This elegant chicken roll with a savoury mushroom stuffing looks impressive and is easy to serve either warm or cold. The stuffing keeps the chicken moist. Serve warm with gravy or cold with a good garlic mayonnaise, preferably homemade. Remember to use a sharp carving knife to get neat clean slices with no shredding. This recipe serves 4-6 as a main course or part of a buffet.
250 grams mushrooms, preferably small champignons, quartered but you can use whatever kind you like
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
100 grams unsalted butter, softened (this is important for the flavour so don’t economise and use margerine)
3 rashers of streaky bacon, cut into matchsticks
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 large boneless chicken supremes i.e. double breasts
salt and freshly ground black pepper
A meat mallet or a heavy rolling pin
baking parchment and string
a large saucepan with a good fitting lid, big enough to take the roll without bending it.
a trivet or steamer to hold the roll – an inverted plate will do
To make the stuffing
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and cook the bacon until the fat runs. Drain the bacon bits and then saute the mushrooms in the olive oil and bacon fat. Take off the heat and mix with the softened butter and the crushed garlic. Season to taste. Set aside.
Lay a large sheet of heavy foil on your work surface. It needs to be big enough to go twice round the completed roll so that water can’t get in during cooking. Lay a similarly sized sheet of baking parchment (non-stick baking paper) on top of the foil. Cut through each chicken breast so that it opens up like a book and beat it flat so that they are all of an even thickness. Lay them, overlapping, on the foil/parchment layers, making sure that there is a border of paper and foil sticking out all the way round. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and then spread evenly with the stuffing mixture, leaving a bit of a border around the edges. Roll up carefully into a firm neat roll. Fold around the baking parchment and then the foil, tucking in the ends to make a secure package that won’t leak. If you are nervous, you might want to also tie it up with string but this shouldn’t be necessary if the foil is firm enough and you don’t let the water boil vigorously.
Bring 3 litres of water to the boil in the saucepan, carefully lower in the chicken, cover and immediately reduce the heat to a simmer. This is because you want it to cook steadily without the water boiling vigorously and pulling your parcel undone! Simmer gently for about an hour, making sure that the pan doesn’t boil dry. If you need to top it up, use boiling water from the kettle so that you don’t reduce the temperature in the pan. After an hour, turn off the heat and let stand for another hour. Remove carefully from the pan and either unwrap and serve warm or leave to cool in the wrappings if you are going to serve it cold.
Add finely chopped cooked chicken livers to the mushrooms in the stuffing.
Add a handful of dried cranberries or some cranberry sauce to the stuffing for a festive touch.
Lay slices of good cooked ham on top of the stuffing after you have spread it over the chicken.
Brush the cooked roll with melted butter and then wrap it in bacon rashers and finish it off in the oven for 20 minutes if you aren’t watching your fat intake!