(Stuffed chicken rolls – my own house recipe)
Our main cities in Italy for our yearly visits are Milan, Padua, Venice, Florence and of course Rome. Here we spend time with our Italian friends and try to blend into their way of life.
I love chicken – chicken dishes prepared in any way, as long as it is not one from those multi franchised ‘chicken-in-a-bucket’ places – the mere thought makes me shudder.
I had noticed for some time that I hardly ever saw dishes containing chicken breasts in our favourite Restaurants in the above mentioned cities but never really ‘clicked’. When we were entertained in our friend’s homes they often had a few succulently cooked slices of chicken breast especially for me, while they happily nibbled away on thighs, drumsticks, lollipops, and wings but hardly ever touched the breast. When I finally asked ‘why?’ I was told that on the whole Italians are not too keen on chicken breasts which they regard as ‘a bit on the dry side’ when cooked.
Now I was used to my mother’s wonderful Roulades and so one day, when I had a peek into my freezer I found no beef for this dish but only a few chicken breasts! And this is how I came up with my own simple version of “Involtini di Pollo”, renamed it and included this in my “let’s-have-some-friends-over-and-prepare-a-buffet-spread” repertoire.
2 thin slices of chicken breast
Lay each slice between 2 sheets of Clingfilm or greaseproof kitchenpaper and carefully!, so you do not tear the meat, ‘bash’ each slice until it becomes more or less double in size. (I find an unopened tin of something is very good for this.)
For the filling:
Take the cut-offs from your meat and in a small blender blitz those just enough to end up with chicken mince meat. Put everything into a bowl together with salt, pepper, a squeeze of lemon juice (to taste) and a few drops of Tabasco (for the kick). Mix well and keep aside.
Lay your chicken breasts on a board, squeeze again some lemon juice over those slices, add a thin slice of prosciutto (I had to use good bacon, rind and fat cut off and ‘bashed’ to get really thin slices), top this with your earlier prepared mince meat. Now carefully roll this up. I prefer string to make my little parcels rather than toothpicks, which always seem to fall out of my ‘involtini’s’ – but of course it’s up to you what to use.
Heat oil and butter in a frying pan, add sage (if you can get this) and some dried rosemary and oregano, stir and add your little chicken parcels. On medium heat fry those from all sides for a few minutes until they turn golden brown; this will take app. 15-20 minutes. Add some chicken stock or white wine half way thru.
When your Involtini’s are cooked, remove from pan and let them rest for 10 minutes before cutting off the string. Serve on a pre-heated platter with plenty of lemons on the side. The juice from the pan can be served in a separate bowl for you, who like ‘gravy’.
(Photos: CS/Manningtree Archive)