I am sure you have all heard of Hasselback Potatoes. Hasselback potatoes are potatoes that have been prepared by cutting deep slits into large baking potatoes at regular intervals, prior to roasting. The deep cuts enable you to season more of the potato, helping you to get tasty flavors right inside the potato.
Hasselback Chicken follows the same delicious premise! Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are cut (almost all the way through) at regular intervals and then rubbed with a tasty rub to impart flavour. You then fill the cuts with your favourite fillings for even more flavour, and then bake until they are tender and juicy and oh so delicious! There is literally no end to the flavour combinations you can come up with to fill your Hasselback Chicken!
I have seen it done with pizza flavors (Italian garlic spice, pepperoni, tomato, and cheese), Cajun (A Cajun rub filled with spicy Pepper Jack cheese and spinach), Mediterranean (Basil, tomato, pesto, and cheese), Cordon Bleu (honey mustard rub, black forest ham, and cheese), Tex Mex (Taco rub, refried beans, jalapenos, onions, and cheese), Buffalo Bacon (Buffalo Sauce rub, filled with crisp bacon and blue cheese, served with a blue cheese dressing drizzle), to name just a few. The sky really is the limit.
One thing is for certain, the chicken always ends up tender, juicy and absolutely filled with unimaginable flavour! There is no such thing as a dry lack-lustre piece of chicken breast when you are talking Hasselback Chicken!
Today I decided to create Jalapeno Popper Hasselback Chicken. We love Jalapeno Poppers. They are one of our favorite snacks and appetizers. You just know that this was fantastic!
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE JALAPENO POPPER HASSELBACK CHICKEN
Most versions of Hasselback Chicken do not have a lengthy list of ingredients. For this Jalapeno Popper Version, the ingredients list is also quite simple.
|4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts|
|1 TBS oil|
|½ tsp sweet paprika|
|½ tsp fine sea salt|
|½ (8-ounce) block of cream cheese|
|1 cup grated strong cheddar cheese|
|4 fresh jalapeno peppers, trimmed and finely diced|
This is pretty basic to any version, boneless skinless chicken, some kind of rub and your favourite filling!
HINTS & TIPS TO MAKE THE BEST HASSELBACK CHICKEN
You are sure to have something really tasty to serve your family when you follow my handy hints and tips!
- Whichever recipe you are using to make your chicken, read it through a few times to familiarise yourself with anything you might need, oven temps, equipment, ingredients, etc.
- Assemble everything you need on your workspace before you begin. Doing this makes certain that you are less likely to leave anything important out.
- Use LARGE boneless, skinless chicken breasts. These are the easiest to fill.
- Use the best quality ingredients that you can afford. Generally speaking, I use free-range chicken and if I can get cornfed, so much the better. I use the best cheese I can buy and the freshest jalapeno peppers.
- Use a pair of chopsticks placed on either side of the chicken to make sure that you do not cut all the way through the chicken. The cuts should be made no more than ¾ of the way through the chicken at ½ inch intervals. This ensures that your chicken is still connected at the base which is what you need.
- Rub and stuff the chicken in the baking dish. This helps to minimize the mess. They can be difficult to move once filled prior to baking. Once baked this is not a problem.
- When dealing with jalapeno peppers, wear disposable gloves if you can. If you cannot, then wash your hands thoroughly as soon as you finish. The oils which contain all the heat remain on your unwashed skin and you can very easily transfer them to your eyes, not fun.
- Trim and discard the ribs and seeds from the jalapenos. This is where most of the oils are. You do not want them to take over the flavor of the dish.
- When microwaving the cream cheese for this filling, make sure you cover it, as it will splatter and make a mess if you do not.
- Use a good strong cheddar for the filling and grate it yourself. The flavor of a good cheddar is incomparable. Always grate your own for this. It gives you a far superior and creamier result. They add things to pre-grated cheeses to help them flow better. You do not want this in your chicken.
HOW TO MAKE JALAPENO POPPER HASSELBACK CHICKEN
Be prepared to be amazed at just how simple this really is!
Preheat your oven to 375*F. Have ready a baking dish large enough to hold your chicken in one layer.
