This grilled chicken recipe is very similar to the one that Chef Christo Gonzales and myself created to win a Chopped style competition Char-Broil website (I no longer write for them). What is Serenbe? It’s a 1,000 acre community that shows how an urban development can still sustain the natural greenery of the landscape. It’s also the location of the 2012 HGTV Green Home. Christo and I created this dish to win that competition and I dubbed it Stuffed Chicken Serenbe
We dined multiple times at the Farmhaus on the property, shopped at the local businesses within walking distance of our cottage, hiked the trails, toured the Green Home, marveled at some of the amazing homes, and most of all enjoyed the natural surroundings including both flora and fauna that Serenbe had to offer. The fauna included horses, cows, pigs, and even a burro or two.
During the Chopped competition, Christo and I were paired together. We were given a bag of ingredients that the other teams got as well which included: a whole chicken, fennel, pineapple, butter, peanut butter, and bacon. In the “pantry” were oranges, lemons, limes, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and onion powder, and the full array of Char-Broil rubs, spices and sauces. This is not the entire recipe of what we used to win the competition, as we made a fennel, orange, and grilled pineapple salad as well. Basically, I can’t remember exactly how we made that, but this is the main course of that dish, so to speak. Here’s Christo and I shortly after finding out we won:
And our winning dish:
This is my attempt at recreating that dish, or at least the stuffed chicken part. It won’t be easy considering I won’t have a chef of Christo’s caliber standing next to me while I do it.
Stuffed Chicken Serenbe Ingredients:
- 4 chicken breasts
- 4 ounces blue cheese
- 2 tsp fresh garlic
- 3 slices of bacon
- 1 tbsp of fennel, sliced thin and rough chopped
- Course salt and fresh black pepper
Start by frying the bacon:
With the side burner on my gas grill, I did this outside, in fact I made the entire meal outside:
Time to slice the fennel. If you’ve never had fennel, it’s got sort of a black licorice or anise taste to it. Some of you are wrinkling your nose at the thought of that, but I don’t go overboard with it so it’s only a subtle flavor in the background. Or you could omit it entirely.
Fennel looks a lot like an onion:
Don’t let that good bacon grease go to waste. Saute the fennel in the pan with the bacon grease:
Once the fennel has been sauted for for a minute or so, just long enough to soften it and brown a little, add it, along with the garlic, chopped bacon (only 2 slices, leave 1 for garnish), a pinch of salt and five turns of fresh black pepper to the cheese:
Then take the side of a knife or the back of a spoon and mix it all together:
Here’s what it looks like all mixed together:
Now it’s time to create a pouch inside the chicken. Can’t make stuffed chicken without the pouch to stuff. Slice into the side opposite the rib bones:
Create a small hole, but run the knife up and down to create a larger pouch inside, but don’t go too far or you will poke a hole on the other side and stuffing will ooze out:
Then make the stuffed chicken by pushing the cheese/bacon/fennel concoction into the cavity:
All three are stuffed:
Now close the gap on the stuffed chicken. One could sew the hole shut, but I didn’t have anything I could use for that so I found some skewers:
I scored the skewers about halfway with a knife and broke them in half and used them to close the hole:
Now, you may have noticed that there are only three stuffed chicken breasts but the recipe calls for four. Well, that’s all that came in the package. Here’s how much of the stuffing was left over which would easily fill a fourth breast:
How to Grill Stuffed Chicken Serenbe
I set up two zone cooking, with heat on one side and nothing on the other. In this case, the two left burners of my gas grill are on and the ones on the right aren’t. With charcoal, put the coals on one side of the grill and have nothing on the other. I gave each stuffed chicken breast a liberal coating of coarse salt on each side and then placed it skin side down on the hot side of the grill:
Grill the stuffed chicken breasts over the high heat until the skin is nicely browned and then place the grilled chicken on the side with no heat, or in this case, I put it on the convenient upper rack:
I basically indirected the grilled chicken on the upper rack for just short of an hour until they reached an internal temp of around 160 degrees. I used my instant read thermometer check them:
Here I am about ready to pull the stuffed chicken breasts, wearing the shirt from the place that I named this dish after:
I know most of you only want to see appetizing pics of the food, not unappetizing pics of me, but the reason I put this in is because my son, Finnegan, took the picture at the ripe old age of four years old. And he did it with a DSLR, not a little point and shoot. I’m a proud papa of this little fella:
Back to the grilling. Here you will see that despite trying to close the hole, as fat was rendered out of the grilled chicken, the meat has contracted while the cheese mixture has expanded, so some is lost to during the grilling process. This is to be expected and the cause of the smoke you see coming from the bottom grill grates:
And finally, I pulled the grilled chicken breasts and plated them, giving them a little time to rest so the juices can calm down and redistribute throughout the meat. I topped with the last piece of bacon that I crumbled, but you could also use any remaining stuffing if you like:
The chicken was juicy, that’s what happens when grilling on a TRU Infrared grill, the skin was crispy, the cheese oozing and melty and the fennel was subtle but a nice addition to the flavor profile.
If you have any questions about this grilled chicken recipe, or about TRU Infrared technology, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.
If you liked stuffed chicken Serenbe and would like to see other grilling recipes with chicken, click here.
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Sadly, a couple years after we did this, Christo collapsed at a catering event he was working and died. I miss my friend to this day.
Stuffed Chicken Serenbe
- 3 slices bacon
- 4 chicken breasts
- 4 oz blue cheese
- 2 tsp garlic
- 1 tbsp fresh fennel sliced thin and rough chopped
- course salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Fry the three slices of bacon, reserving one for later
- Fry the fennel in the bacon grease and then combine with all the rest of the ingredients excluding the chicken breasts but including the two slices of cooked bacon
- Use the side of a knife or back of a spoon to mash the stuffing together
- Cut pouches in the side of the chicken breasts
- Cram the stuffing into the pouch of each chicken breast
- Set up the grill for two zone/indirect grilling with one side hot and the other not
- Give each side of the chicken a coating of coarse salt and place on the grill, skin side down on the side with the heat
- Grill both sides of the chicken until browned nicely and then place on the side of the grill with no heat and close the lid
- Remove the chicken from the grill when the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 160-165 degrees
- Allow to rest for a few minutes, plate and serve
First off, Finnegan could NOT BE ANY cuter. Second. .. considering all the in-laws that I have in Atlanta, I am ESPECIALLY enjoying how the day went. 🙂 Cheers!
you did a fine job – and as a matter of fact I think this is more than a winning combination this is gonna become one of my mainstays – especially after seeing how easy it is to put together 🙂
Very nicely done, I really like that stuffing combination. I don’t think you could pack much more flavor into those breasts.