much any side, but we'd choose roasted potatoes and lightly steamed green beans.

Ingredients

  • 4 center-cut bacon slices, cut crosswise in thirds (12 pieces)

  • 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs

  • 1 ounce Parmesan cheese, shredded (about ⅓ cup), divided

  • 1 (5.2-oz.) pkg. garlic-and-herb spreadable cheese (such as Boursin), softened

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh chives

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish

  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided

  • ¾ teaspoon black pepper, divided

  • ½ teaspoon paprika

  • 4 (about 9 oz. each) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 large plum tomato, cored, halved lengthwise, and cut into ¼-inch-thick half-moons

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high, turning occasionally, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel; set aside. Transfer ½ tablespoon bacon drippings into a small bowl. Stir panko breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon of the Parmesan into skillet. Set aside.

  2. While bacon cooks, stir together garlic-and-herb spreadable cheese, chives, parsley, ¼ teaspoon of the salt, ¼ teaspoon of the pepper, paprika, and remaining 3 tablespoons Parmesan in a medium bowl to make ¾ cup (or 12 tablespoons) cheese mixture. Set aside.

  3. Working with 1 chicken breast at a time, make 7 or 8 crosswise slits (spaced ½ inch apart) into the top of each breast, leaving about ¼ inch attached along the bottom of the breast. Place prepared chicken breast on a rimmed baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.

  4. Rub chicken with olive oil. Sprinkle all over, including inside slits, with remaining 1¼ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stuff 1 bacon piece into each of 3 slits of each chicken breast. Stuff remaining 4 or 5 slits of each chicken breast evenly with spreadable-cheese mixture (about 2½ teaspoons each). Press plum tomato slices evenly into cheese-filled slits (it's okay if not every cheese-filled slit gets a tomato slice). Sprinkle with panko mixture.

  5. Bake in preheated oven until chicken is cooked through to 165°F and panko mixture is light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Garnish with parsley.

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