Monday, September 30, 2013

Stuffed French Bread with Chicken, Bacon, Cheddar and Caramelized Onions

In case you haven't noticed, I've got a thing for stuffed food, and if it's stuffed bread ... oh yeah, now we are talking! When I was developing the recipe for my Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Mustard Green Soup, the idea for this stuffed French bread was kicking around in the back of my brain. I tried a few variations and I still wasn't quite sold on it, until I added the ranch dressing and cream to the chicken. That's when I hit the flavor jackpot. One little adjustment and it took the stuffed bread to super amped up taste and it added the tangy, creamy touch it needed. The caramelized onions added the sweetness, the bacon the smokiness, the creamy ranch chicken was just that ... creamy and the cheese? Well it's cheese, does it really need any explanation or justification? I didn't think so! And you don't need to be a bread meister either, you get your bread dough at your local bakery and you are good to go. WARNING:  friends may start asking you bring this yummy stuffed bread to parties.

Serves 4 - 6

1 10 - 15 ounce ball of French bread dough (See recipe tip)
Flour for rolling out dough
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
1 large vidalia onion, sliced in half moons
1/2 pack of center cut bacon, small dice (See recipe tip)
1/4 cup white wine
1 1/2 cups roughly shredded, roasted chicken (See recipe tip)
1 tablespoon ranch dressing
1/2 teaspoon of cream
1 cup of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 egg beaten

Heat a skillet over medium heat and then add the oil, butter and onions.
Sprinkle with a pinch of salt to extract the juices from the onion. Saute for 5-7 minutes, stirring often. Add bacon and cook for 8-10 minutes, stir frequently. Drain excess oil if needed. Deglaze pan with white wine making sure to scrape up any bits from the pan. Cook until all the liquid evaporates. Turn off heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl add the chicken, ranch dressing and cream. mix well. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
Place a pan of hot water underneath on the bottom rack of the oven. It will create steam and provide a more caramelized and glossier crust.

Flour your board and rolling pin. Roll away from you and not back and forth. Then turn dough and continue rolling until you have a rectangle that is about 14 x10. Trim off excess dough to form a uniform rectangular shape to a size of 13x9. Transfer your dough by hanging it over your rolling pin and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Using a ruler, mark off  3" in from each side by pressing the edge of a roller down the length of the dough. You should now have three panels measuring roughly 3" each.

Fill the center panel in this order; bottom with onions-bacon mixture, middle with chicken, top with cheese. Make diagonal cuts on each of the side panels.

To lace up the dough, leave the top and bottom cuts for last, and begin lacing the dough over the filling, using a brush to spread egg wash between the laces to "glue" them together. A good pinch will help secure it further. Continue until you have just the top and bottom panels left.

Fold the top portion over the filling and extend the "flaps" down the side of the loaf. Do the same thing for the bottom. Use the egg wash to "glue" the side flaps to each other and to the loaf.
Using a fork prick all the way down the center of the laced loaf, along the top and bottom and on the sides. Brush entire loaf with egg wash.

Place loaf in  the center rack of the oven for 30 minutes or until golden. Half way through cooking time rotate pan for even coloring.

Allow to rest 10-15 minutes before serving.

Serve with a soup like my Roasted Tomatoes, Garlic and Mustard Green Soup or a light salad with a simple vinaigrette. ENJOY!

Recipe tips:
Buy dough from your local baker or use commercially available dough from your supermarket's refrigerated section
Use turkey bacon if you prefer to have less fat
Save time and money by buying a rotisserie chicken


  1. How amazing does this look!!! Can't wait to try it!! I just pinned it.

    1. Thank you for commenting on the site +Michelle Nahom. Thank you for pinning. Would love your feedback when you make it!

  2. This looks fabulous Jackie. I can't wait to give this a try. It would make a great meal/snack during the football game.

    1. Or a hockey game lol 😊!
      But seriously, it 's really yummy. Thanks for commenting on the site!

  3. Jackie, this looks fantastic!! I love the combination of ingredients.

    1. Dawn, it is one of my favorites but I have to tell you the caramelized onions are what seal the deal for me and that little magic touch of ranch. Thank you for commenting on the site!

  4. Is there any substitute for the French bread dough?? I'm not finding that anywhere :/

    1. Hi Jasmine! You can buy bread dough at a local bakery, it doesn't have to be french bread dough, whatever they have that appeals to you should work just fine. I've made it with sour dough bread that a friend gave me a while back and that worked beautifully. You can also buy the ones that are available at your supermarket where they have all the biscuit and cookie doughs, like Pillsbury bread dough. That will work too. Thank you for stopping by and commenting!

  5. I've tried to make something similar but each time I do the bread is some what raw in the middle if I bake it too long it gets hard and really crusty any tips ?

    1. Hi Laura! First thanks for stopping by and commenting. You have to make sure you are rolling it out so that it is fairly thin. Otherwise the bread stay raw or too tough. Also put a bowl of water on the rack beneath the Baking sheet. Be sure to use an oven friendly pan for the water. This will help create steam and gives a nice shape and goid rise to the dough. Put The waterpan in the oven when you start to pre-heat . Hope this helps!