Stuffed chicken breasts wrapped in pancetta

I’ve had variants of this dish over many years, since long before you could buy your ready-stuffed convenience chicken kievs in the supermarket.  This time it arose out of the simple expedient of finding a dish Adam could cook fairly simply but which was moderately interesting for him.  Chicken breasts, pork loin, veal loin, steaks, any lean and robust meat takes well to being stuffed in this way, and recipes so to do have been around forever – kievs apart (stuffed with garlic and herb butter, coated in breadcrumbs, deep fried), cordon bleu (ditto but with ham and cheese stuffing) and so on.

The last time I had chicken wrapped in pancetta, it was not stuffed but sitting atop a crouton covered with goat’s cheese and onion marmalade.  Very tasty, but the stuffed version will do just fine!

The sauce I did with this was simple: crème de cassis and chicken stock, seasoned and reduced to a deliciously sticky, tangy mess!

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 4 chicken breasts, skinless and boneless
  • 4 tbsp cranberry sauce
  • 300g cheese (I’m using a combination of sliced mozzarella and French garlic & herb cream cheese)
  • Slices of pancetta or smoked, streaky bacon
  • Good extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper
Preparation method
  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6, unless you have an Aga – in which case use the bottom of the roasting oven.
  2. Place each chicken breast between two pieces of cling film and, using a meat mallet, bash out the pieces until about 0.5cm/0.25in thick. Remove the cling film.
  3. Spread one tablespoon of cranberry sauce over each chicken breast. Place pieces of cheese in the middle of each chicken breast, season and roll up the chicken to enclose the cheese.
  4. Place six slices of pancetta or bacon, side by side, on top of a piece of cling film. Place one chicken breast on the pancetta slices and use the cling film to tightly wrap pancetta around the chicken. Repeat with the remaining chicken and pancetta slices.  Store in the cling film in the fridge until you’re ready to cook, but do remember to take the cling film off before cooking!!
  5. Place the chicken breasts on a baking tray, drizzle with a little olive oil and cook in the oven for about 20-25 minutes until the cheese is melted.Serve with your favourite potato dish and salad.
  6. If you want a good sauce to go with it, try this one.

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