Stuffed chicken Breasts with Cider Vinegar Sauce

6 boneless chicken breasts

Kitchen string 
For cider vinegar sauce
1 tablespoon butter
3/4 cup sliced shallots
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 1/2 cups chicken stock or canned low-salt broth
1 1/2 cups beef stock or canned broth

For chicken
1/2 cup dried apricots, sliced
1/4 cup raisins

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
5 mushrooms, chopped
1 cup chopped seeded peeled tomatoes

1 10-ounce package ready-to-use spinach, stemmed


Make sauce:
Melt butter in heavy medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Add shallots; sauté until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add sugar. Sauté until shallots are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add vinegar; boil 2 minutes. Add both stocks; boil until liquid is reduced to 1 1/2 cups, about 25 minutes. Strain.

Make chicken:
Soak dried fruit in hot water to cover for 15 minutes. Drain.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and sauté until almost all liquid evaporates, about 4 minutes. Stir in fruit and sauté 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Steam spinach until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Cool.

Using sharp knife, cut horizontal slit 3/4 of the way through each chicken breast. Open as for book. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place thin layer of spinach over half of each breast. Top spinach with 2 tablespoons fruit mixture. Close breasts over filling. Tie with kitchen string. (Sauce and chicken can be made 1 day ahead; chill.)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper; brown in skillet, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to baking sheet. Bake until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Bring sauce to simmer. Remove from heat. Gradually add 4 tablespoons butter, whisking just until melted. Remove string from chicken. Cut each breast crosswise into 5 slices. Serve with sauce. 

Servings: 6


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