And to really kick things up a notch, I delved even deeper into my monotonous-of-late cooking M.O. and decided to stuff AND sear the chicken for this one. Groundbreaking, I know.
BUT, I am giving myself major props for this one.
Why you ask? Because this dish oozes fall. It's poster-child material for cooler weather. Which is perfect because we are currently having the most ah-mazing fall weather here in Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. For a place that rarely gets to experience the full range of the four seasons, this is a huge deal. It makes you want to pull out the cozy blankets, light a fire, whip up a big ole' pot of chili and spend the weekend watching football.
The only problem is, the "fall" weather here in the south still brings us highs in the 80's, afternoon thunderstorms, an a steady flow of straggling tourists, so we aren't quite ready for all of that autumn awesomeness you northerners are blessed with.
Luckily, this recipe is perfect for those "kind of fall" days. The combination of caramelized onions, apples, walnuts and sage screams quintessential fall flavors without the typical heavy or hearty feel of the usual comfort foods of the season. The sausage is just a bonus (and a phenomenal one at that, which made me think of pork, even though this is chicken sausage, leading me to make a mental note to add bacon next time).
And now I want bacon.
At 7:30 on a Thursday night.
And we haven't eaten dinner.
There's a 99.9% chance we'll have bacon for dinner. Just bacon, no frills necessary.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: About 1 hour
4 chicken breasts
2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
2 Aidells Chicken and Apple Sausage, diced
1/2 large onion (or one small), diced
2 apples, diced
1/4 teaspoon of Kosher Salt
1/8 teaspoon of pepper
1 bunch of sage (about 20 leaves)
1 cups of walnuts
Salt and Pepper for seasoning
Preheat oven to 400 F. Butterfly chicken breasts by slicing into the long side of the breast, stopping just about 1/4 of an inch from the opposite side. Heat a large oven proof skillet with raised edges over high heat for several minutes. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and allow to heat before adding the diced sausage to the skillet. Cook sausage until browned and stirring occasionally, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove sausage from pan and set aside. Add onions to skillet an saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add diced apples, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon of pepper to skillet and saute for an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat, add sausage back in and stir to combine. In a food processor, pulse walnuts and sage until coarsely chopped. Stuff chicken breasts with sausage, apple and onion mixture, secure with tooth picks, and season with salt and pepper. Wipe out the skillet you used to cook the stuffing and heat over high heat. Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil and allow to heat before adding stuffed chicken breasts to the skillet. Sear chicken breasts for 5-8 minutes (no touching). Flip chicken breasts, sprinkle with walnut and sage mixture, and place skillet in oven for 20-25 minutes or until chicken reaches 165 F.