This recipe is an adaptation of one originating from an ex head chef, Gary Sweetman. I can’t actually remember the original because I have changed it each time to suit the occasion. This recipe is fantastic for catering a party because it can be prepared in advance and the ingredients are in one component so there is no complicated assembly. This particular time, I made a little salsa to go on top but I do recommend a good quality tomato relish.
Chicken roulade with proscuitto, sage and garlic
For the chicken:
4 free range corn-fed chicken thighs
1 bulb of garlic
6 slices of proscuitto
bunch of fresh sage
For the salsa*
vine ripened tomatoes
lemon zest and juice
pinch of sugar
salt and black pepper
1. Place the garlic bulb on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Bake in a low oven (approx 140ºC) for 20 mins or until the cloves are soft.
2. Remove skin and trim the chicken thighs of any major fat. Place a thigh between 2 pieces of cling film and bang with the flat surface of a mallet so the chicken is of even thickness and has approximately doubled in size. Remove the cling film. Repeat for all 4 thighs.
3. Smear 2-3 of the roasted garlic cloves over the inside of each thigh. Lay 1 ½ proscuitto slices over the garlic to cover the inside of the thigh. Place about 3 sage leaves on the proscuitto and finish with cracked pepper (see top-left photograph).
5. Roll the chicken thigh (see top-right photograph). To finish with a long, skinny roulade, roll the thigh with the short ends as the width and the long ends as the length.
6. Truss the roulade with twine to secure the shape and prevent filling escaping during cooking. This may be fairly fiddly, so as an alternative you can tie around the roulade, knot and snip. Then 2 cm down, tie, knot and snip, repeating all the way down the thigh. Repeat for all 4 chicken thighs.
7. In a pan heat a little olive oil. Seal the roulades to brown and caramelise their outside.
8. Reduce the heat and cook through, turning occasionally (like sausages). Alternatively, after sealing you can finish in a hot oven (190ºC) for 10-15 minutes or until cooked through.
9. For the salsa, cut the tomatoes into quarters and remove the seeds. Bruniose the tomato or cut into small dice. Roughly chop the olives and capers and zest the lemon. Combine tomato, olives, capers, lemon zest and juice, a splash of olive oil, a pinch of castor sugar and finally rock salt and black pepper to season.
10. Remove the twine and cut the roulades (approximately 6 rounds per rolled thigh). Serve on a platter topped with a little of the salsa.**
Tips and tricks:
*If you are making a lot of these for a party, buy a good quality tomato relish and use instead of the fresh salsa.
**You can place each roulade on a baby spinach or betel leaf and add a little spoonful of salsa or relish on top of each one. Picking the roulade up by the baby spinach leaf means no greasy, chicken fingers.
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