Erin’s Eats: Chicken Rollups

Posted: March 18, 2010 | Author: Johanna | Filed under: Johanna | Tags: , | 1 Comment »

My lovely friend Erin recently moved to Brooklyn. As someone who had a lot to learn about cooking for one, and cooking things I’d want to eat, when I first moved here, I offered to give her some recipes. So I’m adding a new tag, full of recipes I’m testing and trying out for Erin’s eventual recipe file. I’ll need to work quickly, since obviously we don’t want homegirl to starve in the meantime. For now, here’s installment 1.

One of the first things I had to learn when I moved to Brooklyn was how to make things that would freeze well, reheat well, and could be varied. I didn’t want to get bored while working my way through an entire package of chicken breasts, and one of the things I came up with was a recipe for chicken rollups. Essentially they’re a variation on chicken kiev – chicken breasts pounded flat, filled with something delicious, rolled up, and cooked. In the case of chicken kiev, that something delicious is an herby compound butter and some cheese. The rollups are then dipped in melted butter, dredged in herb-and-cheese breadcrumbs, and baked.

This iteration of chicken rollups is a bit simpler, and involves far less butter, which is of course a good thing for all of us health-conscious people. It’s also much quicker, since instead of baking the rolls for 45 minutes, you brown them on all sides in a hot pan, and then stick them in the oven for a mere 5 minutes, followed by a splash chicken broth, and another 10 minutes in the oven.

And in the end, you get something that looks like this, and really, there’s nothing better than that. I promise.
Chicken Rollups
For this variation, I used a filling of roasted red pepper and spinach, sauteed with garlic and onion, and a tablespoon of ricotta. Other iterations can include spinach and blue cheese, swiss cheese, goat cheese and sun dried tomato, caramelized onions and goat cheese, or basically any other combination of vegetables and cheese you can think of.

1. Make the filling.
Dice 1/2 an onion and 2 cloves of garlic, and saute in a teaspoon or so of butter or olive oil until they’re translucent and letting out their juice. Season with salt. Chop a handful of spinach, and add it to the pan. Stir, season, and let the spinach wilt. Chop up a roasted red pepper (either homemade or jarred is fine) and add it to the pan as well. When everything is heated through, taste and check for seasoning. Put on a plate to cool.
2. Prepare the chicken.
Take your package of chicken breasts, and pound each breast out to about 1/4 inch thick. Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper on both sides, and set aside.

3. Get your sauteed veggies and ricotta cheese together, and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
4. Spread a teaspoon of ricotta onto each chicken breast, and a teaspoon of the filling. You will probably have extra vegetables, but they can be used for other things. Roll up the chicken breasts over the filling, and secure with toothpicks.
5. When you have all your rollups set, film the bottom of a skillet that can go in the oven with olive oil. Put the rollups into the skillet, and brown on all sides. When all of the sides are brown, put the skillet in the oven for 5 minutes. Pour in a quarter-cup of chicken stock (or wine or water) and put the skillet back in the oven for 10 minutes.
If you want to freeze the left-overs, all you’d need to do is cool them to room temperature after you’ve cooked them, put them in a ziplock bag, and freeze them. To reheat, you could either microwave them (which scares me), or defrost them in the fridge overnight and then reheat in the oven with a little more chicken broth (about 375 or 400) for 15-20 minutes.

I’ll be testing more recipes for Erin as we go along, but for now, what are some of YOUR favorite no-fail recipes? Things with high flavor output that can either be scaled down for 1 or 2, or freeze well in case of leftovers? Let me know in the comments!!

Johanna: The Improviser

Never quite follows the recipe. Doesn't really measure. Tastes with her fingers. Somehow, it always works.

Alyssa: The Triple Threat

Can do it all. And modest to boot.

Bakezilla: We Use Mixers Too

She likes to bake. Actually, baking is the only thing she does. It's a passion.

Rita: The Kosher Chick

Restrictions have nothing on her.