CHICKEN AND TARRAGON ROULADE
Jekka's Herb Cookbook
by Jekka McVicar
The first time I cooked this recipe from my Aunt Anthea, I was serving a cold lunch to the Fruit, Vegetable and Herb Committee of the Royal Horticultural Society; I had been told 18 were coming but 26 turned up. This amazing roulade managed to stretch magnificently.
The French tarragon makes this dish; the anise flavor combines well with the cream cheese and chicken, which is then offset by the smoked bacon. A great combination. Serve with a fresh, crisp green salad and new potatoes covered in mint.
• 6 boneless chicken breasts
• 10 slices smoked bacon
• 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp (200 ml) cream cheese
• 1 tbsp (15 ml) French tarragon leaves, finely chopped
• 1 Ib (500 g) spinach, cooked and well drained
Preheat the oven to 325°F (170°C).
Place a large rectangle of plastic wrap on a board and cover with the chicken breasts, their thicker bits opened out. Don't overlap them and don't worry if there are small gaps. Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap and bash with a wooden kitchen hammer or a rolling pin.
Take off the top layer of plastic wrap and cover the chicken breasts with the slices of bacon, laying them up and down, not across. On top of the bacon spread a moderate layer of cream cheese, then sprinkle on the tarragon leaves. Finally add a layer of spinach, having squeezed out any excess water.
Then comes the fiddly bit. Lightly oil a baking sheet and put it in front of the board. Take the far edge of the plastic wrap and roll the chicken toward you like a jelly roll, removing the plastic as you go. Roll the chicken straight onto the baking sheet. Cover the roulade loosely with foil just across the top and slightly down the sides, but not so it is airtight. Place in the oven for 50 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Once cool, cover with clean foil and place in the fridge for 1 hour prior to serving. Serve cold, cut into thin slices.