Barbecue Plank Roasted Pesto-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
These extraordinary, show-off grilled chicken breasts boast a colorful fresh basil pesto stuffing. Recipe from the Blue Ribbon Cooking School, Seattle, Washington.
2 packaged cedar planks (Western Red Cedar)
2 (gallon-sized) zipper lock bags
8 cups water – divided use
1 1/2 cups salt – divided use
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar – divided use
6 chicken breast halves, bone-in and skin on
Basil Pesto Stuffing (recipe follows), or prepared pesto sauce of choice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Cedar Plank Instructions: Pre-soak cedar planks according to package directions. Usually, this will involve soaking boards for a minimum of 2 hours in a bucket or sink of water.
- In each of two gallon-sized zipper lock bags, pour 4 cups of water. Dissolve 3/4 cup salt and 3/4 cup sugar in each bag of water. Add 3 chicken breasts to each bag and seal, pressing out as much air as possible. Refrigerate chicken about 1 1/2 hours.
- Prepare gas or charcoal grill.
- Remove chicken from brine marinade, rinse well and pat dry with paper towels. Loosen skin of the chicken. Place 2 tablespoons of basil pesto under the skin of each breast. Spread pesto around under the skin. Season skin side of chicken with salt and pepper.
- Place each chicken breast, skin-side-up, on a pre-soaked piece of cedar. Lay cedar planks on grill rack and close lid. Cook 30 to 35 minutes until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 145°F to 150°F (approximately 65°C).
Makes 6 servings.
Basil Pesto Stuffing: In bowl of food processor, place 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, 3 tablespoons parsley, 1 clove garlic, 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons butter, 1/4 cup pine nuts, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon white pepper. Purée pesto ingredients. With processor running, slowly pour 1/4 cup olive oil into mixture. Blend until puréed. Refrigerate until needed. Pesto will thicken when chilled.
To Grill without Planks: Prepare gas or charcoal grill. Place chicken, skin-side-up, on grill over medium heat. Cover grill and let cook 30 to 35 minutes until chicken reaches an internal temperature of 145°F to 150°F (approximately 65°C).
Recipe and photograph provided courtesy of the National Chicken Council. Used with permission.