I always loving experimenting with basic foods to make them look prettier and taste more delicious. Chicken is one of those foods that, while incredibly yummy and classic on its own, could use a little sprucing up from time to time. This chicken roulade recipe (also referred to as poulet farci in French) is a great way to elevate classic chicken breast into something special.
Chicken Roulade Recipe
I got the idea for this dish from my mom; it’s something she makes from time to time and it’s always a pleasure to eat. The French call stuffed chicken like this chicken roulade. In a way, it reminds me of chicken cordon bleu in concept, though the ingredients differ.
The chicken can be stuffed with all kinds of fillings, but this spinach combo is a favorite.
It’s also really easy to put together and ends up looking pretty special.
Chicken Roulade Fillings
While there are all kinds of options for chicken roulade fillings, spinach tends to be a favorite in many recipes. There’s typically also some kind of cheese used for the filling.
In this recipe, you end up with chicken breast that’s been stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, and ricotta, and then wrapped (and kept closed) by a few strips of bacon. The bacon adds a crisp component and delicious salty flavor. This contrasts well to the creamy spinach cheese filling inside.
After being stuffed and wrapped in bacon, the chicken is transferred to the oven where it bakes until cooked through. In the last few minutes, the bake setting is switched to the broil setting so that the bacon can get nice and crispy.
Chicken Roulade Sauce
I don’t tend to make a chicken roulade sauce for this dish, as I think the chicken is pretty flavorful on its own, but I think a sauce can be a great compliment and also a wonderful component for plating ideas.
For instance, you can easily create a white wine cream sauce or dijon cream sauce and pour a spoonful over the sliced chicken. Making a roulade sauce would be really easy and simply require that you sauté some onion and garlic in a pan, add a splash of white wine to deglaze the pan, then stream in a little chicken stock and cream.
Overall, this chicken roulade is a beautiful, creative twist on classic baked chicken. It can be whipped up for a weeknight dinner, or (my preference) it can be served to guests for a dinner party.
Once the chicken roulade is done baking, let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting it up into thick slices. I also suggest a side of mashed potatoes or sautéed vegetables. De-lish!
Chicken Roulade Recipe
Chicken stuffed with spinach, mushrooms, and ricotta, then wrapped in bacon.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 3 oz. baby spinach stems removed
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 8 oz. crimini mushrooms
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 8 strips of bacon
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prep your mushrooms by swiping them clean with a paper towel. Cut each mushroom into 1/2" slices, then cut each slice into 4 pieces.
In a saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil and melted your butter. Add the minced garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the mushrooms and cook until they are soft and tender. Once the mushrooms are tender, add in the spinach and cook for a minute or two, just until wilted. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour into a clean, large bowl.
Now, take a chicken breast and place the smooth plumper side face down. Use a sharp knife to cut through the chicken along the side, cutting horizontally, just until you've almost split the chicken breast in half. You want to stop right before you completely separate the halves, leaving them hanging on to each other by one edge. This technique is called butterflying, and you can ask your butcher to do this if you are too nervous to try it yourself. Repeat this step for the other 3 chicken breasts.
Take each butterflied chicken breast and use a meat mallet to pound out the chicken and flatten it out a bit. Temporarily set aside.
Back to the mushroom filling: add the ricotta cheese, grated parmesan, nutmeg, and 1/2 a teaspoon of salt and a pinch of freshly ground pepper. Give everything a good mix until the ingredients are blended well and the ricotta has been incorporated nicely.
Place a flattened and butterflied chicken breast onto your work surface, then sprinkle a small pinch of salt all over the breast. Scoop 2 heaping spoonfuls of the mushroom mixture onto the center. Now, grab one side of the chicken breast and begin rolling it over the filling like you would a burrito. Once it's rolled with the seam-side facing down, take a strip of bacon and begin wrapping half of the chicken breast. Take another strip of bacon and, where the first strip ended, begin wrapping the remaining half of the chicken breast. Repeat this step for the remaining 3 chicken breasts.
Line a baking sheet with a sheet of foil. Place an oven-safe, wire rack over the sheet. Transfer the rolled and stuffed chicken breasts to the wire rack and place in the oven to bake for 40 minutes. At that point, the chicken juices should run when clear when you poke into the chicken with a knife. The bacon should be mostly crisp.
Depending on how thin or thick your bacon strips are, you may need a few minutes to help crisp up your bacon further. If so, you can switch the oven's bake setting to broil and raise the heat to 450°F. Broil the chicken for 1-2 minutes, then rotate the pan and broil for another minute or two. Be sure to watch your chicken the ENTIRE time that you are broiling as the bacon can go from crispy to burnt within the blink of an eye!
Take the chicken out of the oven and let it rest on the pan for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, transfer to a cutting board and use a very sharp knife to make 1" sliced medallions. Arrange the medallions on a large serving plate, overlapping them slightly.
You will most likely end up with extra mushroom filling. You can always use it fill an extra chicken breast, or you can fill a handful of hollowed mushrooms and bake the mushrooms at 325°F for 40-45 minutes. 🙂