I remember the first time I ever tried a stuffed burger, hot ooey gooey melty cheese on the inside. No mess or worry about it sliding off your burger and not to mention the perfect cheesy bite in every piece. I was a little bit in love with the concept after that and came home to replicate it the next time I made burgers myself.
The concept of stuffing one food item into another isn’t just meant for burgers. Have you ever heard of the Cherpumple? It’s a bunch of pies cooked into a cake. Or what about the turducken? While I’m a little afraid of having pie baked into a cake, I can tell you with certainty that turducken is delicious.
So where am I going with all this stuffed foods talk? Dan Whalen the man behind the blog The Food in my Beard just came out with an awesome book called Stuffed: The Ultimate Comfort Food Cookbook. This book has it all, stuffed burgers, breads, pasta, fruits, vegetables, desserts. Name something, Dan has probably stuffed it in his book.
Colorful, mouth watering photos line the pages. Each recipe has a pig-out scale and a heat scale as some of the recipes do get on the spicy side. This is the book to give to your nephew who just graduated from college and loves to cook or even your 40-something year old brother that sometimes still acts like a teenager. Even myself a cough-rty two-cough year old woman had a lot of fun looking through the titles.
It wasn’t easy to pick a recipe but I finally decided on the Chicken Pretzington mostly because I can’t refuse something that’s wrapped up in a hot soft pretzel. Eating it reminded me just a bit of the pretzel dogs I used to eat as a kid.
This recipe does take a bit of effort and I thought I’d add a couple of notes I took away while making it.
- Dan calls for whole chicken breasts to be split and pounded. If making this again I’ll just buy thin cut chicken breasts to save on time. Plus I find it challenging to perfectly pound out chicken evenly. Is it just me?
- Don’t over stuff the chicken with the cheese. You may want to. It’s certainly tempting for a nice cheesy center. Don’t do it. The cheese will make a mess when you first roll the chicken and come out and then ooze out when you need to cook the chicken.
- This tip is more me being stupid and lazy but I’m putting it out there. Don’t use colored toothpicks to secure the chicken. Have you seen Bridget Jones Diary? Remember her blue soup? Well you will get blue spots on your chicken. If you only have colored toothpicks because that’s whats leftover from a party, run out and get normal ones.
- If the pretzel dough doesn’t want to roll out, step away for 5 minutes and let it rest. It will stretch.
- Lastly, a personal choice – I swapped out the honey mustard for spicy brown. I just like it better. Go for the sweetness of the honey mustard the recipe calls for or add your favorite type.
- 1 cup warm water
- pinch of sugar
- 2¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- 4 cups flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 4 chicken breasts
- salt and pepper
- 4 ounces sharp cheddar, shredded
- ½ cup honey mustard, plus more for serving
- 1 cup baking soda, for boiling
- 1 egg
- coarse or pretzel salt
- Stir the water, sugar and yeast together in a small bowl and allow to sit for 5 to 10 minutes until it becomes foamy.
- Mix the flour, salt and butter in another bowl until well combined (you can use a stand mixer with the dough hook for this portion).
- Pour the yeast mixture over the flour mixture and stir until incorporated, then begin to knead.
- Knead for about 7 to 10 minutes, until the dough is no longer sticky and is smooth to the touch, or if using a stand mixer, until it doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl anymore. Put your dough into a clean buttered bowl and cover with a clean towel. Let it rise for 1 hour.
- Slice the chicken breasts in half the long way. One by one, please a piece of plastic wrap on top of the chicken and pound it out evenly to about ¼ inch.
- Season the meat with salt and pepper and put ½ ounce of shredded cheese on top of each piece of chicken.
- Roll the chicken the long way to form a spiral tube of meat with cheese inside and secure with toothpicks.
- In a hot frying pan, sear the chicken on all sides. It should be about 75% cooked and secure enough to stay rolled when you remove the toothpicks.
- Divide the pretzel dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll the dough out into a thin oval shape.
- Brush about 1 tablespoon of mustard onto each dough round.
- Place a piece of chicken onto the dough perpendicular to the length of the oval. Remove the toothpicks. Roll the dough around the chicken to seal the chicken inside.
- Pull the ends of the dough to make thin ropes at each end of the chicken. Tie the two ends of the dough into knots.
- Fill a pasta pot with water and mix in the baking soda. Bring to a boil. Keep an eye on the pot so that it doesn't boil over. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. and grease a baking pan.
- Beat the egg with a splash of water for an egg wash.
- In batches of 2, drop the pretzel packets into the boiling water and boil for about 1 minutes. Remove from the pot and place right on the baking pan. When you have done all the pretzels, give them all a quick brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with some coarse salt.
- Pop in the oven for about 17 minutes, until nicely browned and cooked through.
- Use a thermometer to check for doneness if needed.
- You may need to rotate your pan once during cooking to evenly brown.
- Serve with extra mustard on the side.
(Page Street Publishing; August 2013) Printed with permission
Disclaimer: I was provided with a review copy of Stuffed. All opinion stated are my own. This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on them and buy something a small amount of money comes to me to help me pay for blog related items, like ingredients!