Chicken Breasts Rolled with Basil and Cheese
adapted from The Wine and Food Lover's Diet
My neighbor Marlee is teaching herself how to cook and I've been offering her some tips, suggestions and mostly encouragement to just start cooking and have fun with it. I asked her to find a recipe, prepare it and then write about it for my blog.
Here is what Marlee had to say about chicken breasts rolled with basil and cheese. I think she did a great job and I like that she tried baking the chicken instead of pan frying as the original recipe called for.
Marlee's First Blog Post
As a recent college graduate with little cooking expertise, I am teaching myself how to cook. After a quick search on the internet for an easy and fun chicken recipe, I landed on this one and cooked it for my parents and brother last week.
With little experience in the kitchen, I found this to be very easy to make and super delicious. There are a couple of things I would have done differently:
- Be careful when pounding your chicken flat, as some sections of my chicken were about to fall off and this made rolling a little bit difficult. One solution to this is to focus more on pounding the thick sections and be careful on the thinner areas. Or, you could butterfly your chicken breast, creating a thinner, larger cut of meat that's much easier to roll.
- Don't layer on the cheese spread too thick. I was slabbing on the delicious herb cheese spread so thick that when I began to roll the chicken breast, cheese spread was oozing out of the sides and made a mess. So, make sure to spread evenly and use judgment on how thick to pile it on. The chicken turned out fine and tasted great, so if you don't mind a little mess, pile it on.
- Be careful when cutting off the Butcher's twine. Unfortunately, some of the outer crispiness from the breadcrumb mixture came off when I cut the butcher's twine. Obviously this is going to be sort of inevitable, since I highly recommend tying the chicken breasts before dipping them in the egg and breadcrumbs, but use caution so you don't lose too much!
- Use a lot of basil! I used only 2-3 leaves per breast, which I thought would have been enough. In my personal opinion, it was not. Get enough leaves to coat your chicken breast.
Marlee's Cooking Tip
For an excellent pan sauce, deglaze any browned bits from the bottom of the baking dish with white wine and reduce on stove-top with ⅔ cup chicken broth, stir and let cook until the liquid has reduced to half the amount, about 2-3 minutes. Pour this pan sauce over the chicken and serve.
Baked Chicken Breasts Rolled with Basil and Cheese
- Butcher's twine
- 4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
- fresh basil or spinach leaves, enough to coat a chicken breast
- 5 ounces herb cheese or herb cheese spread - Boursin makes a great garlic herb cheese
- ⅔ cup Parmesan breadcrumbs
- 1 egg beaten well
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Placing chicken breast between sheets of plastic wrap, lightly pound the chicken using a meat mallet to about ¼. Season breasts with salt and pepper.
- If using basil, place in a small amount of boiling water for a few seconds and then set aside. If using spinach, place in a small amount of boiling water and let them wilt a little, about a minute or so. Place aside, draining excess water and coarsely chop the spinach.
- Spread the cheese over each half breast, making sure to coat the entire surface. I used herb cheese spread found at my local store, but Boursin garlic herb cheese or similar works well too.
- For basil leaves and spinach, place on chicken, making sure to cover the surface.
- Carefully roll the chicken, starting with the smallest end, very tightly. Secure each roll with 2 wooden toothpicks and enough butchers' twine to wrap around the largest part of the roll.
- The recipe I used told me to then place the rolls in a skillet, but I decided to go a different way and bake these with a crispy outer skin. For a healthier option, skip these steps and go straight to bake.
- In one shallow bowl, beat one egg well. In a separate shallow bowl pour out your ⅔-cup Parmesan breadcrumbs, (Can always combine a couple tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and regular bread crumbs). Dip your roll into the egg first, covering all sides, then transfer and roll into the breadcrumb mixture. Finally transfer the chicken rolls to a greased baking dish.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until your chicken has reached an internal temperature of about 160-165° F. Use a meat thermometer to check temperature. Chicken should be slightly browned.
- Let sit for 5-10 minutes and serve.