Mushroom-Stuffed Chicken Breasts in a Balsamic Pan Sauce

Marianne cut this out of a Parade magazine several years ago, and I finally gave it a try recently. I'm using the same amount of filling and sauce that the recipe recommends for 8 breasts. My tip from my first attempt: Be very careful about keeping the pan sauce from burning by being diligent with the water and cooking time.

Serve with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir or Merlot.

Ingredients:

4 split skin-on chicken breasts
1 oz. dried mushrooms of choice
1 lb. white or portobello mushrooms, cleaned, stems trimmed, coarsely chopped
4 large garlic cloves
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
2 tbspp. olive oil
6 oz. goat cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. cornstarch dissolved in one tbsp. water

Cooking:

Bring 1 cut of water to a boil. Add dried mushrooms, cover and let stand about 20 minutes. Squeeze dry; strain liquid and reserve.

In a food processor, mince garlic and rehydrated mushrooms. Add fresh mushrooms and thyme. Continue to process until all is minced.

Heat oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushroom mixture. Saute until nearly all moisture has evaporated, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn off heat, stir in cheese, and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Mix honey and vinegar in a small bowl.

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat to 425 degrees.

Set breasts skin-side down on a large, heavy-lipped cookie sheet. Brush with half of the honey-vinegar and generously salt and pepper. Turn breasts over. Push your fingers under the skin to make a pocket, and stuff with the mushroom mixture. Brush with remaining honey-vinegar.

Arrange breasts so that the thickest ends point outward. Roast breasts until golden brown, adding water as needed to keep pan drippings from burning. Roast 30-45 minutes, or 160 degrees in the thickest part with a meat thermometer.

Scrape pan juices into a medium saucepan. Add reserve mushroom-soaking liquid and enough water to equal 1 1/2 cups of liquid. Bring to a simmer. Add cornstarch mixture and simmer until it thickens a bit.

Drizzle breasts with sauce and serve.