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Pepper Jack Chicken with Succotash

Updated: Aug 7, 2021

This super colorful chicken dish is perfect for summer. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are stuffed with baby arugula and pepper jack cheese then seasoned with a Cajun spice blend. They are grilled to perfection and sliced to show off all the yummy cheesy filling.


It is served on a bed of fresh succotash – lima beans, yellow squash, grilled corn, and sweet grape tomatoes.


The simple, fresh ingredients make this unique dish memorable and so delicious.

Recipe adapted from Food Network Kitchen


We eat a lot of chicken here at the Gearhart house. While it's a healthy, lean protein option, sometimes it gets a little, well, boring. I get in a cooking rut occasionally and struggle to find new and exciting ways to serve it.


I came across this recipe many years ago in an issue of Food Network magazine. It has since become a regular in our summer chicken dish rotation. It is made with only a handful of fresh, simple ingredients, but the flavor is an explosion. Stuffing the chicken with cheese and arugula adds tons of moisture to the chicken, which makes it so incredibly juicy. For this dish, I am using a goat's milk cheese. If you follow my blog regularly, you know that I usually do not eat dairy. For this recipe, I wanted to use a "real" cheese that would melt and hold it's texture. Most dairy-free cheeses, I have tried work fine for most recipes. But this recipe requires a cheese that will stay creamy and melted – not get hard and rubbery.


I have been experimenting lately with introducing both goat milk and sheep milk cheese into my diet. They digest differently than cow's milk and are considered a hypoallergenic alternative to those who are allergic to cheese made from cow's milk. I seem to tolerate them both very well in moderation. If you have a true dairy allergy, use your discretion on whether this substitute is right for your diet.


To get started, slice the pepper jack cheese into 6 slices. Next, cut 2 inch-deep pockets in the thickest part of the chicken breast with a small knife. Try not to cut through the chicken. Next, add 3 slices of the cheese and arugula to the "pocket" that you created in the chicken. Secure the pocket closed with small metal roasting picks or toothpicks. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and the Cajun spice blend (usually a combination of dried oregano, cayenne pepper, smoked paprika, dried onion, garlic powder, parsley, thyme, and black pepper). Repeat this process with the second chicken breast.


Preheat your grill to high and brush the grates with oil or spray generously with nonstick cooking spray. Grill the chicken until blackened, about 8-10 minutes per side, until the thickest part of the chicken is 155 degrees. Transfer to a cutting board and cover with foil. The chicken will continue to "cook" as it rests. After resting, it should reach a safe 160 degrees. This will also allow the juices to run back into the chicken, making it super moist – just like I promised.


While the chicken rests, lightly oil the ears of corn with olive oil and place on the grate. Don't salt the corn until after cooking. This will keep your corn tender. Grill for about 5 to 7 minutes per side until the corn has softened and it has nice grill marks. Set aside to cool. When it is cool enough to touch, remove the corn from the cob (see Pro tip below).


Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the lima beans, squash, and corn. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the squash is just tender, about 2 or 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in fresh lime juice. Slice the chicken and served on a bed of succotash.


We don't always have to cook fancy or complicated – just good food from real, fresh, humble ingredients and it will be a knockout every time.


Let’s get cooking!

 

For the pepper jack chicken:

  • 4 ounces pepper jack cheese, cut into 6 slices (I used Laclare Farm, Pepper Jack Goat)

  • 2 cups baby arugula, roughly chopped

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (12 ounces each)

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons Cajun spice blend

For the succotash:

  • 1 cup frozen lima beans, thawed

  • 1 medium yellow summer squash, diced

  • 4 ears of corn

  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved

  • Juice of 1 lime

 

How to make

For the pepper jack chicken:

  1. Slice the pepper jack cheese into 6 slices.

  2. Cut 2 inch-deep pockets in the thickest part of the chicken breast with a small knife.

  3. Add 3 slices of the cheese and half of the arugula to the "pocket" that you created in the chicken.

  4. Secure the pockets closed with small metal roasting picks or toothpicks.

  5. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and the Cajun spice blend.

  6. Repeat this process with the second chicken breast.

  7. Preheat your grill to high and brush the grates with oil or spray generously with nonstick cooking spray.

  8. Grill the chicken until blackened, about 8-10 minutes per side, until the thickest part of the chicken is 155 degrees.

  9. Transfer to a cutting board and cover with foil.

  10. Allow the chicken to rest while you grill the corn and prepare the succotash.

  11. After resting, check to ensure your chicken is a safe 165 degrees.

  12. Remove the roasting picks or toothpicks from the chicken and slice.

  13. Served on a bed of the succotash.

For the succotash:

  1. Lightly oil the ears of corn with olive oil and place on the grate.

  2. Grill for about 5-7 minutes per side until the corn has softened and it has nice grill marks.

  3. Set aside to cool.

  4. When it is cool enough to touch, remove the corn from the cob (see Pro tip below).

  5. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium heat.

  6. Add the lima beans, squash, and corn.

  7. Season with salt and pepper.

  8. Cook until the squash is just tender, about 2-3 minutes.

  9. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes.

  10. Remove from the heat and stir in fresh lime juice.

  11. Enjoy!

  12. Please scroll to the bottom to share your comments and feedback.

Pro tip

For the corn: Place a small bowl upside down in the center of a larger bowl or plate. You want the inside bowl to fill the center but still have a few inches on each side. Cut off one end of the corn. Place cut side down in the center of the middle bowl so your ear is standing up on one end.


Hold the top of the corn with one hand while you cut the corn from the cob with a sharp knife. The corn will fall into the larger bowl. No mess!


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