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Mushroom-Apple Stuffing Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Parsnip Smash and Fennel-Apple Sauté


  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped

  • 2 ribs celery from the heart, finely chopped

  • 1/4 pound crimini mushrooms, whipped clean and finely chopped

  • Salt and ground black pepper

  • 1 red apple, such as Fuji or Red Delicious, cored and finely chopped

  • A dash poultry seasoning

  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard (eyeball it)

  • 1/4 cup (about one handful) flat leaf parsley, chopped

  • Zest of 1 lemon

  • 1 cup store-bought stuffing cubes, your favorite brand and flavor

  • 3/4 cup chicken stock, warmed, plus additional as needed

  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided

  • 6 large parsnips, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts

  • 1 large bulb of fennel, fronds removed and reserved, bulb cored and thinly sliced

  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and thinly sliced


Pre-heat oven to 425ºF. Start by prepare the stuffing for the chicken breasts: Place a medium-size sauté pan over medium-high heat and melt the butter. Add the onion, celery and mushrooms to the pan along with some salt and pepper, and cook until tender, 7-8 minutes. Add the red apple, poultry seasoning, mustard, parsley and lemon zest to the pan and give it a good toss. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the stuffing cubes. Add the chicken stock to the pan in batches until it reaches the consistency you like (I like mine to just barely hold together without being too wet). Let the stuffing cool for a couple of minutes while you prepare the chicken and veggies. Scatter the parsnips over a baking sheet and toss them with about 1 tablespoon EVOO and season them with salt and pepper. To stuff the chicken breasts, carefully loosen the skin from the meat with your fingers, creating a pocket. Divide the stuffing into 4 equal portions and stuff it under the skin into the pocket, taking care not to rip the skin. Place the stuffed chicken breasts on top of the parsnips and drizzle each breast using about 1 tablespoon of EVOO and season them with salt and pepper. Roast the chicken and veggies until golden brown and cooked through, 35-40 minutes depending on how big your chicken pieces are. Transfer the chicken to a plate to rest and turn the parsnips out into a large mixing bowl. Using a potato masher, smash up the parsnips, thinning them with a little stock as needed, until they're the consistency of chunky mashed potatoes. When the chicken is almost done roasting, place a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat with 1 turn of the pan of EVOO, about 1 tablespoon. Add the fennel to the skillet and cook until it starts to get tender, 3-4 minutes. Add the green apples, some salt and pepper, and continue to cook for another 3 minutes or until all the veggies are tender. Remove the pan from the heat, roughly chop up the fennel fronds and toss them into the pan. Serve a stuffed chicken breast a scoop of sautéed fennel and apples on top and some parsnip mash alongside.