This is a completely inspired dish and all credit goes to MasterChef shows on TV. It’s taken a couple of times to perfect, but even when the roulade wasn’t perfectly rolled, it tasted excellent. The play of colours and textures and the excitement of beating chicken into a thin even perfect layer far exceeds the trauma of cracking the flesh whilst you’re rolling it. I’d say forget the inhibitions and just go for it!
The first time I made this dish, I made the silly stupid mistake, actually two of them to use mozzarella cheese and using toothpicks to bind the roll together. Both didn’t work. Taking the toothpicks out can be a pain and the cheese killed the subtle flavours of the spinach. KISS is the rule to apply here. So without further ado here goes. For the first time I suggest you follow the recipe step-by-step and then go ahead and improvise and make me proud:) Also very important: this is traditionally made in a water-bath, however i’ve cooked it directly on a thick bottomed pan under steam and the on a grilling pan to get those beautiful charred lines.
- 2 de-boned chicken breasts (150 grams each)
- Bunch of spinach
- 8 Pepperoni slices (you can use ham, prosciutto or even chicken ham)
- 2 Cheddar Cheese slices or 2 Provolone Cheese slices
- 5 to 6 pieces of smoked dried tomatoes in olive oil. ( I made my own, but you should get it at a superstore)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons of ginger-garlic paste
- 1 tablespoons of 10-ingredient Burger Spice Mix
- Roll of Cling Film
- Thread (very important)
1. On a flat working surface, stretch the cling film. Place a washed chicken breast on it and cover it with the cling film again keeping a 2 inch space on all four sides. Now use a tenderiser to flatten the chicken breast, ensuring there are no tears. Repeat the process for the other chicken breast too.
2. Remove the cling film from the top and season the chicken breast with the spices, ginger, garlic paste and salt and pepper. Remember that the cheese will be salty, so don’t add to much salt.
3. Make a layer of the steamed and seasoned spinach, pepperoni, cheese and smoked dried tomatoes in the centre of the flattened chicken breast. At this stage you could add paprika for a smoky to your roulade.
4. Start rolling the chicken breast from one end, making the roll really tight. Take the help of the cling film whilst rolling. Remember to push the two horizontal end inwards to get a clean roll.
5. Now push a thick 100% cotton thread or twine under the roulade and tie it like you would whilst making a roast. Your roulade is ready for the cooking process. You could season it once again. I’ve used paprika and coarsely ground black pepper.
6. If you plan to cook the roulade in a water bath bring the temperature up to 65 degree C, before you introduce the roulade to the water in a tightly sealed plastic bag and cook it for about 45 minutes. However I cooked the roulade on a thick bottom pan with a lid on, moving the roulade around every 5 minutes. It took about 30 minutes to cook the roulade through on a low flame. This was then moved to a skillet and quick cooked with olive oil, just till it was scarred with those beautiful grill marks.
7. I served my Chicken roulade with a wine and pomegranate juice and a healthy tossed salad with an apple cider vinaigrette.