Stuffed Chicken Breast

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This is one of my favorites. Very easy to make, but plenty of complex flavors. I serve it two ways - Either hot out of the pan, or chilled in the fridge and then served as an appetizer.
The wild rice takes at least an hour to cook, so plan ahead for that. I'll frequently cook it a day ahead while I'm doing something else. And the sherry is the "secret ingredient" here, so don't leave that out or substitute wine. If you're using large breasts you'll need to slightly increase the amount of stuffing you make.

1 Tbsp olive oil
3/4 cup diced andouili sausage
1/4 cup diced onion
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 1/2 cup cooked wild rice
1/4 tsp each savory, thyme, basil
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of rosemary
1/4 cup sherry
1 Tbsp pesto sauce
1 tsp sun dried tomato, finely diced
1 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
2 medium, boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 Tbsp canola oil
Toothpicks to seal chicken

1. First make the stuffing. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat and brown the sausage for a minute. Add the onion and brown for another minute. Add the wild rice, garlic, spices, salt and pepper, pesto, sherry, and sun dried tomato. Let the mixture simmer, stirring frequently, until the sherry is absorbed/evaporated. Take off the heat and mix in the parmesan.

2. Cut deep pockets in the side of the chicken breasts with a sharp knife. Try to make as much room for the stuffing as possible. Try to make both sides of the "pocket" evenly thick. This is a bit tricky, especially with the thin part of the breast, but if you make a mistake and cut through the side, you can seal it later. No big deal.
3. Stuff as much stuffing in each pocket as you can, still being able to seal the thing. Use a spoon to push the stuffing into the back of the pocket so that it's very "plump". Use toothpicks to hold the pocket closed. If you cut a hole in the side, use a tooth pick to seal that. Don't worry too much about getting a great seal, you just need to hold things together. And use as many toothpicks as you need, they'll come out later.

4. Heat the canola oil to medium high in a heavy saute pan that has a lid. When the pan is good and hot, place the stuffed breasts in (no crowding), cover the pan, and reduce the heat to medium. The cooking time will vary depending on how thick the chicken was originally, I cook them about five minutes per side. Half way through, turn the chicken and re-cover the pan.

5. Once cooked through, remove from the pan and let them sit for a few minutes before removing the tooth picks. Now you have two choices - You can either serve them just like that, or you can cover them and chill for a few hours in the fridge, and then serve them sliced as an appetizer.
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