Pesto-Stuffed Grilled Chicken

Pesto-Stuffed Grilled Chicken

Pesto-Stuffed Grilled Chicken


Makes 6 servings


2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup packed fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts, toasted
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 fresh or thawed frozen roasting chicken or capon (6 to 7 pounds)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Additional fresh basil leaves and fresh red currants (optional)

*To toast pine nuts, spread in single layer on baking sheet. Bake in preheated 350°F oven 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown, stirring frequently.


  1. Prepare grill with rectangular metal or foil drip pan. Bank briquets on either side of drip pan for indirect cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, to prepare pesto, drop garlic through feed tube of food processor with motor running. Add basil, pine nuts and black pepper; process until basil is minced. With processor running, add 3 tablespoons oil in slow, steady stream until smooth paste forms, scraping down side of bowl once. Add cheese; process until well blended.
  3. Remove giblets from chicken cavity; reserve for another use. Loosen skin over breast of chicken by pushing fingers between skin and meat, taking care not to tear skin. Do not loosen skin over wings and drumsticks. Using rubber spatula or small spoon, spread pesto under breast skin; massage skin to evenly spread pesto. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons oil and lemon juice in small bowl; brush over chicken skin. Insert meat thermometer into center of thickest part of thigh, not touching bone. Tuck wings under back; tie legs together with wet kitchen string.
  4. Place chicken, breast side up, on grid directly over drip pan. Grill, on covered grill, over medium-low coals 1 hour 10 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes or until thermometer registers 185°F, adding 4 to 9 briquets to both sides of the fire after 45 minutes to maintain medium-low coals. Transfer chicken to carving board; tent with foil. Let stand 15 minutes before carving. Garnish with basil and currants.

Nutritional Information

Serving Size: 16 ounces of chicken
Calories 618
Calories from Fat 73 %
Total Fat 49 g
Saturated Fat 12 g
Cholesterol 165 mg
Carbohydrate 1 g
Fiber <1 g
Protein 40 g
Sodium 203 mg

Dietary Exchange

Meat 5
Fat 7.5

Check out more recipes for Chicken & Other Poultry