Chicken Roulade Is Full of Color and Flavor

The truth is, I’ve been wanting to tell you about this recipe for over a week now – ever since last Tuesday, when I pulled chicken out of the fridge and wondered what to make for dinner.

Vertical oblique overhead image of a white plate of sliced chicken bread pinwheels stuffed with a mixture of pine nuts, raisins, and herbs, with thinly sliced lemon, a sprig of parsley, and a sprinkle of paprika, on a brown wood table with a glass of red wine and a multicolored cloth napkin topped with silverware, printed with orange and white text at the midpoint and bottom of the frame.

I’d gone through all the usual options in my mind, things I’ve had before, things I’ve made, but nothing sounded like it would be worth the high price tag of the Amish, antibiotic-free poultry I’ve been buying…

Nothing until I settled on this beautiful, impressive dish.

Vertical overhead closely cropped image of homemade chicken roulade on a white rectangular ceramic serving platter with thinly sliced lemon, on a brown wood surface.

Chicken roulade, if you’ve never heard of it, is essentially rolled and stuffed chicken breast. The meat is pounded and flattened to create a large surface area. Then it’s topped with cheese and a filling made of fresh herbs, onions, dried fruit, and nuts.

Vertical overhead image of a white ceramic serving platter of chicken roulade with slices of lemon, a sprig of fresh herbs, and a sprinkle of paprika, on a brown wood table with a glass of red wine and a striped multicolored cloth napkin topped with a fork and a steak knife.

Rolled tightly and tied up with string, it’s browned and baked. When it’s finished, you cut the bundled breasts into slices that are stuffed with flavor and color. It’s the kind of dish that makes you go wow.

Vertical image of slices of chicken breast stuffed with pine nuts, raisins, and fresh herbs, on a white rectangular ceramic platter with thinly sliced lemon, a sprig of parsley, and a sprinkle of paprika.

Not only is it suited for serving year-round, it’s also easily adaptable to the ingredients you like the best or have on hand.

Horizontal oblique overhead image of a white serving platter of homemade chicken roulade slices with thin lemon slices, a sprig of fresh herbs, and a sprinkle of paprika for garnish, on a brown wood table with a stemless glass of red wine, and a folded striped multicolored cloth napkin topped with a knife and fork.

Feel free to change up the fresh herbs for your favorite greens, the pine nuts for slivered almonds, and the raisins for chopped dried apricots. Experiment with your favorites types of cheese. Once you have the cooking method down, you’re sure to come up with something delicious that’s completely your own.

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Horizontal image of chicken roulade stuffed with nuts, raisins, and herbs, on a white serving platter with thin lemon slices, a sprig of parsley, and a sprinkle of paprika, on a brown wood surface with a multicolored cloth napkin topped with silverware in the top left corner of the frame.

Chicken Roulade


  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Prep Time: 25 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x

Description

Juicy chicken rolls bursting with sweet and savory ingredients are a light bite that packs an enormous punch of flavor.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons toasted pine nuts
  • 2 teaspoons raisins, soaked in water
  • 1 bunch fresh Italian or curly leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 4 teaspoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour, for dusting

Instructions

  1. In a large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until softened and lightly golden. Add the garlic, and season the mixture with salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  2. Drain the raisins, rough chop, and add them to the onion and garlic mixture along with the toasted pine nuts. Turn off the heat, and stir in the chopped parsley. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature.
  3. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  4. Put the chicken breasts in individual plastic bags and use a cast iron pan or a meat tenderizing mallet to pound them until they’re about ¼ inch thick. Generously season them on both sides with salt and pepper, and allow them to come to room temperature.
  5. Lay the pounded chicken on a cutting board or clean work surface. Evenly distribute the onion mixture and the cheese on the long end closest to you. Roll up each chicken breast as tightly as you can, and then dust with flour.
  6. In a large frying pan, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Sear the rolls until golden brown, about 2 minutes per side, and then transfer them to the oven.
  7. Bake until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reaches 155°F, about 15-20 minutes.
  8. Allow to rest on a cutting board, then slice into circular rolls so that the stuffing is exposed in the middle of each one.

  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Stovetop, Baking
  • Cuisine: Dinner

Keywords: chicken roulade, pine nuts, raisins, parsley, stuffed chicken

Cooking By the Numbers…

Step 1 – Prep

Chop the onion, mince the garlic, and toast the pine nuts.

Horizontal overhead image of a pile of minced garlic to the left of a pile of chopped onion, on a wooden cutting board.

To do this, place them in a small, dry pan over low heat. Toast, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.

Closeup horizontal image of pine nuts toasting in a dry nonstick frying pan.

Reconstitute the raisins in water for about 15 minutes. If you have other flavorful liquids on hand like wine or fresh juice, feel free to swap those in for the water to rehydrate the dried fruit.

Closeup horizontal overhead image of brown raisins reconstituting in warm water in a square white ceramic dish.

Drain the raisins in a colander, and give them a rough chop.

Wash and chop the parsley. Pound the chicken breasts to flatten them, and season them with salt and pepper on both sides.

Step 2 – Saute the Filling

Horizontal overhead closely cropped image of chopped onion and minced garlic sauteeing in a cast iron pan, on a gray surface.

Saute the onion until lightly golden, add the garlic, and then season with salt and pepper.

Closely cropped horizontal overhead image of sauteed onion and garlic with toasted pine nuts and chopped fresh parsley in a cast iron pan.

