When I first created this recipe I wanted to call it Pizza-Stuffed Chicken. Mostly on account of the pepperoni and mozzarella filling, but also because it sounds good. Trouble is pizza comes in so many varieties that it ended up sounding a little vague. Hence the rather boring and literal name – though fortunately the flavour is anything but! For me, the flavours really do resemble those of a pepperoni pizza – only here with chicken in place of the crust.
The idea came about when I was trying to find ways of eating pizza without eating pizza. Nonsensical, I appreciate, but I bloody love pizza and make no apologies for that fact. I like it so much that I have absolutely no “off-switch” when eating it. A disaster for my waistline and for my long-term health.
But you can’t really blame me, can you? From a thin stonebaked crust with tomato, mozzarella and basil, to a thick crust with half a dozen types of meat, all pizza is good. Whether it’s a Margherita in Rome (delicious but over-priced), Deep-dish Pizza in Chicago (great value but crazy portions) or a take-away pizza in front of the TV I’ve always been guaranteed pleasure.
I suspect that the perfect storm of carbs and cheese is what makes up the allure of pizza in the first place. Both things that we’re often told are bad for us but that are just too good to give up. I don’t plan on ever shying away from them in my life, as that’s only going to make me miserable. Therefore I need to find other ways of enjoying them…
I admit that this doesn’t shy away from the cheese and there’s a lot in here as you can see from the pictures above. The rest of the flavours are pretty straightforward – spicy mozzarella, fresh oregano and sharp sun-dried tomatoes. All things you’d see on a regular pizza but here stuffed inside a chicken breast instead.
With no dough base in sight you could almost convince yourself that this was totally guilt free, right?
Pepperoni and Mozzarella Chicken
- 12 slices Pepperoni
- 6 Sun-dried Tomatoes
- 125 g Mozzarella Cheese
- ½ tsp Dried Oregano
- 2 Chicken Breasts
- 25 g Parmesan Cheese
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
- Lay out the pepperoni in two rows of six slices each, overlapping them slightly. Top each row with 3 sundried tomatoes, again slightly overlapping them at the ends. Slice the mozzarella into ½cm thick slices and then lay over the sundried tomatoes. Finally, sprinkle over the dried oregano. Put to one side.
- Butterfly the chicken breasts. Cut them horizontally almost the whole way through, then open out on a chopping board. Cover with cling film and bash gently with a rolling pin to make them a bit thinner.
- Put the pepperoni and mozzarella stack onto one half of each chicken breast, then fold the other half over the top. This should envelop the filling with the meat, but you may need to secure the two halves together with cocktail sticks whilst they cook.
- Place the prepared chicken breasts into a deep baking tray and sprinkle with the grated parmesan. Put into the oven and bake for 25 minutes until cooked through.
- Allow to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.