This is another one of those ‘necessity-as mother-of-invention’ recipes, which all came together when I had chicken breasts, some streaky bacon, and a packet of fresh ready-made stuffing that all needed to be used on the same day. It just all worked so well; the family was enchanted; it was easy to make, and virtually hands free once it went into the oven. I actually tried it out on some old friends who came for dinner, and got the same enthusiastic response. All those people can’t be wrong, can they?
- A roasting tin big enough to hold your chicken breasts
- a sharp filleting knife or similar
- 1 skinless chicken breast per person (This recipe can be expanded to virtually any number)
- 1 packet of thin rashers of streaky bacon (unsmoked) You’ll need 3-4 for each chicken breast.
- 250g or so of stuffing with parsley (either make your own, or use a good ready-made)
- Oil, to drizzle. I use either Olive or Rapeseed oil.
- Drizzle a little oil over the roasting tray.
- Using the sharp knife, make a thin slit along the side of each chicken breast, to make a pocket which will hold the stuffing
- Place 3 or 4 of the rashers side by side and put the chicken breast on top.
- push the stuffing into the slit in the chicken, don’t worry if it spills a bit
- Now pull each rasher of bacon over the top of the chicken to make a neat parcel. Repeat with all the chicken, stuffing and bacon.
- Place each parcel into the roasting tray as it’s finished
- At this stage, you can cover the whole dish with cling film, and refrigerate for up to 12 hours. I think it helps them firm up nicely
- When ready to cook, drizzle liberally with the oil
- Roast in a medium hot oven (about 180 Fan) for 45 minutes or so, baste occasionally. Test the thickest part of the parcel with a skewer, the juices should run clear. The bacon should be browned and crispy.
- Allow to relax for about 10 minutes in a warm place
- Slice each parcel on the diagonal into about 3-4 slices.
- I usually serve my creamy potatoes gratin http://eatingforireland.com/recipe/my-easy-peasy-potato-gratin-or-to-give-it-its-official-title-scalloped-cream-potatoes-with-rosemary-and-garlic/ with this, especially if I haven’t made gravy.
- I like a green vegetable such as French beans with garlicky butter to accompany it.
- I think that the streaky rashers are the best for this recipe – Back bacon is just too ‘meaty’ somehow; the streaky bacon crisps up really nicely too.
- For Dinner parties, I tend to keep the same basic recipe, but to ‘posh-up’ the ingredients, such as using Parma ham instead of bacon, and making my own stuffing, but people like the every-day version anyway.
- I had a few cooked parcels left over recently, and discovered that they make a terrific lunch or picnic dish if allowed to go cold, refrigerated, and then sliced – really tasty.