Alright friends, grab your most uncomfortable shoes and that tie you bought at KMart three years ago on the way to your cousins wedding because it’s about to get fancy. I’m talking really fancy, French fancy. I am going to be using the word “roulade” a lot. But don’t balk, it’s just classy word for “rolled”. You can make many things a la roulade but I want to teach you how to make Chicken Breast Roulade, specifically. Think of it as a giant chicken breast sushi roll filled with cheese (gross).
This is wonderful technique to learn by heart because it’s beautiful and will impress your many important guests. It’s also, of course, easy to make all your own with your favorite mash up of ingredients. Okay lets go!
First, here are some inspiration recipes:
Chicken Roulade with Feta (via Bon Appetit)– (Pictured in this post) This is the most simple and straightfoward of all the recipes. An easy cheese-based filling, no breading and a simple pan sauce.
Chicken Roulades with Chorizo and Manchego (via FoodNetwork) – This one is more ambitious but features a really tasty Spanish flavor combo and a crispy breading.
Chicken & Basil Roulades with Mustard Sauce (via Williams & Sonoma) – A simple breaded version with a basil-only filling.
– Radicchio & Msuhroom Chicken Roulade (via Martha Stewart)Perhaps a more health-conscious choice: unbreaded and a mostly veggie filling.
Basically, we are going to flatten chicken breasts till they are all uniformly quite thin, cover one side with a topping (cheese, other meats, herbs, sauteed veggies, etc.) and then roll it up. The roll will then be breaded (or not), browned on the stove, and then thrown into the oven to finish up. You have the option to earn extra chef points for making a pan sauce from the browning pan. Finally, all you have left to do is sip your French white wine, wipe your hands upon your spotless linen apron, throw your thick, glossy hair over your shoulder and soak up all the inevitable admiration.
But before all that, YOU GOTTA FOLLOW THE RULES.
Chicken Roulade Rules & Guidelines
- Pound breasts until they are of uniform thickness–about ¼-⅛” thick. (wrap breasts in saran wrap or put in a gallon bag and go to town with something heavy like a mallet)
- Season the chicken breasts on both sides before adding the filling
- Dont forget to season the filling
- Keep at least ½” of filling-free space around the edge of the breast
- Roll the breast from the narrow end first
- Use ¼-½ cup of filling per breast
- Use kitchen twine to keep the roll rolled. (or toothpicks if you must. Twine would be so much better though)
- If using a high amount of filling, I’d advise you to wrap the roll in saran wrap quite tightly and put in fridge for 1 hour before cooking
- Whether breaded or not, brown the roll on the stove before putting in the oven
Core Ingredients (4 servings)
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1-2 cups pre-cooked & seasoned filling of your choice (think cheeses, cured meats, herbs, ground nuts, sauteed vegetables, fruit spreads, etc.)
- Kitchen twine or toothpicks
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup flour
- 1 cup panko or breadcrumbs
If making a pan sauce:
- 2 cloves garlic or 1 shallot (or both)
- 1/2 cup broth
- ½ wine (optional)
- 1 lemon
- Preheat oven to 350
- Rub a baking sheet with oil and set aside
- Pound breasts in between two sheets of saran wrap or in a gallon bag to ⅛” – ¼” thickness
- Prepare your fillings: Saute or roast any vegetables/greens in oil with aromatics such as garlic, onion, or shallot. Pre-cook any raw meats. Get any raw herbs trimmed and ready. Grate any cheese
- Season both sides of flattened breasts and lay flat. Arrange fillings on breasts, leaving a ½” border free. (You can mix all your fillings together before adding to breast or arrange in layers)
- Starting from the narrow end, begin rolling the breast up like a pinwheel.
- If breading, roll the filled breast in flour,shake off the excess; dip into whisked eggs, dripping off the excess; roll in the panko or breadcrumbs
- Secure breasts by tying with kitchen twine every inch or by stabbing through with toothpicks
- If very thick with filling, wrap tightly in saran wrap and refrigerate for an hour to harden everything up (so it doesn’t fall apart in the pan)
- In a pre-heated skillet with a good amount of oil/butter, add chicken rolls and brown on all sides (4-5 min)
- Once browned, remove rolls from skillet and transfer to the pre-oiled sheet pan. Put into oven and cook until done, (10-15 min, depending on how thick you left your chicken and how full of filling it is)
- Meanwhile, make a pan sauce with the pan you used to brown the rolls. Keep pan at medium- low temperature without wiping out what was left behind from browning the chicken. Add any aromatics such as garlic, shallot, fresh herbs, etc, and saute until you can smell them. Add wine/broth and let simmer until reduced by ½. Add a pat of butter if you like or salt or a pinch of chopped fresh herbs. Squeeze lemon juice into sauce. Adjust to tastes and remove from heat
- Once chicken is done, remove from oven and let rest for 1-3 minutes and then cut into slices and drizzle with the pan sauce
A few steps, sure, but most of it can be done ahead of time (everything up to putting into fridge) and most of the work is done by the oven. The effect of the rolled filling, once cut, is very pretty and “restaurant-y”. It is sure to earn you accolades. It’s also damned good way to eat the otherwise boring chicken breast.
As always, I want you to try to come up with your own version of Chicken Roulade using flavors that you are drawn to, but here are some options to get your gears going:
Prosciutto + parmesan + mozzarella + basil
Artichokes + sauteed mushrooms + feta
Sauteed spinach + roasted red peppers + pepper jack cheese
I’ll be back later with my own recipe to share. Have fun, be playful.