Sunday #15 LA ROULADE DE POITRINE DE VOLAILLE & LE RIZ PILAF
Phew – where does the time go. This Sunday dinner feels like a million years ago and I’m only getting the time to write about it now. Since baby O was born time seems both fast and slow at the same time. Way back in October, I invited friends over for Chicken Roulade (that’s the English version of this blog title). Basically it’s a chicken breast that is stuffed with cheese and ham because yum. This time I dressed it up to impress the crowd. Gruyere cheese & prosciutto.
It was a little hectic putting it all together with an almost-two-month baby in the house but luckily my friends (and husband) took over baby duty while I putzed around in the kitchen. People ask me all the time how, why, what am I doing in the kitchen…”aren’t you tired?” The answer is yes. BUT having friends over is fun, it’s a breath of fresh air that I needed to remind myself that a) I still have friends! b) I can still cook! (and I still like to cook!) and c) 30-something year-olds will do anything to make a baby smile – I’m still in awe of how much they love baby O, we are all so lucky.
Ok back to the dinner. So about 2 months into maternity leave I decided to have 2 couples over. That’s right 6 adults total. Knowing I was jumping back into the saddle after being in baby-land I needed something that was both delicious and easy to do.
Chicken stuffed with gruyere cheese and prosciutto. Rice. Arugula tossed with Parmesan cheese and lemon.
First before I get into the chicken – I have to mention the salad. It’s so simple. so so simple. It’s a favorite weeknight go-to. Trust me. In a bowl, toss arugula, cheese and a pinch of salt. Drizzle just a little lemon juice over it. Toss. Taste. Serve. Done. Salad is on your plate and it took you more time to find the lemon in the fridge than it did to make it.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner.
For the chicken – first I pounded it out. Using a sturdy ziplock bag, I pounded out the chicken breast to be the same thinness throughout to ensure an even cooking. When chicken is over cooked it’s rubbery and tough and when chicken is under it’s pink, cold and you’re not suppose to eat it. So the goal here is to cook it just right (Goldie Locks Style). If you want the textbook definition of just right the internal temperature is suppose to be 165 degrees. If you want to know what I learned in school it was that you should be able to touch it and “just know”. Lets also remember the importance of resting all meat before eating. You do this so that the juice inside has a chance to distribute throughout the meat to make your bites evenly juicy and delicious. You should always rest your meat 1/3 of the cooking time. So if you cook chicken for 30 minutes, it should rest for 10 minutes before cutting into it. You can cover it with foil to keep it warm if you’re worried.
Okay back to pounding. I had to improvise. I used our household tool box hammer. I do not have a proper meat pounding device in the kitchen because it’s rarely something I do and our apartment-living-kichen is already busting at its seams with gadgets, pantry foods, and cute dish towels.
Second, I layered the cheese and prosciutto, rolled the chicken up into a log. Then I wrapped it tightly with plastic wrap and poached them in a stock pot until done.
If I’m going to be honest, which I should be because everyone makes mistakes and we need to know that that is okay. I over cooked the chicken. However, with the melted cheese, it was, I hope, hard to tell.
The guests loved it. They stayed late into the evening and it was lovely to take a much needed break from maternity leave to drink wine, laugh and be normal 30-somethings like I said earlier, I did it for the much needed breath of fresh air.