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I fell in love with this recipe before it ever even got out of the oven. Brie is a cheese that always speaks to me. You’d be hard pressed to find a holiday in my home that doesn’t involve at least 2 pounds of brie wheels. It’s just such a good cheese (are there bad cheeses?). This dish was inspired by a baked brie dish I made once before, where a wheel of cheese was topped with thin sliced apples, brown sugar/butter combination, and pecans—then wrapped in puff pastry and baked brie en croute style. The baked brie dish was inspired by my college roommate who used to make these fabulous little brie and apple appetizers. So, Humbert, I tip my hat to you on this one.

I took some of the key flavors from that and made it into a chicken dish. I love the idea of crusting chicken with pecans rather than your standard bread crumbs. You’ll see this with salmon a lot, but it works just as well with chicken—since I’m not a salmon lover, I’m going to go as far to say its actually better with chicken. Salmon lovers, come at me.

As far as the caramelized onions go…I know a lot of people who say they don’t like onions. I dare you to cook them in butter and olive oil for an hour and then tell me you don’t like onion. They taste almost candy-like when they’re done, just from the natural sugars within the onions. The caramelized onions really add the creamy, sweetness that’s needed in this dish, so I beg you not to skip it. I could eat caramelized onions by the pound. No lie. The directions are for one onion, but don’t let me restrict you. Go wild. Make 4-..5..6 onions. Store them in your fridge. They’re delicious on pizzas, pasta, salads…you name it, you can put caramelized onions on it. I’d tell you how long they last in the fridge, but I’ve honestly never had any left after 3 days. So you heard it here—Caramelized Onions: good in your refrigerator for at least 3 days [and quite possibly many more?].

This recipe was portioned for two, but it can be doubled or tripled to account for a bigger crowd.

Eat your pretty little hearts out!

The Ingredients

Serves 2, Can be doubled for 4
 
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 ¼ inch slices of brie, chilled until baked
½ cups of Pecans, chopped
Half of an apple (I used Granny Smith)
1 medium onion
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
¼ tsp paprika
Salt, Pepper, Parsley to taste
 
 

The Directions

  1. Caramelizing onions can take some time, so we start with that. Heat a pot with 1 tbsp of butter and 1 tbsp of olive oil. Cut 1 onion into long slices and put in pot over low heat. The onion will cook on low for a about an hour, stirring occasionally. I start them first and just let them cook while I’m preparing and cooking the chicken.

  2. While your onions are caramelizing, we’ll begin the chicken. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  3. Make a slit in your chicken breast, creating a pocket for the apple and brie, as pictured below.

  4. Season top, back, and inside of chicken breasts with salt and pepper.
  5. Slice the apple and the brie into ¼ inch slices. If you don’t use brie often, it typically comes in either a wheel or a wedge and will have a rind on it. This is edible, but has a slightly different texture from the cheese and can be cut off if desired.

  6. Stuff the chicken breasts with one piece of the chilled brie and 2-4 apple slices. The brie will melt in the oven, so the colder it is (without being frozen), the longer it will take to melt. We want the brie to last as long as possible in the oven.

  7. To create the pecan topping, chop pecans until pieces are very small.

  8. Add 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp parsley, and 1 tbsp olive oil to the pecans and mix together. Mix should be damp but not soaked in the oil.

  9. In a small bowl, whisk the egg. Paint the egg on top of the chicken breasts and, using your hands, top the chicken breasts with the pecan topping. Press the topping into the chicken breasts.  You want to try to make the chicken cover the brie and apples to reduce the amount of yummy cheese oozing out during baking.

  10. Transfer chicken breasts onto baking sheet prepared lightly with cooking spray.
  11. Bake the chicken at 400 degrees for about 20-25 minutes or until the juice from the chicken runs clear. Don’t be too concerned if your brie starts to seep out of the chicken. You can just scoop it back in at the end. But I should note that the colder your brie is when you start baking, the better it’ll work. I’ll admit mine wasn’t as cold as I’d like it to be, but I was anxious to get started…and more accurately, anxious to finish and eat it.

  12. Top the baked chicken breasts with caramelized onions and serve hot.

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