Wish Upon A Dish: Grilled Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Prosciutto and Muenster

September 21, 2010

Grilled Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Prosciutto and Muenster

As the days get cooler my time to grill grows shorter. I am not one to stand outside in freezing weather to grill a burger, sorry, just not me.

Next weekend we are going the Giants vs. Tennessee game at the new Stadium and it's the early game which means lots of morning sun and good tailgating goodies.
I am not one to want to sit in Giant Stadium when the sun goes down, it is windy, breezy and very cold in the Meadowlands. I like that we can come out after the game, re-lite the grill for a quick burger while the parking lot empties and the traffic is gone.

Tonight is the best night this week to grill, rain predicted tomorrow into Thursday, so I am happy to make one of our two favorite styles of cooking chicken......Stuffed and Beer Can.

Grilled Chicken Stuffed with Muenster and Prosciutto
(Adapted from Cook's Illustrated)

* 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breast halves(about 12 ounces each), trimmed of excess fat and skin
* Table salt
* Vegetable oil for cooking grate
* 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
* 1 medium shallot, minced (about 3 tablespoons)
* 4 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon leaves
* 2 ounces muenster or fontina cheese, cut into four 3 by 1/2-inch sticks
* 4 thin slices prosciutto (about 2 ounces)
* Ground black pepper

1. Starting on thick side of breast, closest to breastbone, cut horizontal pocket in each breast, stopping 1/2" from edge so halves remain attached. Dissolve 3 tablespoons salt in 1 quart cold water in large container. Add breasts, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate 30 minutes.

2. Light large chimney starter filled with charcoal (6 quarts, about 100 briquettes) and allow to burn until coals are fully ignited and partially covered with thin layer of ash, about 20 minutes. Arrange all coals over half of grill, leaving other half empty. Position cooking grate over coals, cover grill, and heat grate until hot, about 5 minutes. Scrape grate clean with grill brush. Dip wad of paper towels in vegetable oil; holding wad with tongs, wipe cooking grate. Grill is ready when coals are hot (you can hold your hand 5 inches above grate for 2 seconds).

3. Meanwhile, combine butter, shallot, and tarragon in small bowl. Roll each piece of cheese in 1 slice prosciutto. Remove breasts from brine, dry thoroughly inside and out with paper towels, and season inside and out with pepper. Spread equal amount of butter mixture inside each breast. Place 1 prosciutto-wrapped piece of cheese inside each breast and fold breast over to enclose. Evenly space 3 pieces kitchen twine (each about 12 inches long) beneath each breast and tie, trimming any excess.

4. Place chicken breasts, skin side down, over hot part of grill and cook until well browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Flip chicken and cook until second side is just opaque, about 2 minutes. Move chicken, skin side up, to cool side of grill, with thicker side of breasts facing fire. Cover grill and continue to cook until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of stuffing registers 160 degrees, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer chicken to carving board and let rest, tented with foil, 10 minutes. Remove twine, then carve breast meat from bone (see photo below). Carve into 1/2" thick slices and serve.

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