Spanakopita Inspired Stuffed Chicken Thighs
Well, you probably know by know that I am Greek. One of my favorite things ever is spanakopita, and, honestly, there is nothing like homemade spanakopita! However, it is a lot of work, so I highly recommend Trader Joe's Spanakopita. We don't buy it often anymore because there are so many ingredients that I shouldn't eat (like the filo dough, butter, cream etc), so once in a blue moon we buy it and savor every single bite!
I came up with this spanakopita-inspired recipe a few weeks ago and it was so good that I decided to make it again and again... only tonight I finally wrote down all the ingredients, took photos and wrote out the directions.
Funny story: So back in 2005 when my husband and I started dating, he tried feta cheese for the first time. Because I am Greek and we basically put feta on everything, I couldnt believe that he hadn't had feta before! After that meal (I think it was a pasta with feta, parsley, and garlic) he literally wanted to put feta on anything and everything.
6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
4 cups of fresh spinach
2 TB EVOO (divided)
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbed
1/4 tsp dried dill
1-3 garlic cloves*
salt and pepper to taste
*If you love garlic, feel free to use 3 cloves, or more. If you aren't a garlic person, then add 1 clove of garlic.
Put 1 TB of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet along with 4 cups (or 4 large handfulls) of fresh spinach. Turn your skillet on medium to medium-high and cover. Watch it closely because it could wilt pretty quickly if you are doing a bunch of other stuff.
Check it after a few minutes and feel free to use a spatula to move it around to get it going if you think it needs some love.
Once it's wilted, set aside in a bowl to cool for about 5 minutes.
In the meantime, take your organic boneless, skinless chicken thighs and pound them until they are thin. I like to cut down the side of a large ziplock bag so it opens from 2 of the 4 sides. Then stick one chicken thigh in at a time (open) and pound it on both sides until it's thin. It will be delicate, and I promise it will taste better this way! Here is why you should pound your chicken...
Once your chicken thighs are pounded, set them aside on a plate while you make your spinach filling.
Add feta, dill, garlic, salt and pepper to your wilted spinach and mix with a fork. You want the spinach to be cool to the touch when you finally stuff your chicken thighs. I find it easier to just use my hands to stuff each chicken thigh and roll them up for baking.
Pour the remaining 1 TB of extra virgin olive oil in a baking dish.
Place one of the chicken thighs on an empty dish (you could also use a plastic placemat) and spread it out. Place 1/6th of the mixture on one end of your chicken thigh and proceed to roll it to the other end. (see photos below)
After you roll each chicken thigh, place them one by one in the prepared baking dish.
Bake for 35-45 minutes at 425 degrees.
Serve with steamed broccoli, cauliflower rice, or quinoa!