Mix together the oil, paprika and sea salt in a small bowl.
Slice your chicken breasts crosswise making cuts large enough to stuff but taking care not to cut through all the way to the bottom of the chicken. Space the cuts half an inch apart. The easiest way to do this is to place a chopstick on either side of the piece of chicken to use as a guide and barrier. Rub the paprika/salt/oil mixture into your chicken, making sure you get some into the cuts.
Grate your cheddar cheese using the large holes of a box grater. Set aside.
Wipe your jalapeno peppers with a damp cloth. Trim off the top/stem end. Slice open and remove the seeds and ribs, discarding them. Finely dice the peppers. (Make sure you wash your hands carefully afterwards and do NOT touch your eyes! Alternately you can wear disposable gloves.) Set aside.
Place your cream cheese into a microwave-safe bowl. Cover lightly and microwave on high for about 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir into the cheddar and jalapenos. Set aside.
Place your chicken into the baking dish. Stuff each slit in the chicken with a portion of the cheese mixture.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown and the chicken tests as being cooked. The juices should run clear. Serve hot with your favourite sides!
HOW TO SERVE HASSELBACK JALAPENO POPPER CHICKEN
There is absolutely nothing boring about the exciting flavours of this version of Hasselback Chicken. It is simply packed with tastiness. I do not serve anything that is going to take away from its flavours when serving this version. I always opt for a simple tossed salad along with either a baked potato (or mashed), a simple pasta dish (like macaroni and cheese) or steamed rice. There simply is all kinds of deliciousness going on here, so keeping the sides simple is the order of the day!
NOTES: You can use either full fat cream cheese or light cream cheese when making this dish. If you are looking for a slightly richer version you can use mascarpone. You will not need to microwave it in that case and mascarpone is already pretty creamy.
If you think that raw jalapenos are too fiery, feel free to use bell peppers in their place, or you can use pickled jalapenos as well, which tend to be a bit milder. I like to garnish the finished chicken with thin slices of fresh jalapeno!
Store any leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. It can easily be reheated (covered) in a moderate oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. (Add a couple of TBS of water to make sure it does not dry out too much.) It also freezes very well. Place in a freezer friendly airtight container with a lid and freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost completely in the refrigerator overnight and reheat as above.
Just look at the colours and textures of this delicious dish. You really cannot get much better than this. It is filled with plenty of flavours, lock stock and barrel! Your family is always going to be excited when they know that this is on the dinner menu! I guarantee!
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 TBS oil
- ½ tsp sweet paprika
- ½ tsp fine sea salt
- ½ (8-ounce) block of cream cheese
- 1 cup grated strong cheddar cheese
- 4 fresh jalapeno peppers, trimmed and finely diced
- Preheat your oven to 375*F. Have ready a baking dish large enough to hold your chicken in one layer.
- Mix together the oil, paprika and sea salt in a small bowl.
- Slice your chicken breasts crosswise making cuts large enough to stuff but taking care not to cut through all the way to the bottom of the chicken. Space them half an inch apart. The easiest way to do this is to place a chopstick on either side of the piece of chicken to use as a guide and barrier.
- Grate your cheddar cheese using the large holes of a box grater. Set aside.
- Wipe your jalapeno peppers with a damp cloth. Trim off the top/stem end. Slice open and remove the seeds and ribs, discarding. Finely dice. (Make sure you wash your hands carefully afterwards and do NOT touch your eyes! Alternately you can wear disposable gloves.) Set aside.
- Place your cream cheese into a microwave-safe bowl. Cover lightly and microwave on high for about 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir in the cheddar and jalapenos. Set aside.
- Place your chicken into the baking dish. Stuff each slit in the chicken with a portion of the cheese mixture.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown and the chicken tests as being cooked. The juices should run clear. Serve hot with your favourite sides!
Marie Rayner is a retired Chef, freelance writer, recipe developer, food blogger, and Cookbook author. She makes her home in Chester, UK, where she lives with her husband, Todd, and their much beloved English Cocker, Mitzie. Her motto is “Life is far too short to eat bad food,” and her goal is to share delicious and easy recipes which anyone can enjoy and cook in the comfort of their own home.