Stuffed, rolled chicken is a great meal to make for a dinner party, it’s simple, requires very little fuss and looks great. We’ll work through each of the elements just to understand why we pick those particular ones and if there are alternatives.
Chicken Thigh Fillets
We work with chicken thighs because they’re tastier and aren’t as sensitive to cooking timings. Chicken breast goes from raw to perfect to overcooked very quickly as well as having a lot less flavour. In any meal I’m always keen to minimise the number of things that could go wrong. In this case, to minimise the chances of overcooked, bland chicken – use thigh meat.
Thinly sliced Italian cured ham. It’s a little on the pricey side and not something I keep on hand, but it just gives the dish that little bit of flair. The idea is that it wraps the chicken thighs, seals in the flavour and juices, going a little crisp in the cooking process. You could also use pancetta (the thin strips, not the rolled one) but you’ll need about 6-8 per chicken thigh.
Cheese! Always a cheese*. You can pretty much pick anything you fancy. Softer cheeses will melt faster and ooze out of the chicken, they’ll still be delicious though. The firmer cheeses are often stronger in flavour but will melt less, it depends on what you’re after and your preference.
Some combinations you could try:
- Feta & sun dried tomato
- Mozzarella, tomato & basil
- Ricotta & spinach
- Gruyeres & fresh mushrooms
- Brie & figs
When serving vegetables on the side of a meal, think ‘colour’. If you can get three different coloured vegetables, that’s pretty good. Always try to have a green (beans, broccoli, asparagus, spinach salad etc) and carrots are simple. For a meal like this you can also serve the rolls (or sliced rolls) on a bed of mash. We made broccoli, asparagus and pumpkin.
Shall we start cooking?
We want to get the chicken in the oven first. As a guide boneless chicken takes around 30 minutes, bone-in chicken takes 45-60, depending on size. As we’re using boneless, it’ll need at least 30.
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
Pound your chicken thighs to get them a little thinner and more evenly sized, this makes them easier to roll. You can just use a rolling pin if you don’t have a meat mallet.
Lay out 2-3 slices of prosciutto, slightly overlapping, on a board. Lay out one chicken thigh across the prosciutto the meatier side closer to you and the thigh running parallel to the prosciutto, this will make it easier to roll. Lay the feta and sun dried tomato down the centre of the thigh. Below, we have 3 slices of prosciutto and two chicken thighs, this could serve two if sliced after roasting.
Once the feta and sun dried tomato are on, tuck the prosciutto over the thigh and roll it up fairly tightly and pop them in an oiled tray.
To fill out the meal easily – pick roast vegetables. Chop them up small enough so they’ll roast in the allocated time. That way, you can pop everything in the oven and just wait til the timer goes.
We did exactly that with some pumpkin.
About 10 minutes before the timer is due to go off, it’s time to do the broccolini and asparagus. The broccolini will take roughly 10 minutes to cook, the asparagus, half that.
Heat butter and olive oil in a pan on medium heat, using both olive oil and butter will stop the butter from burning. Once the butter starts to bubble, add the broccolini turning to coat in the butter/oil. Let the pan heat a little more and add in about a 1/4 C of water and cover with a lid. Let the water and heat cook and steam the broccolini for around five minutes, then add the asparagus. The steam ensures you don’t end up with fried vegetables. Leave the lid off for long enough to let the water evaporate, stirring the vegetables frequently. Add in a little knob of butter at the end to coat the greens and turn the heat off. The broccolini should be a little firm to the bite, but not overly crunchy and the same goes for the asparagus.
Once the timer goes, cut into the middle of one of the chicken rolls to check that it’s done. The liquid should run clear and the meat should be dark or white, we don’t want to see any pink. Put them back in the oven for an additional five minutes at a time to make sure they’re done.
When they’re ready – pop all of it on a plate and enjoy.
Rolled, stuffed chicken thighs
- 2-3 slices of prosciutto per person
- 1-2 chicken thighs per person
- 30g marinated or plain feta per person
- 20g sundried tomato, chopped per person
Pan Fried Greens
- 1 bunch asparagus (serves 2-3)
- 1 bunch broccolini (serves 2-3)
- olive oil
- 100g butternut pumpkin per person
- olive oil
Rolled, Stuffed Chicken Thighs
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C (160 degrees fan forced)
- Pound chicken thighs until they’re relatively even in thickness.
- Lay out your strips of prosciutto, slightly overlapping.
- Top the prosciutto with the chicken thigh, running in the same direction as the prosciutto.
- Top the chicken with your choice of filling.
- Roll the chicken thighs up and place seam side down in an oiled tray.
- Repeat for the number of people you’re serving.
- Pop the rolled, stuffed thighs in the oven and put your timer on for 30 minutes.
- When there’s 10 minutes left, put a large pan on medium heat and add a knob of butter & a glug of olive oil.
- Once the butter starts to bubble, add in your broccolini and stir for five minutes.
- Add your asparagus and a slurp of water. Stir then put the lid on.
- Check after a few minutes and keep the lid off, stirring to make sure they’re all cooked.
- Once they’re done, add a small knob of butter & turn the heat off.
- Once the timer goes for the chicken, test that they’re done by making a cut halfway through one (near the middle). If the juices run clear and the meat is not pink. It’s ready to go. If not, put it back in the oven for 5 minutes at a time until it is.
- If you want to slice the chicken rolls. Slice them about 2cm wide and place them, overlapping on the plate.
- Add your vegetables to the plate, and serve.
- Casserole Version – Before you put your chicken rolls in the oven, add some small chopped vegetables (potato, sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot), Italian herbs (oregano, parsley, basil, rosemary, bay leaves), salt, pepper and two tins of diced tomato. Cover with foil or a lid and cook at 150 for an hour or so. This is a heartier, more vegetable full meal & great for winter. You can still serve the chicken rolls sliced, on top of the stewed vegetables.
- Include Mash – Make a mash by putting peeled, chopped potatoes in cold water and bringing to the boil. Boil until tender, then drain. Add a little butter, milk, salt and pepper then mash until as smooth as you like it. You could add cream cheese, sour cream or regular cream as well/instead if you like for some extra flavour. Adding a teaspoon or so of mustard will also add flavour.
- Alternative Fillings – You could use a combination of a multitude of ingredients! Mushrooms, olives, fresh, diced tomatoes, pickled capsicum, a tapenade, pesto, crushed walnuts, pine nuts, whatever takes your fancy really. You can spread wholegrain mustard on the chicken thighs before topping with your filling as well.
*You don’t have to use cheese if you don’t want to or are intolerant.