Tag Archives: breadcrumbs

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Onions, Cinnamon, Almonds & Cherries

I’m a big fan of Myra Kornfeld. I’ve had the pleasure of taking two cooking classes with her, and I have all three of her cookbooks. I always recommend her books to new cooks: her recipes are very clearly written, approachable, creative and delicious. She draws inspiration from all regions of the world, and I find that her measurements are spot on — especially for people who aren’t yet comfortable experimenting too much with seasonings.

My clients love this Moroccan-inspired dish, consisting of breaded chicken breasts stuffed with dried fruit, onions and nuts. Normally, I opt for the more flavorful and moist legs and thighs when eating chicken; but the stuffing in this dish imparts lots of flavor and moisture to what can be a boring cut of poultry.

I know this recipe is lengthy, but it doesn’t actually take too long to make. Plus, since it reheats so well, it’s a good dish to make a day ahead if you’re planning a dinner party. Your guests will surely be impressed.

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Onions, Cinnamon, Almonds, and Cherries

Serves 6-8

Adapted from Myra Kornfeld’s The Healthy Hedonist Holidays: A Year of Multicultural, Vegetarian-Friendly Holiday Feasts


  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups thinly sliced onions (from approximately 1 large onion, or 2 medium onions)
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • ½ cup dried cherries* or raisins, (soaked in hot water for 20 minutes then drained)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar**
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • salt and freshly-ground black pepper
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • ¾ cup unbleached all-purpose white flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • oil for sautéing***

*I used unsweetened tart cherries, which are very tart. You may prefer dried Bing cherries for a sweeter flavor.

**I used sucanat, which is unrefined, evaporated cane juice. You can use whatever kind of sugar you like.

***My preferred fats for sautéing are olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee.


Warm the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in the almonds, cherries, sugar, cinnamon, ½ teaspoon salt, and a sprinkling of black pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are deeply golden, about 15 minutes.

Trim, rinse, and pat the breasts dry. Remove the tenderloin (the small hanging piece) and set aside.

Using a sharp knife, cut into the breast about ½ inch from one end. Create a pocket, slicing to within about ¼ inch of the other side.

Stuff each breast with about ½ cup of the filling, distributing it evenly throughout the pocket and to the ends. Press on the top of each breast to close the pocket.

Line up 3 wide shallow dishes or bowls (pie plates are great for this). Fill the first with the flour. Lightly beat the eggs in the second dish. Toss the breadcrumbs in the third dish.

Season the breasts generously on both sides with salt and pepper. Dredge one breast well in the flour, shaking off any excess. Dip it into the eggs, turning to coat evenly, and then dredge it in the bread crumbs, pressing to make the crumbs adhere evenly. Gently shake off any excess. Set the breast on a plate and repeat with the remaining breasts.

Refrigerate the breaded chicken for at least 5 minutes and up to 3 hours to let the coating set. Bread the tenderloins also. Discard leftover flour, egg, or breadcrumbs.

Heat oven to 350ºF.

Film a large nonstick skillet with oil and heat over medium-high heat. (I used organic olive oil spray. You can also use a pastry brush to spread a thin layer of oil over the pan.) When the oil is very hot (a hand held 1 inch over the pan should feel hot), carefully add 2 breasts to the pan (it should sizzle) and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. If the oil gets too hot, reduce the heat to medium. Transfer the breasts to a baking pan. Repeat with the other two breasts.

Cook the tenderloins until brown and firm to the touch, about 3 minutes per side. Serve them along with the medallions or save them for a tasty snack.

Place the baking pan in the oven and bake until the chicken feels firm to the touch (it will register 165ºF on an instant-read thermometer), about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and slice into 1-inch thick medallions. Serve hot.

Unfortunately, the lighting was not conducive to a great shot of it. Will reshoot.

Kitchen Notes: You can place the cut medallions in a baking dish, cover, and refrigerate. Because of their filling, they stay moist, even when reheated.

I tried sautéing the chicken breasts with a little more olive oil, and I did not like the results as much as with the method above. Although this method does not yield quite the same golden-brown finish as sautéing with a thicker layer of fat, it does produce a crispier cutlet, which I find much more satisfying to eat.

Comfort Food

I’ve decided to take my posts in a new direction. I’m focusing on comfort foods from around the globe.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, comfort food is “food prepared in a traditional style having a usually nostalgic or sentimental appeal.” I like this definition a lot. Not everybody craves Mac & Cheese when they need to be comforted. Some people crave calf liver with sautéed onions and mashed potatoes (that’s what you get when you’re raised in an Eastern European household). My personal comfort foods change with my moods and the seasons. Yes, sometimes it’s liver and mashed potatoes, but other times a Macrobiotic platter of brown rice, steamed vegetables and sea vegetables really hit home for me. Granted, I did not grow up eating brown rice and steamed veggies, but there is kind of a sentimental, old-school health nut, my-body-is-a-temple vibe to that kind of meal.

I’m going to be asking around a lot about people’s favorite comfort foods. Hopefully, I’ll be able to pull a variety of people into my kitchen to teach me how to prepare their favorite childhood meals. And, of course, this is a great opportunity for me to delve into my cookbooks — Madhur Jaffrey, Ramin Ganeshram, Mai Pham, I’m looking at you!

I began the comfort food kick Thursday evening when cooking some meals for the upcoming week. I did make the sautéed liver with caramelized onions, yes. But, I also made pork chops. I procured a pair of Aberdeen Hill Farms pork chops at the Park Slope Food Co-op. These chops are quite good — tender, juicy (as long as you don’t overcook them) and flavorful. The whole process is pretty quick, and . . . a bit messy!

Some people like to marinate their chops in milk to tenderize them. These chops are thin (only about a half-inch) and quite tender on their own, so I decided bypass that step.

First, you set up your work station. Line up three shallow bowls (pie plates work really well for this) consisting, respectively, of unbleached all-purpose flour, 1 beaten egg, and bread crumbs (you can jazz this up by using panko breadcrumbs)

Generously season each pork chop on both sides with salt and pepper.

Place a 10- or 12-inch frying pan with steep sides (I prefer a cast-iron skillet) over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add about 1/4 cup of cooking oil to the pan (I used organic sunflower seed oil, but you can use peanut oil, lard, canola oil, or any oil you have that’s suitable for frying).

While the pan is heating up dip your first pork chop in the flour. Be sure to coat all surfaces, then shake off excess flour by gently tossing the chop from hand to hand. You want a very thin layer of flour to adhere to the meat. Next, dip chop in the beaten egg. Again, be sure to coat all surfaces. Finally, press the pork chop into the breadcrumbs on all sides. Place the chop in the hot oil, and repeat with the second pork chop.

Since these pork chops were pretty thin, I fried them until they were golden brown on each side. I don’t mind a little pink inside my chop, but the FDA frowns upon this practice — they say your meat should be cooked all the way through. If you find that your breading is burning before you’ve reached desired doneness in your meat, you can finish off the meat in a 350ºF oven.

The process is pretty simple, and you end up with delightfully crispy pork chops that make for awesome leftovers, too!

Variations: You can use the same exact method with chicken and veal — in which case, all of the above are known as Wiener Schnitzel or, south of the Alps, Cotoletta Milanese. If you do this with a steak, I believe it’s referred to as chicken-fried steak. I’m guessing you can even try this with a veggie burger if you must 🙂


Flour --> Egg --> Breadcrumbs


Fry on side 1.


Fry on side 2.