Chicken Breasts Stuffed With Chiles, Bacon and Cheese
6 (6-to 7-oz.) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, trimmed of excess fat
1 to 2 limes
6 slices (5 to 6 oz.) bacon
3/4 c. chopped yellow onion
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 large serrano chile, chopped
1 c. grated pepper Jack cheese
1 1/2 tbsp. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Vegetable oil for oiling grill rack
Soak 6 short wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes before using. Pat dry. (Metal skewers can also be used and do not need soaking.)
Remove the small strip of meat called the fillet from the underside of each breast and save for another use. Using a sharp paring knife held parallel (horizontal) to the work surface, make a pocket about 4 to 5 inches wide and 2 inches deep in each breast. Set breasts aside while you prepare the filling.
Zest limes to yield 1 1/2 teaspoons; then juice limes. Set zest and juice aside.
Fry bacon in a medium, heavy skillet over medium heat until crisp. Remove and drain on paper towels, then crumble bacon.
Pour off all but 1 1/2 tablespoons of drippings in skillet and return skillet to medium heat. When hot, add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is softened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in chopped serrano chile. Place mixture in a medium bowl, cool completely and then stir in grated cheese, parsley, 1/8 teaspoon salt, cayenne, crumbled bacon and lime zest. Mix well.
Divide cheese mixture into 6 equal portions and stuff each breast with filling. Secure with skewers. (Breasts can be prepared 2 hours ahead; cover and refrigerate.)
When ready to cook chicken, oil a grill rack and arrange 4 to 5 inches from heat source. Prepare grill for a hot fire (high temperature). Grill until chicken springs back when touched with your fingers and juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Internal temperature should be 170 degrees. (Chicken can also be cooked on a stove-top grill pan.)
Remove skewers and arrange chicken breasts on a platter. Pour some reserved lime juice over each breast and season with salt, if desired.
Leave a Reply