On days when you want a no-fuss, but elegant meal, Goat Cheese and Lemon Stuffed Chicken is your new best friend. With only six ingredients and minimal prep, it’s the perfect weeknight dinner.
Chicken gets a bad rap these days. It’s so often associated with boring, flavorless meals, I think we often forget the beauty of a perfectly cooked piece of poultry. At its best, even when simply seasoned with a little bit of salt and pepper, it’s juicy, moist, and everything I’m looking for in a piece of protein. I know it’s easy to get stuck in a rut when it comes to chicken, but I think I’ve done a pretty good job at keeping things interesting the last couple of months (examples here, here and here), and this Goat Cheese and Lemon Stuffed Chicken is one of my favorite recipes to come fruition yet.
It’s not overly fancy by any means, but it is ridiculously easy to throw together and the entire meal requires six ingredients, which makes it a chicken dinner worthy of any busy weeknight.
We typically cook with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, but my true love lies within a bone-in, skin-in on chicken breast for three reasons. First, the bone keeps the meat irresistibly moist. Two, it’s cheaper. Three, crispy chicken skin – duh.
Sometimes I treat the bone-in chicken breast like a roast chicken and heavily cover it in butter and herbs, and other times, I simply roast it with olive oil, salt and pepper and serve it with pasta or a roasted veggie of some sort. This time however, in another Ina Garten inspiration, I sort of combined the two methods and stuffed the chicken with plenty of goat cheese, thinly sliced lemons and a few leaves of fresh basil.
Using an entire lemon might seem a little odd, but as it slowly cooks with the chicken, the peel takes on an almost candied-like consistency, giving the perfect amount of sweet and tart in each bite.
In my opinion, goat cheese works best here, but if it’s not your cup of tea, you could always use a savory cream cheese of some sort, feta or even brie, just make sure it’s something that mimics the consistency of goat cheese. Same thing goes for the herbs, I used basil because it’s so readily available now, but if you can’t find it, fresh thyme or sage would also work.
Of course, a bone-in, skin-on chicken breast is only worth it if you have crispy skin, so to achieve that, I like to roast the chicken at a super high temperature to get the skin to start sizzling, and then reduce the temperature to ensure the meat stays nice and moist. It’s generally hard to overcook a bone-in piece of meat, but just to be sure, I use a thermometer to read the internal temperature, which should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
To turn a simple roast chicken into a well-rounded meal, about 15 minutes shy of cooking I toss some asparagus on the pan, and let it cook with the chicken. And again, use whatever veggies are on sale or in season in your neck of those woods – really anything would work here! You may just need to adjust the cooking time depending on what it is.
Serve alongside some buttery pasta, fluffy couscous, or hearty quinoa and dinner is ready to go.
For more easy chicken recipes, check out these posts:
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts
- 5 ounces goat cheese, cut into 8 slices
- 2 lemons, sliced thin
- 12 basil leaves
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ pounds of asparagus
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Loosen the skin from each chicken breast, but be sure to not detach it. Gently nestle the goat cheese slices under the chicken. Lay 3 basil leaves on top. Gently lay 2-3 slices of lemon on top.
- Brush chicken with a little bit of the olive oil. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
- Place chicken on a large, rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven for 25 minutes.
- Toss the asparagus with the remaining olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
- Remove from oven and reduce the temperature to 375 degrees. Scatter the asparagus around the chicken. Place back in the oven and cook until the chicken has an internal temperature of 165 degrees, about another 15-20 minutes.