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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.Print
Juicy chicken rolls bursting with sweet and savory ingredients are a light bite that packs an enormous punch of flavor.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bake until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the chicken reaches 155°F, about 15-20 minutes.
- 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.
To do this, place them in a small, dry pan over low heat. Toast, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 2 minutes.
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
Saute the onion until lightly golden, add the garlic, and then season with salt and pepper.
Cook for 1 minute, and then stir in the toasted pine nuts and raisins.
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.
Lay out the chicken breasts on a cutting board or clean work surface.
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.
Divide the onion mixture and the cheese evenly on the bottom halves of each one, and roll tightly into a cylinder.
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.
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.
Dust the rolls lightly with flour.
Step 4 – Sear
Sear the chicken rolls on all sides to create a golden-brown crust.
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.
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.
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: January 26, 2020 at 14:51 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.
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.