Food & Drink

I'm Chris - or Christopher - or Mr. Dean - or Master Christopher - or just plain Sir. I'm a self-professed foodie. I love to cook and I take great pleasure in all things edible. My husband and I are relatively new to Portland, Oregon and are enjoying our culinary explorations of the area!

Food is NOT just fuel!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chicken Rolls

Where have I been?  Isn't it funny how life gets in the way of things - like a blog?  :)  I have some catching up to do, so bear with me.  This is going to be a post-tastic day!

Last weekend (specifically on Sunday, May 8) we celebrated my loving husband's 31st birthday!  In order to celebrate him all weekend long, I focused on something I'm good at - food.  Specifically, food that I know he loves.  So I started with Chicken Rolls on Friday night.  I made these the first time a couple of years ago - they're a little work intensive (just the beating your chicken breasts into submission part), but really delicious.  I think the original recipe was one I found from Giada DeLaurentis - however mine has evolved since then.

I usually avoid heat in a dish because keith isn't a fan.  I am, however, and frequently sprinkle some red pepper flakes over my dish to finish it.  In this case I decided a touch of heat would be good - and I judged it perfectly.  I only used 3/4 of a dried red pepper - how did I know that was the perfect balance for me and my husband?  :)

And if you make this - trust me, pounding the chicken is fun (pun always intended).  Just make sure to sandwich the breasts (again with a sexual-sounding reference?) between layers of wax paper to avoid chicken splatter.  And nothing flattens a chicken breast like my huge (wait for it...) rolling pin.  :)

Chicken Rolls
4 Chicken breasts, flattened to about 1/4 - 1/2 inch thick
Asiago cheese, cut into long, thick slices
Fresh Sage leaves (2 per breast, plus enough to make 1 Tbl. chopped)
1 Onion (I used a Vidalia sweet), chopped
2 cloves Garlic, thinly sliced
Olive oil
1 tsp fresh Thyme, chopped
1 dried red Pepper, chopped (I only used 3/4 of one)
1 28oz. can crushed Tomatoes
1 tsp. Tomato paste
Whiskey or Bourbon (I used Scotch - worked okay, but Whiskey would have been better)

Supplies:  Kitchen twine, or toothpicks

Season each flattened breast with salt & pepper on both sides.  Lay 2 sage leaves across one side, place a thick slice of Asiago on top and roll the breast, wrapping the sage & cheese in the middle.  Use either kitchen twine or toothpicks to secure each end of the roll (just make sure the rolled breasts can make contact with a hot pan on all sides).  Make sure all rolls are complete before the next step.

In a large pan, heat up 2 counts of olive oil over medium-high heat.  Place the rolls into the pan and let them brown.  This should take 2-3 minutes for the top & bottom, maybe a little less for each side.  Remove from the pan and set aside.  Take the pan away from the flame of the stove and pour in a splash of Whiskey (if you have an electric stove, you can omit this - it imparts a bit of flavor, but it isn't necessary), bring back to the flame and ignite the liquor.  Let the flames die off on their own, stir around the liquid to release any bits of chicken that have stuck to the pan.  If necessary, add a bit more olive oil.  Throw in the onion and garlic and a pinch of salt.  Cook for 5-6 minutes until the onions start becoming soft.  Add the thyme, sage, red pepper and tomato paste.  Cook for 2-3 minutes to combine the flavors.  Add the crushed tomatoes and some more salt, and bring to a bubble.

Lower the heat to medium, and place the chicken rolls into the tomato mixture - push them down into the sauce.  Cover and cook for 9 minutes.  Turn the rolls, then cover and cook again for 9 minutes.  Remove the chicken rolls and slice (removing the twine/toothpicks as well).  Spoon the tomato sauce into a pasta bowl, and lay the sliced rolls on top.  Serve with some great crusty bread in order to get all of that sauce into your mouth easily!  :)


  1. Ooooh! Pretty. And I was just online looking for something fun to make for dinner tonight. We had leftovers last night so I didn't get to cook and want to, so this will be perfection.

  2. Chris, I was a little worried when I started reading this that since I am a woman, and lacking the Y chromosome, that I wouldn't have the necessary equipment to make this. Then, I saw that you used a rolling pin, (THANK GOD THAT YOU DID) and, I have one of those!!


  3. Barb, you crack me up - I have no doubt you're equipped enough to handle the chicken rolls! Haha!

    Holly, how were they?

  4. They were very good! My kiddos didn't like the sage so they just took that out and hubby and I thought it was wonderful. I think I didn't add enough cheese because that kind of got lost in there, but easy enough to correct next time. It was also fun when my husband called down to see what the heck I was banging in the kitchen and I just yelled up, "I'm pounding the meat" and it just got silly after that! LOL. I am very immature.