California Cheese-Stuffed Chicken

Course : Chicken
Serves: 4
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4 medium chicken breast halves -- skinless and boneless
4 ounces each -- up to 5
8 sheets phyllo dough -- (paper-thin sheets of pastry sold frozen in supermarkets)
4 tablespoons melted -- unsalted butter
---cheese filling
1/2 cup grated monterey jack cheese -- (3 oz.)
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese -- (3 oz.)
2 tablespoons softened unsalted butter
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon or
2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper -- to taste
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preparation / Directions:

Place filling ingredients (cheeses, butter, spices, salt) in a bowl. Mash ingredients together until they form a stiff paste; your fingers or a big wooden spoon are the best tools for this job. Divide the mixture into four finger-shaped logs, each about 3 inches long, and set aside. Flatten each chicken breast by placing it between two sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper and pounding with a mallet or rolling pin until roughly 1/4-inch thick and 5 or 6 inches across. Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Place a cheese log in the center of each breast, then roll and fold chicken around the cheese to enclose it completely. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place one sheet of phyllo dough on a kitchen work surface. Top with a second sheet and brush lightly with melted butter. Set a chicken breast in the center of one of the narrower ends, then roll it up in the phyllo, tucking the ends of the dough under (like a burrito) to enclose the chicken and make a neat package. Repeat with the remaining 3 chicken breasts. Place the phyllo-wrapped breasts fold side down in a 13 by 9 inch baking dish and brush with remaining melted butter. Bake about 40 minutes, until sizzling and well browned. (A meat thermometer inserted into the center of the chicken should read 170 degrees.)


Nutritional Information:

421 Calories (kcal); 20g Total Fat; (54% calories from fat); 37g Protein; 2g Carbohydrate; 108mg Cholesterol; 497mg Sodium

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