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Juicy filling keeps chicken moist for savory fall dinner

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Nealey Dozier
Baked Chicken With Zucchini and Ricotta Stuffing

Recipe, F12

By Nealey Dozier
Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, 6:21 p.m.

I was planning an impromptu dinner party recently and trying to come up with a savory fall dish that captured a bit of our Southern Indian summer. I remembered an incredible roast chicken dish that I made in culinary school but hadn't made in many, many years. I dusted off my old textbook and drafted my ideal fall menu.

Moist, bone-in roast chicken breasts were the perfect vehicle for the positively mouthwatering filling. Zucchini, bread crumbs, ricotta, butter and parmesan create a juicy layer that makes you wish chicken always tasted this good. I nestled red potatoes under the chicken so they cooked in the drippings. Decadent, perhaps. Devoured? Absolutely.

While fancy enough to serve friends, this dish is definitely a worthy addition to your weekly rotation any time of year.

Nealey Dozier is a writer for

Baked Chicken With Zucchini and Ricotta Stuffing

1 pound (about 2 to 3 medium) zucchini, grated

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 large egg

1 cup sourdough bread crumbs (or panko)

13 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese

14 cup grated parmesan cheese

4 to 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts, legs or mix of both

Heat the oven to 425 degrees.

Toss the grated zucchini with 1 tablespoon of kosher salt and set in a strainer to drain for 15 to 30 minutes. Squeeze out any remaining water with a dishcloth.

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent, for 5 to 7 minutes. Add the drained zucchini and saute until tender, for another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Add the egg, bread crumbs, ricotta, parmesan and the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter to the skillet, and season with salt and pepper. Mix until combined.

Gently loosen the skin from the chicken breasts, being careful not to tear it. Stuff a few heaping tablespoons of the zucchini mixture (the more the better) under the skin of each breast.

Place the stuffed chicken in a large roasting pan and cook until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees in the thickest part of the meat, for 50 to 60 minutes. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. (The chicken will continue cooking with residual heat.)

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

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