When you cook dinner for me don’t tell me your secret recipe or it’s liable to end up on this blog. If I ask you what exactly you stuffed a chicken with and you tell me, I’m going to mentally write it down, recreate it, and publish it for the entire internet to see. Grandmothers of the world with secret recipes, beware! I spent years figuring out how to make the perfect chicken curry, and it took many nights of prodding our local Indian restaurant to give us some insider information. If you make something really great, I will remake it a hundred times to try and figure out what is in that delicious dish.
This Christmas, my Uncle Nick made what he calls “Chicken Ho Ho,” which is chicken stuffed with sun-dried tomatoes and herbs, rolled up and baked. I had one bite, and it was so incredibly juicy and delicious I had to make it myself. I love a good chicken recipe. I call it Chicken Roulade because I wasn’t listening hard enough when he told me what was in it, so I made a version of my own.
I think you could add a number of things to make this recipe even better. Add a couple spoonfuls of pesto to the stuffing or some pine nuts and parmesan. It would be delicious however you make it. It’s a bit involved to make the meat into a perfect rectangle, but I have included images below to help you.
First, here is a list of a few things you need:
a meat mallet OR a heavy cast iron skillet with a handle
a food processor (though you could probably chop everything finely)
First, butterfly your chicken by slicing through each chicken breast horizontally, and opening them flat like a book. Then place them on a large piece of wax paper side by side into about a 14 inch rectangle shape. Overlap the edges slightly.
Then cover with another piece of wax paper. Using the meat mallet or the skillet, hit the meat hard all over until it starts to thin and expand. The meat should be about 1/4-1/3 inch thick when it’s done. You will have a kind of misshapen layer, so peel back the wax paper and rearrange a little if necessary so that there are no holes and the pieces overlap just a hair. Cut off the edges that are too misshapen to get more of rectangle shape, and then add them to any holes if necessary or discard. Then salt and pepper this layer generously.
In a food processor, pulse the sundried tomatoes, leaving the oil in the jar. Add breadcrumbs, rosemary, sage and salt and pepper. Pulse into a paste and spread all over the chicken.
Cut 7 or so pieces of kitchen twine into 12 inch pieces. Drizzle some oil in a 9×14 baking dish. Carefully roll the chicken from the longest side over, peeling back the wax paper until you have a rolled up cylinder. Use the kitchen twine to carefully tie each piece of twine around the cylinder in a knot, every two inches. Once rolled up tight, salt and pepper it generously and place in your prepared dish and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Now for the fun part! Bake for 50 minutes or until chicken is completely cooked through. Cut the twine off, move to a cutting board, and slice into inch thick slices.
Use all the juices from the pan to make a sauce. Add the sundried tomato juice and whisk together with the drippings.
Pour the sauce over the whole dish of chicken.
Serve immediately with a fresh green salad!
It’s a beautiful dish and perfect for company.
- 4 chicken breasts
- salt and pepper
- 8 oz jar oil packed sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 sprig rosemary, stem removed
- ¼ cup fresh sage leaves
- olive oil
- Preheat oven to 375 F. In a 9x14 baking dish, drizzle some olive oil. Set aside.
- Take chicken out of package and dry off with paper towels. Get out a 14 inch long piece of wax paper. Butterfly the chicken breasts by slicing through the sides of the breast without cutting all the way through and opening like a book. Place the butterflied pieces on the wax paper, forming a long rectangle of chicken that overlaps slightly. Cover with another piece of wax paper and hit the chicken repeatedly with a cast iron skillet to make the pieces very thin. Piece all the chicken together into a long rectangle the width and height of the paper and cut off any funny ends, piecing them into any gaps. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
- In a food processor, add the sundried tomatoes, leaving all the oil in the jar. Add the breadcrumbs, rosemary, sage, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pulse until it's a pasty rough mixture. Spread the mixture onto the top of chicken rectangle evenly, covering the whole surface. Cut 7 pieces of kitchen twine about 12 inches long.
- Using the wax paper, roll the chicken from the bottom of the wide end of the rectangle to the top, peeling away the wax paper as you go. Carefully tie each piece of twine around the chicken every two inches and knot each, holding the chicken together tightly. You can also tie one from end to end if it needs it. Then place the log into the oiled baking dish. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Bake for 50 minutes, or until the center is cooked through.
- Remove from the oven, place on a cutting board, and cut each piece of twine off and remove. Slice the log into 1 inch pieces, and carefully place on a serving dish.
- Scrape all the brown bits and juices from the pan into a pitcher or measuring cup, add the remaining oil from the tomato jar and pour over the chicken in the dish. Serve immediately.