Cook for 1 minute, and then stir in the toasted pine nuts and raisins.

Horizontal overhead closely cropped image of chopped basil, onions, and garlic sauteeing in a cast iron pan, on a brown wood table.

Turn off the heat, and stir in the parsley. Transfer to a bowl and cool to room temperature.

Step 3 – Stuff and Roll

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Two boneless skinless chicken breasts on a wood cutting board, on a gray kitchen countertop.

Lay out the chicken breasts on a cutting board or clean work surface.

Horizontal overhead closeup image of a thinly pounded chicken breast in a zip-top plastic bag beside a cast iron pan, on a beige speckled countertop.

Pound them flat, using a meat tenderizing mallet, a rolling pin, or a cast iron pan. If you like, you can put them individually into a zip-top plastic bag first.

Horizontal image of a boneless skinless chicken breast that has been pounded flat, on a wooden cutting board on top of a gray speckled countertop.

Divide the onion mixture and the cheese evenly on the bottom halves of each one, and roll tightly into a cylinder.

Horizontal oblique overhead image of a thinly pounded chicken breast topped with a mixture of nuts, herbs, and raisins, beside a small pile of grated Parmesan cheese, on a wooden cutting board.

If yours are being especially finicky and the filling keeps falling out of the sides, use kitchen twine to keep them tightly closed. Once they’re rolled, tie each breast with three strings of kitchen twine, with one in the middle and one at each end.

Vertical overhead image of a piece of boneless skinless chicken breast that has been pounded thin, stuffed with a mixture of nuts, herbs, garlic, onion, cheese, and raisins, and rolled, then sprinkled with salt and pepper, on a brown wood surface with scattered bits of filling.

You can also use toothpicks or skewers to achieve a similar effect. When using skewers, insert them after you’ve seared the chicken (before it goes in the oven) because they’re so long they likely won’t fit in the pan.

Another trick for keeping the filling tightly encased is to wrap the raw chicken rolls in plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight before cooking.

Horizontal image of thin chicken breasts stuffed and rolled to form a roulade, lightly coated with all-purpose flour, on a wood cutting board.

Dust the rolls lightly with flour.

Step 4 – Sear

Sear the chicken rolls on all sides to create a golden-brown crust.

Stuffed chicken breasts sprinkled with salt and pepper, browning in oil in a cast iron pan.

Be sure to handle them carefully, so the filling doesn’t fall out.

Step 5 – Bake

Bake the chicken rolls until they are fully cooked – you’ll know they’re done when a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reads 155°F.

If you are using cast iron or an oven-safe heavy-duty frying pan, you can put it right in the oven. Otherwise, use a baking dish coated with nonstick spray.

Horizontal overhead image of slices of chicken roulade on a white serving platter, with a garnish of thin lemon slices, paprika, and fresh herbs, on a brown wood surface with a multicolored striped cloth napkin.

Remove from the oven, transfer to a cutting board, and allow the protein to rest for about 5 minutes before slicing and serving. Store leftovers in the fridge for 3-4 days.

Roll Your Way to a Happy Belly

Thanks to a quick sear and a hop into the oven, boring, overcooked chicken breasts get the treatment they deserve in this recipe.

With a golden brown, slightly crispy crust (thanks, flour!) and a filling that’s loaded with pops of sweetness and savory garlic notes, this roulade dish is a treat for all of your senses.

Feel free to swap in different ingredients you have on hand, like spinach over parsley or walnuts instead of pine nuts. Brighten up the seasoning with a vibrant smoky punch of paprika, or a daring dusting of cayenne.

With so many different members of the onion family available, I like to change things up on occasion. I swap in shallots for sharpness, or leeks when I want something sweet.

Horizontal image of chicken roulade stuffed with nuts, raisins, and herbs, on a white serving platter with thin lemon slices, a sprig of parsley, and a sprinkle of paprika, on a brown wood surface with a multicolored cloth napkin topped with silverware in the top left corner of the frame.

Want more ways to turn your “blah chicken” frowns upside down? Browse through these recipes to pack some pizzazz into this versatile protein:

Which of the onion’s relatives do you use most often, and how will you change things up to make this dish your own? Comment below, and don’t forget to give this recipe a five-star rating if you loved it!

Photos by Fanny Slater, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on December 8, 2010. Last updated: September 20, 2019 at 18:27 pm. With additional writing and editing by Fanny Slater and Allison Sidhu.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

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About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.

13 thoughts on “Chicken Roulade Is Full of Color and Flavor”

  1. OOo my daughter made stuffed chicken breats which looked similar in results.. just less fancy schmancy! how fun and yummmy looking! i find that pine nuts are divine!!!!!!

  2. Shannalee,
    As soon as I saw the roulade, I thought, “hey that looks similar to mine” and then it was. I am always exceedingly flattered when someone makes something from my blog, and this is really a great time of year for these flavors and for the “healthy” of it.

  3. Anne, Ha! Just one weeknight. : ) There are lots of times I eat leftovers or toast or, no kidding, a grapefruit.

    Angela, I know I already emailed you but once again: thank you! Thank you for posting this great recipe and thank you for your blog friendship. We really do need to meet one of these days in Nashville.

    Antonietta, Thank you!

  4. Shanna, This looks so good. I’m always looking for something different to do with chicken. Since I live in the middle of Amish country I was able to stock up on antiobiotic free chicken for $1.99/pound last week. I will definitely try this recipe soon.

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