Thursday, September 11, 2008

Chicken Roulade

I have made this dish for countless times and I think the idea came from a French dish that I saw once in a cooking magazine, of which is too long to recall now. There is something fun about rolling up meat to contain vegetables and also other types of meat. Although it can be time consuming and sometimes labor intensive, the end product is always pleasing to the eyes and good to eat. It is the idea of combining all types of textures and flavors into one bundle and eating it in one bite altogether that makes eating it the fun part .

In the past, I used to wrap up the pounded chicken breast fillet with extra layers of bacon to infuse it with the smokey flavor and to contain the rolled shape of the chicken but I omitted the bacon this time partly due to the fact we are trying to eat healthy in this household and cutting down on the additional meat part is a better choice.
Any types of vegetables can be substituted in place of the carrot and celery but preferably those with firm texture and can be cut to strips for easier wrapping. Alternatively, minced meat infused with herbs and spices can be the filling if meat lovers are in town! The main focus is to produce colors inside the filling and to cook the chicken in a slow oven to release all its juices which will keep the pieces moist. Undeniably, the tying part of the roulades takes a bit of work and it is advisable not to pound the chicken breast meat too thin and tie the rolls just enough to hold everything together and not too tight for easier cutting later.
Recipe :

2 to 3 large chicken breast, pounded to 1 inch thick

1/2 of a large carrot, cut into 1/4 inch thick sticks & same length as pounded meat

2 stalks of celery , cut into 1/4 inch thick sticks & same length as pounded meat

1 shallot, sliced

1 tbsp dried oregano

1 tbsp fresh dill leaves

1 tbsp olive oil

salt & pepper

drizzle of olive oil

  1. Season the chicken meat on both sides with salt, pepper and dried oregano. Let marinade for at least 1 hour.

  2. Mix the carrot and celery sticks together for an even distribution of color and put a handful into a piece of the pounded breast meat starting from one edge, filling to half of the meat spread.
  3. Sprinkle some shallot pieces and dill leaves and start to roll up from the edge nearest you.

  4. Cut cooking twine to the length of 12 inches and start tying from one bottom upwards in a circular motion, knotting at every turn. Continue with the rest.
  5. Preheat oven to 375'F.

  6. Turn on medium slow heat and drizzle a frying pan with a little olive oil. Add in all the rolled up chicken and pan fried on all sides for 5 to 8 minutes, to seal in the juices. Outside of the rolls will turn opaque and the inside remains uncooked.

  7. Drizzle some olive oil into a baking dish and transfer all pan fried Roulades into it and arrange them compactly. Sprinkle some more dill leaves on top of each Roulade.

  8. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.

  9. Remove from oven and turn down temperature to 350'F. Wrap baking dish with aluminum foil, covering all sides so the chicken is contained inside and will cook through in its own steam.
  10. Return to oven and bake for a further 25 minutes, till chicken cooked through with all juices released.
  11. Once cooked, remove from oven and let the roulades sit in the same baking dish, covered for at least 15 minutes. Remove the twine and cut into 1 inch pieces.
  12. Arrange all parts in a shallow dish for better presentation. Drizzle the liquid juice from the baking dish all over the chicken pieces. Serve warm with warm salad of potatoes.

  13. For dipping sauce, mix 3 tbsp of brown mustard with 1 tbsp mayonaise, black pepper and 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Stir in chopped dill.

Serves: 3 to 4 persons (yield 12 to 15 pieces)

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