Gorgonzola stuffed chicken with whiskey soaked mushroom cream sauce

Garlic and mushrooms soaked in whiskey and cream would be enough to make a delicious chicken dish. But combine that with a bite of warm, melted blue cheese in the center? It takes the dish to a whole new level of awesomeness.

I have a fantastic cookbook called The Irish Spirit: Recipes Inspired by the Legendary Drinks of Ireland. There is a whole section devoted to Irish whiskey! You can bet I will be cooking my way through the entire thing!  In it I came across a recipe for Chicken Cashel Blue: essentially your typical chicken marsala–except replace that marsala wine with some Irish whiskey. Then there is the added bonus of some Cashel blue cheese stuffed inside.

I have to confess, I don’t like stuffing chicken. It’s a process. It takes time. You need lots of dishes. I hate dealing with toothpicks. My stuffing always melts out. I worry that the chicken won’t cook all the way through (valid worries from previous experience!). But this recipe combined some of my favorite things-it sounded too delicious to pass up!

The cookbook instructed me to refrigerate the chicken for 15 minutes after coating it in breadcrumbs. I’m so happy to have learned this! It definitely helped set the coating; the breadcrumbs adhered well and came out nice and crispy. So many of my coated chicken attempts have come out soggy with only half the bread crumbs remaining. Lesson learned! I adapted the recipe for my own tastes and tailored it around what I had on hand. It’s a new keeper!

Gorgonzola stuffed chicken with whiskey soaked mushroom cream sauce

Adapted from The Irish Spirit: Recipes Inspired by the Legendary Drinks of Ireland

4 boneless chicken breast halves, 4 to 5 ounces each

4 ounces of a blue cheese (to be honest, I just sprinkled on an amount that looked good)

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 large egg beaten with (optional) 1 tablespoon water

1/2 cup bread crumbs

olive oil to coat the pans

2 cloves of garlic (at least!)

6 ounces white mushrooms, chopped or pre-sliced

2 tablespoons Irish whiskey

1/4 cup heavy cream

salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 350. Make a horizontal incision in each chicken breast to form a pocket, or horizontally cut the chicken and open it up-like a butterfly effect. Distribute the cheese evenly among the chicken. If you butterflied, fold the chicken back over. (You could use toothpicks to seal, but I was lazy and did not and it turned out great.)

Put the flour in one shallow dish, the egg wash in another, and the bread crumbs in a third. Lightly dredge each piece of chicken in the flour, dip in the egg wash, and then cover with bread crumbs. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.

In a large heatproof skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Cook the chicken for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes while preparing the sauce.

In another skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until soft but not browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add the whiskey and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until slightly reduced. Stir in the cream, season to taste with salt and pepper, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until smooth.

Pour the mushroom sauce over the chicken. Consume. Delight.