Prosciutto and Gruyere-stuffed Chicken Roulade

Despite the facts that I just bought my summer's supply of sunscreen this weekend, and it is currently sunny and 78 outside, I still want the excuse to hibernate inside in my sweatshirt, and eat rich, full-flavored foods in front of a Netflix queue. (Also, the hubs was gone this weekend, and it took about 12 seconds to revert to a helpless blob of single person, unable to make independent decisions.) Preserving the illusion of winter outside meant making comfort foods inside, and one of mine growing up was Chicken Cordon Bleu.  So, I decided to play with the traditional recipe, but seeking fuller flavor from each of its elements, I chose to use dark meat chicken, Gruyere instead of swiss cheese, and proscuitto for the ham. It is so far from a "Cordon Bleu" that I'm calling it a roulade.

Chicken roulade at rest.

From the large natural foods superstore that shall not be named, this meal's groceries, a $12 bottle of wine, salad fixings and $4 for a box of Girl Scouts Thin Mints, cost $41. If I hadn't sulked at home by myself sans husband on a Saturday night, the meal would have fed four if it was a crowd willing to eat Thin Mints for dessert. Leftovers and my self image are in the fridge. 

Prosciutto and Gruyere-stuffed Chicken Roulade

Serves: 4


Equipment: 9" saute pan

Ingredients:
Two large skin-on chicken thigh and drumstick quarters, from fryers
3/4 cup shredded Gruyere cheese, plus 2 Tbsp for sprinkling on top of roulades
5-6 slices domestic proscuitto (Mine was from Iowa, use ham if not available)
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
salt and pepper
one lemon, for squeezing onto finished roulade
Salad fixings
One bottle red wine, your choice
One box Girl Scouts cookies, your choice
One Netflix'ed film

Method:
Pre-heat oven to 375F.

Debone two skin-on thigh and drumstick chicken quarters.  Making a cut around the joint of the bottom of the drumstick, cut completely through the sinew and skin at the bottom of the joint.  Remove the skin from the quarter, and then flip the quarter so the "outside" of the part is face down, meaning you'll likely have a thigh bone facing you.  Making a slit down the entire thigh bone, crossing over the joint and down the drumstick, start de-boning the quarter, working carefully and closely down the insides of each of these bones, making sure to work around the joint and cartilage.  Once de-boned, place onto a cutting board and cover with a piece of cling film.  Pound the fillet to 1/3 to 1/2 inch thickness with an empty wine bottle or a rolling pin. Alternately, have your butcher do this for you.


Place the chicken pieces onto separate pieces of cling film. Lay two strips each of proscuitto onto each piece of chicken.  Sprinkle a heavy 1/3 cup of gruyere cheese on top of this.   Using a piece of cling film to guide you, tightly roll the chicken up, keeping the top piece of cling film separate from the top of the roll. If you have time, Seal them tightly in the cling film and refrigerate for an hour. This will help them keep their shape for rolling in the Panko.  If not, place the chicken rolls on a plate covered with Panko breadcrumbs, salt and pepper the top of the roulades with a pinch of each, roll back and forth to cover with the Panko, sprinkling with more to fill in the gaps and place into a lightly oiled saute pan, and put in the oven, uncovered.

Bake until cooked through (either juices run clear or an instant-read thermometer reads 170F in the middle of the rolls), about 45 minutes. A few minutes before they're done, sprinkle a little Gruyere on the tops, and let brown in the oven for the remaining 3-5 minutes. When done, remove the rolls from the pan to a plate, leave the juices in the pan, and cover loosely with a piece of tin foil to rest.

On the stovetop, deglaze the pan with 1/2 cup red wine, and let reduce on medium, about five minutes. Remove from heat, and thicken with a tablespoon of butter.

To serve, slice rolls on the diagonal, plate, and drizzle with a couple of tablespoons of the pan sauce and serve with a lemon wedge.

Serve with a side salad (arugula, avocado, romaine, sesame-shitake dressing), a bottle of red wine, Girl Scouts Thin Mints cookies and a huge, self-satisfied smile.

Notes: These are powerful flavors coming together, which I love, but it's why I kept the side very light.  Go easy on the salt for this reason, as well.

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