Wednesday, November 29, 2006

30-Minute Chicken Roulade and "Dirty" Rice

Believe it or not, we have not always been into cooking our own meals. We did have very rudimentary knowledge of cooking early on and applied some of that knowledge to cooking on occasion, but often we were cooking Hamburger Helper and freeze-dried mashed potatoes other sort of pre-made meals. We don't necessarily look down on these methods for getting food on the table, but we do look back while we're making a roast or braising short ribs and say "remember when we'd make Tuna Helper???" and laugh a little.

Our learning curve was an extreme one, and it was certainly accelerated with some help from the Food Network. In particular, we'd watch Rachael Ray's 30-minute meals. Yes, she's blown up today with her shows and magazines and there are entire sites out there that bash her and she's too perky and her cooking is too elementary, etc., etc... but back then she was making advanced meals for us at the time! And we thought: we can do that! We'll always have a little place in our cooking hearts for Ms. Ray - even if today WE even find her cooking a little elementary!

So here's our dedication to her - this is 100% our own recipe, but it certainly seems like it could be one of her 30-Minutes Meals. Hey Rachael - you can use this recipe! Just drop us a line first!

30:00 - gather: two boneless/skinless chicken breasts; a few deli ham slices; a few fresh sage leaves; some bleu cheese (we bought a big block - i LOVE bleu cheese); saran wrap; a big, metal, heavy-bottomed pan for smashing; and put a skillet on the stove on medium heat.

28:00 - butterfly the chicken breasts by putting them flat with the "meatier" side to your right (if yer a righty) and slicing - one knife-slice at a time - back through the middle from the right to left, slicing sideways almost to the end but not through (does that make sense?).

26:00 - lay your butterflied chicken breast down on a layer of saran wrap and cover with another layer of saran wrap. moisten both of these layers with saran wrap with a sprinkle of water to lube them up a little (thanks, Alton!). take your heavy-bottomed skillet (not the one on the stove top!) and flatten those breasts to about 1/3" thick... as flat as you can get them without ripping them apart.

24:00 - add some canola oil to the pan. take each flattened breast and at one end place a slice of ham, a sage leaf, and a cut or a few crumbles of the bleu cheese. then roll the chicken breast up around that "filling" until you've got a little, round chicken roll-up. secure with three toothpicks. maybe it's not a real "roulade" - but that sounded better than "chicken roll-up"! season the outside of the chicken rolls with kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper.

22:00 - add chicken roulades to pan and start browning on each side, 3-minutes per on 3 sides.

21:00 - while that is going on, get out your 10-minute brown rice and get one cup of water going to make your one cup of rice in. also, gather 1/2 a green pepper, 1/2 an onion, and a couple garlic cloves.

19:00 - turn chicken. dice up your pepper, onion, and garlic. add a last, smaller saute pan to some heat. put rice in boiling water and return to a boil and cover and simmer for 5 minutes (as it says on the package)... add some canola oil to the smaller skillet.

16:00 - add your pepper and onion to your smaller skillet to start them sauteing..

15:00 - turn chicken

14:00 - take sip of wine. stir veggies.

13:00 - check rice - if most of the water is evaporated, just turn off heat, give it a stir, and put the cover back on.

12:00 - last chicken turn. stir veggies and add in the garlic. season with salt and pepper.

10:00 - sip of wine. leaf through Penzey's catalog. smoked spanish paprika! mmmmm...

9:00 - keep stirring and sauteeing those veggies... should be done soon, so turn off the heat.

8:00 - chicken comes out, temporarily. should have some nice saute bits at the bottom of your pan, pour in some of that Cabernet you have - 1/2 cup? - and a big pat of butter! deglaze the pan and scrape off the bits at the bottom.

6:00 - add the chicken back in, turn down the heat, and cover.

4:00 - add your "dirty" to your rice - put the seasoned-n-sauteed pepper/onion/garlic mixture into the rice and stir it in. give a taste for seasoning and then just re-cover it. it will stay nice and warm and those flavors will be given time to impart into the rice.

3:00 - sip of wine. give the chicken a turn. hmmmm... Penzey's gift boxes would make a perfect gift for a Boston Chef!

1:00 - check the chicken, should be all set by now. turn off heat.

0:00 - scoop some "dirty" rice onto a plate. add one of the chicken roulades. sit down with your glass of wine and enjoy! the wine/butter-poaching adds great flavor to the ham/bleu/sage filling... and the rice has a nice dirty kick to it! Delicious!

That's all the time we have for today - and remember, a great meal is never more than 30 minutes away! Thanks, Rachael!


Anonymous said...

It's so good to see you back up and running, you've been missed!

It's good to know that not everybody loathes Rachel Ray. Even if she isn't a culinary genius, I think her recipes and style are ideal in getting to the point and dinner to the table quickly.

This looks like a great recipe, anything with chicken and wine is a sure fire winner.

PS I have a new site again and will send out the URL as soon as it's up to par.

Boston Chef said...

Thanks Jaye - good to "see" you, send the new URL through when you have it!