Spinach-Parmesan stuffing provides great flavor in boneless, skinless chicken thighs. Try it with the optional chicken livers in the stuffing for an extra-rich treat. And don't worry, even though when stuffed it looks like the filling will ooze out, it doesn't. The egg in the stuffing acts as a binder to keep everything in place. The recipe makes plenty of sauce, so be sure to cook up some pasta or make mashed potatoes to serve alongside the saucy chicken.

Bruce Aidells
Source: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2010


Recipe Summary

2 hrs 30 mins


Stuffing & Chicken


Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare stuffing & chicken: Combine spinach and breadcrumbs in a medium bowl with chicken livers (if using), Parmesan, egg, fennel fronds (if using), 2 tablespoons shallot, 1 tablespoon garlic, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt until well blended. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 day.

  • Place a chicken thigh skinned-side down on a work surface. Fill the thigh with 2 to 3 tablespoons of the stuffing, first filling the area (or pocket) left by the bone and placing the rest in the center of the thigh. Roll the thigh closed and secure with 2 pieces of kitchen string. Repeat with the remaining thighs and stuffing. (You may leftover stuffing.) Season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper and salt.

  • Heat oil in a large, heavy, high-sided skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and add half the thighs, seam-side down. Cook, turning 2 or 3 times, until brown on all sides, 7 to 10 minutes total. Transfer to a clean plate and repeat with the remaining thighs.

  • To prepare sauce: Add onion, carrot, fennel, 1/4 cup shallot and 2 tablespoons garlic to the pan. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add wine and scrape up any browned bits; bring to a boil over medium heat and continue to boil until the liquid is reduced by about half, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in broth, tomatoes, basil, thyme and the chicken thighs. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to a simmer and cook, uncovered and turning the thighs occasionally, until cooked through and tender, 35 to 40 minutes.

  • Remove the thighs with a slotted spoon; tent with foil to keep warm. Simmer the sauce further to thicken it, if desired, or thin with a little broth or water if it's too thick. Season with 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Serve the chicken with the sauce.


Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the stuffing (Step 1), cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day or stuff the chicken (Step 2), cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

Equipment: Kitchen string

Tip: To make fresh breadcrumbs, trim crusts from whole-wheat bread. Tear bread into pieces and process in a food processor until coarse crumbs form. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh crumbs.

Note: Look for fresh chicken livers that have not been previously frozen. Previously frozen livers exude more liquid when cooking.

Nutrition Facts

331 calories; protein 27.8g 56% DV; carbohydrates 19.9g 6% DV; exchange other carbs 1.5; dietary fiber 4.1g 16% DV; sugars 6.3g; fat 13.3g 20% DV; saturated fat 3.5g 18% DV; cholesterol 97.6mg 33% DV; vitamin a iu 3808.3IU 76% DV; vitamin c 12.9mg 22% DV; folate 55.4mcg 14% DV; calcium 126.1mg 13% DV; iron 3.5mg 19% DV; magnesium 63mg 23% DV; potassium 663.7mg 19% DV; sodium 669.1mg 27% DV; thiamin 0.2mg 16% DV.

Reviews (3)

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3 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 1
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
Yum! Yum! Yum! This is a wonderful recipe! Simple and delicious. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Veggie it up I ended up adding zucchini and squash to the sauce came out great. Also did not have kitchen string used dental floss instead - worked like a charm. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
De-boning the thigh was a challenge no "pocket" to put the stuffing in. The solution is to flatten the thigh somewhat making it the same thickness all around (not pounding). Then put the stuffing on leaving a bit on the sides roll and tie. I prefer dark meat and this allowed me to enjoy it in a very delicious way. A little more time but still able to put the meal on in a timely manner. Read More