I know I wrote of the 9/11 memorial and how moving it was. To be honest, I can’t get it off my mind. The museum was beautifully designed and curated. The rooms, the items chosen and the footpath were all very respectful and honored the victims and survivors in an authentic way.

There was one item that has really stayed with me, though; the Survivor’s Tree. It is a Callery Pear tree. This tree was discovered long after the dust settled. Even with broken and burnt branches, this living thing found a way to survive. The tree was transplanted and rehabilitated and then moved back to its original location as a constant reminder of our countries resilience.

The Callery Pear tree does not actually bear fruit. You probably have seen one, recently. Right about this time of year these trees get beautiful white blossoms that smell horrible. It is nature’s trompe l’oeil. I want to honor the Survivor’s Tree and all it now stands for, in the only way I know how. I created a recipe, a stuffed and baked chicken breast. The recipe includes pears as a reminder of that tree. I added arugula to remind us of the bitterness and a honey balsamic drizzle to remind us that even in tragedy we can find the sweetness in life. I hope you will make it, share it, enjoy it and always think of that tree and all it represents.

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Survivor's Pear Stuffed Chicken Breasts

  • 4 chicken skin-on, boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 small Bosc pears, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese crumbles
  • 2 cups arugula, cleaned and rough chopped
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • 1/4 cup honey, divided
  • 2 Tablespoons Balsamic VinegarScreen Shot 2015-04-19 at 7.20.23 PM

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

Pound the chicken breasts so that they are 1/2″ even thickness.  Season with Salt & Pepper.

In a small bowl combine pears, cheese and arugula.

Spread stuffing mixture over center of breasts.  Roll up and secure with twine or toothpicks.

Brush with 2 tablespoons of the honey.

In a cast iron skillet (or other oven safe skillet) heat olive oil and brown chicken on all sides.

Transfer skillet to preheated oven and bake for an additional 25 – 30 minutes, until cooked through.

While chicken is cooking whisk balsamic vinegar and remaining honey  together.

Serve chicken over additional arugula, dressed with honey/balsamic dressing.