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Originally published March 12, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified April 17, 2008 at 2:32 PM

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Recipe: Gorgonzola-Stuffed Chicken with Figs and Walnuts

Serves 4Stuffing: 4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled 1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves 1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed through...

Serves 4Stuffing:

4 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves

1 small clove garlic, minced or pressed through a garlic press

¼ cup walnuts, toasted and finely chopped

3 medium dried figs, stemmed and chopped

1 tablespoon dry sherry

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Chicken and breading:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

¼ teaspoon kosher salt, divided

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¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, divided

½ cup all-purpose flour

2 to 3 cups panko bread crumbs

3 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1. To prepare stuffing: Crumble cheese into a small bowl. Add thyme, garlic, walnuts, figs, sherry, salt and pepper. Mix with a fork until well blended and set aside.

2. To prepare chicken: Set a chicken breast on a cutting surface. Holding a sharp paring knife parallel to the cutting surface, begin slicing from the center into the thicker side of the chicken to open. Stop slicing when within about ¾ inch of the edge. Repeat on the thinner side of the breast if necessary for an even surface. Place the chicken between sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a meat mallet to an even ¼-inch thickness. Pound the edges just a little thinner for easier rolling. Season with salt and pepper.

3. Place a spoonful of the Gorgonzola stuffing in the center of each piece of chicken and flatten slightly with your fingers. Beginning with a narrower edge, roll chicken around filling, tucking in the edges. Chill 30 minutes.

4. To bread stuffed chicken: Measure and spread flour on a dinner plate; season with salt and pepper. Spread panko crumbs on a second plate. Whisk together eggs and mustard in a bowl and set aside. Dredge one of the chicken pieces in flour, then dip in egg, coating all surfaces. Finally, dredge in panko crumbs. Repeat with remaining chicken. Refrigerate 30 to 60 minutes.

5. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a wire rack over a foil-lined baking sheet and set chicken on the rack. Bake about 40 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer reads 165 degrees when inserted into the center of the chicken. Let rest 5 minutes before serving.

From "The Best Make-Ahead Recipe" from the editors of Cook's Magazine

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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