When I was planning my Valentines' meal for this year, I wanted to do something I make a lot at home-- a rolled chicken breast filled with sundried tomatoes, basil, and fontina.
Out of all those, all I had was the chicken breast.
The other ingredients were easy to find, but the tricky business would still be one of the crucial steps-- pounding out the breast with a meat tenderizer so it can be rolled up again into a parcel. That was my stumbling block: how, in a college dormitory, would I make that happen?
Step 1: What You'll Need (but Might Also Have!)
-- a chicken breast. Mine's one that's been filleted, so it's really a third of a breast-- but it'd work just as well with a full.
-- a plastic bag (if you have it, clingfilm works better-- but only if you have it.)
-- something to fill your chicken up with (I used chopped spinach, tomato, basil, oregano, and hot pepper)
-- and a hammer! See that big mallet there, that's mine. You really just need something that serves the purposes of a) wield and b) hit.
-- string. 3 pieces, about 3-4 inches each.
Step 2: POUND.
Put the chicken breast into the plastic bag, and starting from the centre, pound it with the hammer using short blows. I suggest doing this on a counter, a desk or, like me, the floor. (Sorry, downstairs neighbours!) Keep at it until the chicken's about a quarter inch thick, even all the way across.
Step 3: Roll!
Lay down your three bits of string on a plate, about an inch apart, and put the chicken down on top of them. Add some of your filling-- no more than two tablespoons, so this beast doesn't get too thick when you try to roll it!
I don't have pictures of the actual rolling because hey, my fingers were covered in chicken and I didn't want my camera to be as well. But I'll explain.
Tuck in the two short ends towards the middle. Using the string as a bit of an assist, roll the long ends together so that they touch and hopefully overlap; tie your string up niiice and tight around them. Flip so that the "loose" side is on the bottom and season the "flat" side with a little salt and pepper.
Step 4: Cook and Serve!
Fry your chicken pouch in hot oil, about a minute each side, or until the chicken is cooked through. I did mine with some sauteed brussels sprouts and onion and some brown rice; lovely combo.
And to think: you can do ALL THIS with...
THINGS FROM YOUR DORM.
(Oh, if I were a television instruction programme. That is what I'd be called.)