Rejoice. As soon as December hits I seem to crave meats stuffed with all kinds of goodies, from different varieties of nuts, dried fruits and grains such as barley, to other kinds of meat and spices.
I blame tradition for these cravings, and its formidable ability to make me feel that if I don’t follow suit then all I’ll be receiving come Christmas day is a stocking full of coal.
Lucky for me I happen to love any excuse to play with different combinations of meat and stuffing.
My Chicken Roulade flirts with Spanish flavours – salty sweet jamón iberico ham is wrapped around chicken breast fillets that are bursting with smoky paprika-spiced chorizo and fresh parsley. Baked in the oven and served with a lemony chickpea smash and hot tomato chutney, this recipe is quick to prepare but will be remembered long after the plates have been cleared.
4 x 150g free-range, organic chicken breast fillets
4 x spicy chorizo sausages, casings removed
2 tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
24 thin slices of jamón iberico
2 x cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ cup sundried tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
½ cup flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
¼ cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
Juice of 2 lemons
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ tsp smoked paprika
Hot tomato chutney, to serve
To prepare the chicken breasts, lay the fillets between two pieces of baking paper and use a rolling pin to flatten until about 1.5cm thick. Sprinkle the 2 tbsp of chopped parsley over the flattened breasts, along with a pinch of paprika.
Divide the chorizo sausage meat between the fillets and roll up tightly to enclose.
On a sheet of foil, arrange six jamón slices, slightly overlapping. Place one of the rolls at the bottom edge of the jamón and roll up – using the foil to help – tightly. Repeat with remaining rolls and jamón, the pop into the fridge to firm up for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 180C.
Place the parcels on a baking tray and pop into the oven to cook for 35 minutes.
While the meat is cooking, prepare the chickpeas. Heat some oil in a fry pan over medium high heat. Add the chickpeas and cook for 5-10 minutes, tossing occasionally, until they start to turn golden. Add a splash of sherry vinegar, some salt and pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes. Cook for another 1 minute before removing from heat and transferring to a bowl.
Gently mash the chickpeas, leaving some whole. Add the lemon juice, about 4 tbsp olive oil and the parsley. Mix to combine. Season to taste.
In a small bowl, combine the honey and paprika along with a splash of water. Mix.
Remove the foil and brush the rolls with a little of the honey. Place back into the oven to bake for a further 10 minutes, until the jamón is golden and the meat is cooked through.
Serve with chickpeas and a good quality chutney.