I love trying new recipes, but doing this always has two opposing effects on me. 1) I get excited, hoping the dish might turn out to be terrific. 2) I’m terrified I’ll blow it. This recipe leaned heavily on the latter because I was making it to impress, and because one part of the instructions didn’t seem quite right to me.
After the pork was cooked and rolled in the raw chicken fillets, I was supposed to cook the rolls briefly in a skillet. To be specific: for only one minute! Granted, I am notorious for overcooking chicken, but “one minute altogether” planted fears of food poisoning in my head. A mutual decision during the cooking process turned that one minute into ten (explained below).
I had prepared the rolls a few hours ahead of time (preparing them was easy), and I think this gave the flavors time to steep before cooking in the skillet. Fresh pork from the butcher and fresh rosemary also made a difference. I added a side dish of fingerling potatoes roasted with olive oil and thyme, and the meal was almost perfect. A fresh green salad would have rounded it out nicely.
Rolled Fillets of Breast of Chicken with Pork and Rosemary Fillingadapted from the Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking
by Marcella Hazan
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1/2 lb. ground pork
- Black pepper, ground fresh from the mill
- 2 tsp. fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
- 2 whole boneless chicken breasts
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- Kitchen string
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
1) Lightly mash the garlic with a heavy knife handle, just hard enough to split the skin, which you will remove and discard. Put the garlic in a skillet together with the oil, turn on the heat to medium, and cook the garlic until it has become colored a pale gold. Add the ground pork, salt, pepper, and the rosemary leaves. Cook for about 10 minutes, stirring and crumbling the meat with a fork. Discard the garlic and, using a slotted spoon or spatula, transfer the meat to a plate.
2) Lay the chicken fillets flat on a work surface and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Spread the pork filling over the fillets, and roll up each fillet tightly. Tie each roll as if wrapping ribbon around gift (see photo).
The rolls can be prepared up to this point several hours in advance.
3) Spoon off most of the fat from the pan in which you cooked the pork. (If you made the chicken rolls some time in advance, degrease the pan at that time, and reserve the juices in the pan for when you are ready to resume cooking.) Add the butter, turn the heat on to medium high, and when the butter foam begins to subside, slip in the chicken rolls. Turn down the heat to medium, cover the pan, and cook the chicken for about ten minutes, checking regularly to make sure the rolls don’t overcook and turning regularly to make sure they brown on all sides. Transfer to a warm serving platter, using a slotted spoon or spatula.
4) Add the wine to the skillet, and while it simmers briskly for about half a minute, use a wooden spoon to scrape loose cooking residues from the bottom and sides of the pan. Pour the cooking juices over the chicken rolls and serve at once.