I'm told the titles of articles need to be short, eye-catching and descriptive. The challenge I'm having is the title should read "applewood-smoked chicken breasts stuffed with spinach, ricotta cheese and garlic wrapped with bacon." I've also learned that the point of every sentence in an article should be designed to encourage the reader to read the next sentence, then the next, plowing through to the last sentence of the article. I hope I succeed at this because this dish was really good.
APPLEWOOD-SMOKED CHICKEN BREASTS
Four chicken breasts
1 bag fresh spinach
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1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste
4 pieces of bacon
In a skillet over medium-high heat, add two tablespoons of olive oil and the crushed garlic. Add spinach one handful at a time. It will cook down. Continue adding handfuls of spinach until all is in the skillet. This should take no longer than five minutes. Salt and pepper to taste. Take it off the heat and add the cheese. Mix in and allow to cool until you can handle it.
Turn the chicken breast on its side. I used boneless and skinless breasts. With a paring knife cut through the middle of the breast, but not all the way through. Make the opening just a bit larger, and move the knife around on the inside to the right, then turn the knife over and do the same thing to the left. You are creating a pocket within the breast. Stuff the breasts with the spinach and ricotta cheese mixture. Salt and pepper the outside of the breast, but go light on the salt as the next ingredient is bacon. Close the pocket with a toothpick. Now wrap the bacon around each breast and secure with two more toothpicks.
Place on the grill that is set up for indirect heat. In my case I used charcoal and added applewood chips to the coals. Place the breasts on the side opposite the coals or the gas flame. Close the lid (vents 50 percent open if using charcoal) and allow to bake for 30 to 40 minutes. You want the internal temperature of the chicken to reach 155 to 160 degrees. Take off the grill and allow to rest for 7 minutes or so. Carve and serve!
Dave Lobeck is a financial advisor by day and a BBQ enthusiast on nights and weekends. He is also a Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) judge. You can contact Dave with your BBQ and grilling questions at www.BBQ-My-Way.com.