McCormick’s Southwest Seasoning has got to be one of the most versatile seasonings I’ve cooked with in a while. After opening the container and first smelling the smoky chili and chipotle peppers, I was eager to use it in several recipes. This dish however, for Stuffed Southwest Chicken, was by far the most beautiful and delicious of all them.

My inspiration for this dish came when I saw a picture of a stuffed chicken breast online. I thought that a Stuffed Chicken breast with ingredients like bell peppers and onions would be complimented nicely by the southwest seasoning.  I could see the dish in my head, but there was one problem: I had no idea how to stuff a chicken breast! 

This is when I utilized the power of social networking. Even though I am just a lowly cook, I am lucky to be followed on Instagram and Twitter by some of the most talented chefs in the nation.  I decided to ask a local chef how to stuff a chicken breast, and not only did he personally show me how to do it, he also taught me how to make this amazing Spanish Rice to accompany the chicken.

I am excited to share this recipe and even though I got assistance from a top chef, it is simple enough for beginning cooks.  It’s the perfect recipe for entertaining or if you’re looking to take your normal chicken dish to the next level.  Enjoy!

Stuffed Southwest Chicken (makes 4 servings)

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon McCormick Southwest Seasoning (plus more for sprinkling)
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (divided)
  • 2 ½ cups Chicken Stock
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • ½ cup Olives
  • Special Tools: Cast Iron Skillet or Oven Safe Non-Stick Frying Pan

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Julianne, or thinly slice, 1 red bell pepper, 1 green bell pepper and one medium yellow onion.  Then, mince 2 cloves of garlic and in a large skillet or frying pan, sauté the peppers and onions over medium-high heat with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  After about 2 minutes, add the garlic, 1 tablespoon of southwest seasoning and continue to sauté for about 3 minutes more, or until the peppers and onions have softened.  Remove the skillet from the heat and transfer the vegetables into a bowl and allow to cool.

While the peppers and onions are cooling, butterfly the chicken breasts by slicing into the middle of each breast and opening them up like a book.  Then sprinkle the inside of the breasts with more of the southwest seasoning and a little bit of salt.  Next, lay a small portion of the pepper/onion mixture, about a ¼ of a cup, onto the left side of each chicken breast and top with a sprinkle of feta cheese.  Use any leftover vegetables in the Spanish Rice recipe below.

Now it is time to prepare the chicken breasts for searing.  Starting from the left side, where your veggies and cheese should be, gently and tightly roll each chicken breast from left to right so that the filling is neatly stuffed into the center. Sprinkle the top of each breast with Southwest seasoning and a little bit of salt and leave each breast seam side down on your cutting board while you re-heat your skillet to medium high. 

 Once the skillet is re-heated, add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.  When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the chicken breasts seam side down and sear for about 3-4 minutes and using tongs, flip each breast over to sear on the other side for 3-4 minutes or until they are a golden brown color.  Then, flip the breasts one final time so that they are once again seam side down and pour the chicken stock into pan.  Using a plastic spatula, try to scrape up as much of the brown bits as you can and then add the butter.  While butter is melting, season the stock with salt and pepper, throw in a few leftover peppers and onions, olives and gently stir the sauce without disturbing the chicken too much.

Lastly cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil, transfer to the oven and allow to bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove the pan from the oven, transfer chicken breasts to a clean cutting board and allow to rest for about 5 minutes.  You may use the pan sauce to serve with the chicken breasts or you can use it in the Spanish Rice recipe below. 

When you are ready to serve, slice each breast at an angle into 1 inch slices and fan onto plates to reveal the gorgeous stuffing.

Spanish Rice(makes 4 servings):

  • 1 cup white rice (long-grain, parboiled)
  • 1 packet Sazon (Goya) seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken stock*
  • 1 cup bell peppers and onions (sautéed)*
  • ½ cup olives*

*These ingredients can be pulled from the Stuffed Southwest Chicken recipe above. 

Directions:

Heat the teaspoon of olive oil over medium heat. Either sauté’ bell peppers and onions in the olive oil until softened or add already sautéed vegetables and heat through.  Next stir in the olives and rice and toast until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Then, add chicken stock and Sazon seasoning packet and stir to combine.  Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring once, for 20 minutes.  After 20 minutes, check rice and if it is still undercooked, remove from heat and steam for another 5-10 minutes.  Once rice is cooked through, fluff with a fork and serve.

April Wardlaw is a self-taught cook who caters and bakes part-time. You can find more of her recipes on her blog. You can also follow her on Instagram and Twitter. Username: @the_single_cook