Puff Pastry Pesto Chicken

Puff Pastry Pesto Chicken is simple to make but looks like something you would order from a fancy restaurant. The chicken is stuffed with a creamy pesto mixture then topped with puff pastry, and baked until golden brown. The chicken is tender, well seasoned and moist. I plan on making this dish the next time I have company over for dinner!

Puff Pastry Pesto Chicken

1 (17.3 ounce) box puff pastry sheets (you will need 1 ½ sheets)
3 chicken breasts
2 ounces real cream cheese (Not Nuefatchel)
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons pesto
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to season top of chicken

Remove puff pastry sheets from freezer and place unopened box on kitchen counter to thaw.

Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place chicken breasts on parchment paper. Flatten breasts to an even thickness pounding with the heel of your hand. (One half of the breast will usually be thicker than the other half- flatten to the same thickness.) Slit each breast horizontally with a knife creating a pocket for the pesto filling. Set aside.

Place cream cheese, salt, pepper, and pesto in the bowl of a mini food processor. Process until combined and smooth. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk egg and water together with a fork to make an egg wash. Set aside.

Fill chicken pockets with pesto mixture. Season top of chicken with salt and pepper. Remove 1 sheet puff pastry from packaging and cut in half.  Cut each half into 8 strips. Remove second sheet of puff pastry from box and cut in half. Cut one half in 8 strips and re-freeze the other half. (You will need 1½ sheets or 24 strips total.)

Using 8 strips per chicken breast, overlap strips starting at one end and ending at the other end. Repeat for remaining breasts. Coat outside of puff pastry with egg wash using a silicone pastry brush. Bake 20 minutes or until chicken is 165ºF and puff pastry is golden brown. To serve: Remove from oven, cut each breast in half and serve. Makes 6 servings.

Tip: If you make this dish an hour or so before baking, cover puff pastry with damp paper towels so it won’t dry out. Refrigerate until ready to bake.

Published in The News and Neighbor on December 4, 2019.

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