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.
12 thoughts on “Chicken Roulade with Spinach, Sun-dried Tomatoes & Goat Cheese”
Nice recipe! Very tasty, especially with the ‘minute sauce’.
I enjoyed reading about how you came up with this. I plan ahead a bit more, but in many cases just write “dinner for Tuesday” on my shopping list and then figure something out at the store based on what they have. Or I have to think of something else than what I had planned because an ingredient isn’t available. Or I end up with too many ingredients because I had two different ideas for “dinner on Tuesday” and forgot to make up my mind.;-)
On a completely different note: why do you prefer a cast iron skillet for this? I am always wondering about the reason behind instructions in recipes.
Thanks, Stefan. Some other day I’m going to do this sous vide, brown the roulades at the end and use the juices in the bag for the sauce. I just need to plan ahead better because you need to tie the roulade as opposed to toothpicks to avoid puncturing the bag. Also, I have found that you also have to partially freeze the roulade so it holds its shape in the chamber vacuum sealer.
As for the cast iron skillet, cast iron is exceptional for this technique because it is thick and retains heat exceptionally well. Anything that needs to be done in a skillet, I generally prefer to use one of our cast iron skillets. We have used them for years and they are seasoned beautifully. The only real drawback to cast iron is they are very heavy, especially when you get the 13 inch size we have. If you ever get one and properly season it, you will choose it over any other pan you have most of the time.
I was thinking just that — how it would be nice recipe to cook sous-vide. In cases where the vacuum sealer disrupts the shape I use a ziploc sous-vide pouch, as I’ve used the other day for cooking salmon rolled up with basil-lemon pesto (yes, inspired by your cilantro recipe, post coming up). The vacuum sealer would otherwise have squeezed out all of the pesto.
I have a pretty heavy skillet that has been produced specifically for sous-vide cooking. It holds heat really well, and the center layer is made of a special alloy that distributes heat really well and cannot be heated above 220C/425F by induction, which is the optimal temperature for searing something in clarified butter.
My mother has a well-seasoned frying pan so I know how nice that is, too.
I originally tried the salmon roulade sous vide. It tasted great but fell apart on me when I sliced it. So I re-did it but using traditional technique instead. The final result was much better. So, I will love to see your post.
The sous-vide salmon roulade was simply amazing! The important thing is to cook to 109F/43C only. And the roll cannot be too thick, because then the outside will be too soft before the inside is cooked.
I love the presentation, very professional!
Thanks, we’re glad you liked it. 🙂
You have an Aga! So jealous! Our house was built in 1927 so we couldn’t do too much with it when we did a partial renovation a few years back. I even chose a non-commercial stove because of space limitations. I opted for more counterspace…
Yep. It’s an AGA. May be my favorite toy in the Kitchen but it’s not the typical AGA with which everyone is familiar that has the gas core, 4 – 6 separate oven chambers, and the cooktop. Those things are on 24/7. Given Texas’ climate, our electric bill would go through the roof trying to keep the kitchen cool.AGA says they don’t give off surrounding heat but they do. So, I bought the Legacy 44. It’s dual fuel with 2 electric ovens, 1 convection and 1 multipurpose, and 6 gas burners on top. If all the burners are on full blast (something I have never done and not very likely to do), it gives off 85,000 BTU of heat. The only problem with the AGA is that it is built in England. Hence, it is metric and normal 1/4 sheet pans don’t fit in it. I have to know the measurements of everything we buy to cook in it so we know that it will fit.
When I bought the house, I gutted the kitchen back to the studs. Where the AGA is now located there was a desk and cabinets. The remodeling process was a nightmare, took 6 months and something I will never do again but I intend to die here and be buried in the backyard. 🙂
Wow! What a nice toy! I never thought about oven dimension problems. Interesting. You’re lucky you got to completely renovate your kitchen. You should do a blog post on your kitchen.
This really does look good, Richard. For me, it’s all about the filling and the ingredients you chose, though simple, are sure to bring a great deal of flavor to the dish. Very nicely done.
Thanks, John. This really was good and, like you noticed, very flavorful. We had leftover filling. So, I am going to try my hand with a stuffed pasta of some sort using the leftover filling. I haven’t figured out the sauce for it, perhaps aglio e olio.