Sunday, September 18, 2011

Chicken Roulade

This one isn't just a recipe - it's an activity. There is no shortage on the web of blogs dedicated to "quick and easy" recipes. This isn't one of them. I know most people don't have time to make a long and elaborate dinner every night, so I make a point of posting many recipes that can be done in about 30 minutes. But I'm also on a mission to rekindle people's sense of joy and adventure in the kitchen. I want to show people that preparing dinner shouldn't be looked at as a chore, but as a something fun to look forward to after a long day at work. Cooking can, and should, bring people together. For example, you can be prepping the potatoes, while your roommate or boyfriend or girlfriend or husband or wife is rolling up the chicken roulades. So turn off the tv, put on some good music and get cooking! 
             This recipe does involve a fair amount of work - pounding, rolling, steaming, frying - but that is what makes it fun. Also, once you master the technique you can freely experiment with all sorts of different meat and stuffing. Instead of chicken, you can try veal.  For this recipe, I've stuffed chicken breasts with avocado, sundried  tomato and swiss cheese.I serve it with a pink peppercorn sauce, sauteed zucchini and pommes fondant,  the potatoes from my previous post. It's a decadent dish that's well worth the effort. 

Start to finish 1 hour, serves 2
Ingredients
2 large chicken breast
1 avocado, cut into 1/2cm strips
100g swiss cheese (preferably Gruyere) cut into 1/2cm strips
80g sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced

The sauce:
100ml chicken stock
100ml white wine
100ml 35% cream
    1     clove garlic
    1tbs pink peppercorns  

The side dish:
          pommes fondantes & sauteed zucchini


1. Cut a slit down the center of each chicken breast, without going all the way through, then open it flat. Spread a layer of plastic wrap on your work surface and place one opened breast on it. Place a second layer of plastic wrap over the chicken and then pound it flat using a meat tenderizer of a rolling pin.
2. Transfer the flatten chicken breast onto a  fresh piece of plastic wrap that is twice as long as the meat. Line the center of the meat with avocado, cheese and sundried tomatoes. Pull the edge of the meat over the stuffing and then roll up in the plastic wrap, forming a log. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap and them wrap the log in a second layer of plastic to hold it tight.


3. Bring 1l of water to a simmer in a double-boiler and place the rolls in the top and cover with the lid. If you don't own a double-boiler and metal strainer placed over a regular pot works fine - it's ok if the fit is not perfect. Steam the rolls until firm, about 8-12 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a small sauce pot, reduce the white wine by half and then add the cream and the garlic & pink peppercorns. Let simmer until reduced to a thickness that will coat the back of a spoon. You can either remove the garlic, or mash it up with the back of a fork and stir it into the sauce.
5. Remove the rolls from the plastic wrap and sautee in butter and oil until golden brown.

To serve:
Divide pommes fondant and sautee zucchini among 2 plates & laddle over sauce, Slice each roulade into 5 pieces and place on top of the vegetables.


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