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Stuffing chicken breasts- pound or pocket?

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It seems like cutting a pocket and stuffing a breast is more foolproof for stuffing, but pounding them out and stuffing them and rolling them back up definitely looks better.

The problem I have with pounding them out is 1) it is hard to get them even, 2) stuffing (especially cheese) seems to ooze out the ends.

I am curious to hear people's preference for stuffing breasts.

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  1. Butterfly the breasts, then pound gently with the back of your chef's knife in an x pattern. You can choose to use a mallet or not after this step. Fill and fold the meat back over and pound/tap a quarter inch edge around to seal.

    1. I prefer the technique described by fourunder. You can still pound them too thin, if you're not careful, but it's easier to get an relatively even thickness using the butterfly method.
      When I stuff them, I usually make one fold forward, fold in the ends, then finish rolling and I make sure that I don't over-fill the stuffing.

      1. Hey michaeljc70, I use both methods. Butterfllying, as above is an excellent technique, but cutting pocket works as well. One thing that I do when stuffing, say in the case of a goat-cheese-stuffed chicken, is form the cheese into logs with whatever herbs I'm using and make sure they're well-chilled. You can make sure the ends are well wrapped around the filling, and also dip either end into egg wash and flour again. I generally brown these and finish in the oven.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mamachef

          I would think that restaurants might trim the pounded out breast into a rectangle and use the scarps for something else. Having a rectangle would make it much easier. I guess if you put enough time into, maybe you could pound it to a perfect rectangle?

          I also think if you are making a roulade, it is much easier as the thinner end gets hidden inside. I am not as I am stuffing with larger items (shrimp).

          1. re: mamachef

            Ditto. I use both methods as well. It depends on the type of stuffing & how anal I want to be about presentation.

          2. I've always done the pound and roll method. The best way for me has been to wrap the breast loosely in saran wrap and use my fist. Sometimes it needs to be held with a toothpick. Sear in a pan and finish in the oven. Back in my days as a cook we served a lot of dishes this way.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Jeebs

              I like firming them in the freezer then slicing thin pieces works fine for us .I at times just press the slices in crumbs and bake at a high temp .Spice's and herbs in the crumbs and sauce's and citrus near the end of cooking as well as possibly cheese .