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BackstoryI serve this quite a bit when friends come to dinner. It's a fairly simple way to make a pretty flashy meal. It's also very cost effective.
- 6 Large boneless skinless chicken breasts (butterflied).
- 1 Bunch fresh asparagus.
- 1 Cup thinly sliced crimini mushrooms.
- 1 Cup Fontina, Gruyere, or Swiss cheese, shredded. (even better if you mix and match!)
- 12 Strips of thick cut, peppered bacon.
- 2 Cloves garlic, minced.
- 1 Tbsp. Unsalted butter.
- Paprika. (sweet works best)
- Salt/Pepper to taste.
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Start by trimming the woody ends from the asparagus and butterflying the chicken breasts. Pound the breasts to an even thickness to make sure they cook evenly.
- Brown the butter in saute pan til it smells "nutty". Saute the asparagus, mushrooms, and garlic in butter until the asparagus is slightly undercooked. Don't forget to season with a little salt and pepper! (Kosher salt is best)
- Mix the sauted vegetables with the cheese (it will begin to melt) and stuff each chicken breast with an equal amount of the mixture. I find 3 or 4 asparagus spears per breast works best (the asparagus will hang out of both ends of the chicken).
- Sprinkle paprika and a small amount of black pepper on both sides of each chicken breast. Wrap two slices of the pepper bacon around each breast. You may want to hold the chicken breast together with a couple toothpicks while baking. This will help keep the cheese from running out of the breast as it melts. Don't forget to remove the toothpicks before serving!
- Bake at 375 for 35-45 minutes or until the chicken is cooked and the bacon is browned. The bacon fat will melt all over the chicken, keeping it very moist and delicious.