White mushrooms didn’t get one of the catchy names. They don’t sound exotic like Shiitake or Enoki, or cool like King Oyster. There’s no Italian flair to their nomenclature like cremini or portobello. Instead they go by very practical names, like “white”, “cultivated”, and “table”. Or the diminutive label “button”. Sure, they’re cute as a button, but for this recipe I decided to focus on their more elegant French name, “champignon”.
This recipe is a nod to the champignon’s loving relationship with French cuisine. Roulade (roo-LAHD) roughly translates to “roll”. Here, thinly pounded chicken breast wraps around classic French herbs and aromatics. Subtle shallots deliver an onion flavour. Soft, unripened goat cheese provides tang, but won’t overpower. Lemon and thyme team up for a light, bright taste that pairs well with the shallots and cheese. Toasted pine nuts add a sweet unexpected crunch that would be lost with bolder flavours. And of course, the champignons bring a balance of umami. And it’s all wrapped up in spinach-lined chicken breast.
While roulade might look fussy, it’s easy if you start with thin meat and don’t over-stuff. To ensure you pound the chicken breast as thinly as possible without breaking it apart, start at the centre and work out using firm but light strokes. It’s better to go over the chicken breast a few times with a lighter touch than once like a jack hammer.
A bit of kitchen string ensures all that stuffing stays in place and your roulade emerges from the oven looking as chic and casual as anything you’d find at a French bistro.
Chicken Roulade Stuffed with Mushrooms, Cheese & Pine Nuts
Prep Time: 40 mins. | Cook Time: 30 mins.
A roulade is both elegant and rustic at the same time. Its gracious, swirling lines adds style to any plate, but it emerges from the oven with down-to-earth singed string and some inevitable stuffing spillage. To reduce this spillage, resist the urge to overfill the roulade, then spoon any leftover filling over the finished slices.
4 6- to 8-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
300 g package unripened goat cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons lemon juice
4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped from the stem
generous grinding fresh black pepper
3 tablespoons oil, divided
3 shallots, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
1 pound white button mushrooms, halved then sliced
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 small bunch fresh baby spinach
1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut eight pieces of kitchen string about a foot long each.
2. Place one chicken breast in a plastic freezer bag. Pound flat to no thicker than 1/4-inch. Place flattened chicken breast on a sheet of plastic wrap or parchment. Repeat with remaining breasts.
3. In a small bowl, place the goat cheese, pine nuts, lemon zest, lemon juice, thyme, and pepper. Stir to combine. Set aside.
4. In a large oven-proof skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook 2 minutes until soft. Add the mushrooms and salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms are soft and most of the moisture has evaporated, about 5 to 8 minutes. Remove skillet from heat. Transfer mushrooms to a bowl. Wipe out skillet with a paper towel.
5. Place a sheet of chicken on your work surface. Line the breast with a single layer of spinach leaves. Spread 1/4 of the cheese mixture down the length of the breast. Using a slotted spoon, spread some of the mushroom mixture down the length of the breast and no more than an inch from the sides. It's best not to overfill. Any leftover mushrooms can be spooned over the roulade once sliced.
6. Using the parchment or plastic wrap, roll the chicken breast up from the narrow end as you would a jellyroll. Tie in two places with kitchen string. Repeat with remaining breasts.
7. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the chicken roulades on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the skillet to the hot oven and cook until the centre of the largest roulade reaches 165F, about 12 to 15 minutes.
8. Allow to cool a few minutes. Cut and remove the strings, slice chicken in rounds, and top with any leftover mushrooms. Serve hot.
Once again, The Messy Baker brings us an umami-packed treat! These impressive roulades will dress up any meal time. Thanks again to Charmian for joining us in our kitchen!!
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