This is a wonderful meal that always makes such a pretty presentation. It’s also a relatively quick meal and easy to prepare.
As I was starting to write this blog complaining about writer’s block, Baby Lady casually asked me how I came up with last night’s dinner. She kind of chuckled and told me it’s always interesting to see what I come up with for dinner at nights. As we discussed how it came about, it dawned on me that should be the topic of today’s post as we are not alone in what makes us come up with certain meals and recipes. I know there are more than a few of you out there who experience similar issues.
Sometimes, it’s funny how meals come about. You see, Baby Lady & I don’t plan weekly meals. It would make sense if we did. It’s better for your budget, helps you shop on the weekend and makes you find ways to use your leftovers thereby eliminating waste. I used to do it when the kids were young but stopped several years ago. Now, we buy basic needs on the weekends and if something looks good, we buy it. Then we figure out what we’re going to do with it later. I also have been known to come up with a recipe during the week thereby requiring another visit to the local market to buy what I need. I always buy stuff in addition to what I need if there is a good sale or something tickles my fancy. This is not an efficient method of feeding yourself but it’s what we do. As a result dinner can sometimes be a magical mystery tour.
Last night’s dinner was one of those magical mystery tours. You see, when I was shopping they had a sale on family packs of very nice, complete boneless, skinless chicken breasts, not halves but the entire breast. So, I bought them and immediately knew I would make chicken piccata with them. I also knew I would find some other use for them. Since Quickstep was coming over for dinner on Friday, I figured these chicken breasts would be a great meal for the 3 of us. Initially, my plan was to stuff the breast halves with a tomato feta cheese stuffing, skewer them closed and cook them sous vide. The problem was these breasts were huge weighing 1 lb. 10 oz. each or 13 oz per half. That is a large amount of chicken and more than we typically eat and definitely more than we needed. So, that idea got nixed. The, I thought about doing a roulade. I could split the breasts in half, pound them out, make a nice filling, sauté the rolls, and finish them in the oven. That’s the ticket! Instead of 13 oz. of chicken we would each have 6.5 oz, a more manageable dinner. Now, all I had to do was figure out the stuffing. Initially, I decided to make duxelles (sautéed minced mushrooms, parsley, garlic with port wine and some breadcrumbs). I could then make a minute sauce and serve it with some sautéed fresh spinach I purchased at the market, too. As I was getting ready to prep the meal, I realized I didn’t have the mushrooms. DRAT! I hate it when that happens. Not wanting to make another trip to the market but using the food in the fridge, I had to come up with another plan. Well, we had some nice fresh spinach, some sun-dried tomatoes in oil and some goat cheese. So, Chicken Roulade with Spinach, Sun-dried Tomatoes & Goat Cheese it was and it was darn tasty. This is what we did.
- 2 large chicken breast halves, 12 – 13 oz. each
- 1 lb. fresh spinach, steamed and drained of all water
- 8 oz. jar sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
- 8 oz log goat cheese
- 4 small cloves garlic
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 Tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- seasoned white rice
First things first, stem and wash the spinach. Steam the spinach for 1 minute until cooked. Wring the spinach dry of all water. This will yield your 4.5 oz of cooked, dry spinach. You can skip this step and substitute frozen spinach that is thawed and wrung dry yielding you 4.5 oz. (Sorry, no photos)
Take all of the ingredients and place them in a food processor. Process until you get a smooth consistency. Set aside.
Split the chicken breast in half.
Cover with plastic wrap and using a blunt instrument of destruction, take your aggressions of the day out on the chicken until is pounded out roughly 1/4 inch thick.
Spread spinach, sun-dried tomato, goat cheese filling onto chicken.
Roll chicken starting at the narrow end and roll toward the wider end.
Place toothpicks into chicken to hold it together.
When done, pour 2 Tbsp olive oil into a large skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium high heat. Place chicken rolls into skillet.
Sauté the chicken rolls until they begin to brown, roughly 2 – 3 minutes, and turn them.
Place skillet into 350 F oven for 10 – 12 minutes to finish cooking.
When done, place a ring of rice in the middle of a plate.
Slice the roll on a diagonal.
Lean the sliced chicken roll on the rice ring.
Garnish with a sprig of parsley and freshly ground crushed red pepper flakes. Serve & enjoy!
NOTES: As a variation, you could add a little white wine to the skillet to deglaze the skillet and thicken it with cornstarch and spoon over the roulade as a minute sauce.