Friday, July 2, 2010

Braciola di Pollo: Stuffed Boneless Chicken with Sundried Tomatoes & Summer Herbs

It's going back quite a ways, but I can still remember the first "fancy" dinner party dish I ever made pretty vividly. It was a recipe for chicken breasts that were pounded flat, stuffed with cheese, fastened with toothpicks, and baked in the oven.

The first lesson I learned was that you should always COVER your chicken breast with something before whacking away at it with a meat mallet. That was followed shortly by the realization that over-stuffing the chicken breasts probably wasn't the best idea.  And then I rounded the experience out by nearly impaling myself with the dullest toothpick I've ever encountered.

My oh my, how things change.

I haven't stuffed a chicken breast with anything in a very long time, though I've actually developed some pretty mad skillz for using toothpicks. And I've gotten pretty good with a meat mallet.

But, stuffed chicken (albeit not breasts) really IS the point of this post. So, I'd better get on with that.

The inspiration for this dish hearkens back to a chicken roll recipe from Mario Batali that we came across online a few months back. It was a boned chicken, stuffed with veal, pork, and ham and roasted in the oven until it was crisped and browned.  I liked the idea of a "boneless chicken roll," so I decided to play with the flavors.

We actually learned to debone poultry when we tackled Julia Child's Pate de Canard en croute for a cooking challenge last summer. It was a skill I was pretty proud to have developed (especially since a number of chickens were sacrificed along the way in order for me to gain confidence with the process).  But, I hadn't put it to good use in quite a while.  So, I figured a little bit of experimenting would get me back into practice.

Inspired by the summer weather, I decided to go with a stuffing that was lighter and far less meat heavy.  I happened to have a few dehydrated Principe Borghese tomatoes leftover from last summer's harvest on hand.
I also realized that it was the perfect opportunity to capitalize on all the summer herbs we had in the back yard.  Peef clipped some basil, parsley, and rosemary. And we got started.  I mixed the herbs with re-hydrated tomatoes, fresh bread crumbs, blue cheese, and a couple of eggs.
We de-boned and stuffed the chicken, and then threw everything into a hot oven for about 40 minutes.
The fact is, this is a relatively simple dish once you've got the pesky de-boning out of the way.  These days I almost always de-bone more than one chicken at a time and I always roll up one or two to sock away in the freezer for later. Makes for pretty slick entertaining when the time comes -- and honestly, it shaves off enough time that we can even throw together a delicious meal like this one on a regular old weeknight.
And, honestly, who can argue with that?

Braciola di Pollo: Stuffed Boneless Chicken with Sundried Tomatoes & Herbs

This post is part of our Summer 2010 Herb Series: Using and Preserving Herbs. Stay tuned every Friday for more hints, tips and tricks on how to use summer's bounty!  

We're also excited to announce that, starting next Friday, we'll be featuring guest posts from some of our favorite food blogger friends as part of the herb series.  First up on July 9th -- Amy from Very Culinary!

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  1. This looks wonderful. Wish I could have that for dinner tonight with a nice glass of red wine. Funny thought about the whacking chicken without covering it...been there too! Happy 4th!

  2. I am humbled by your skills. I have attempted to debone a chicken only once and I think I mutilated that thing so badly I disrespected the teh chicken's whose life was taken for my meal.

    I bow to yoru skill. That looks beautiful and delicious!

  3. You knocked this one out of the park...lots of stuffing, well tied. Where does one get such large chicken breasts? lol

  4. Sooooo, this promotion: Is is Executive Chef at the actual Burp! Restaurant? If so, please confirm my reservation for 2 for next Saturday night...

  5. I truly cannot imagine deboning a whole chicken but it's definitely worth it to learn if it results in something as delicious as this! I love the stuffing!

  6. That certainly looks wonderful and I love your idea of deboning more then one chicken and then keeping it in the freezer until needed. Although with my freezer habits, I would probably take it out far too late as usual.. Looks great!

  7. That looks seriously good.

    Looking forward to all your herb loaded posts to come. My babygirl has been growing an herb garden and have lots.

    Happy 4th!

  8. I won't be trying this, but I do have to say, it looks fantastic. However, being a meat eater to a fault, the one with meat stuffed in the meat sounds good too . . .

  9. Its been long since my last visit....n thr's lot to catch up. Tis recipe is soo simple and good. Ur pic is also soo inviting.

  10. Ha! I've gotten better at my toothpick usage and pounding out chicken also.

    Anyway, I made this tonight, Lo. I cheated and bought a chicken that had already been de-boned (a la Mr. butcher guy) and I also used feta instead of blue cheese (which *I* love, but would not have gone over well with the kiddos.)

    Friggin' fantastic. Belly full. Life good.

  11. boy that looks amazing! Okay, getting back to reading now that we are getting settled in our new home. I have a lot of catching up to do.

  12. So delicious...with sundried tomatoes it is must be really yummy

  13. Time to get fancy with fresh local food. Thanks for the great idea.

  14. I love the flavors you used to stuff the chicken. Looks like a great party dish.

  15. This looks so good you guys! It is always fun to look back and see how times have changed! :)

  16. Oh! Be still my heart, this looks incredible!


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