Paleo Stuffed Chicken Breast with Mince and Prunes

Roasted chicken breast, stuffed with chicken mince, carrot strips and organic prunes is an easier alternative to our favourite Christmas dish – Three Bird Roast, which I make in regular gluten and grain free version, and also in paleo version, making it dairy free, too. For the Three bird roast I use deboned chicken, skinless duck and quail breasts, and chicken thigh mince, mixed with sautéed leek, onions and cabbage. Prunes are placed in the middle of the stuffing. We serve the dish cold, which gives an additional bonus to cook it in advance, and to have Christmas day cooking free.

Three bird roast this year.

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Grain, dairy and cabbage free Three bird roast last year.

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The main contribution to the taste and texture of this wonderful roast comes from the stuffing. Chicken thigh mince with sautéed leek/onion and cabbage has a juicy texture with the gentle, delicately sweet flavour, which is also transferred to the meat itself.

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Our full gluten free Christmas menu this year can be seen here.

When making roasted stuffed chicken breast, the task becomes easier, indeed, but the predominant taste and texture stays. The only difficulty in making stuffed chicken breast is the difficulty to pack  rolled chicken breast, with a very soft stuffing, into roast elastic netting. I took the advice of the butcher and tried to do it with fresh soft ingredients using different approaches, it did not work. Finally, I prepared the dish in a large lined baking loaf pan, froze it (I was going to freeze it anyway, because I was making it ahead), put the netting on the frozen “brick” of meat, defrosted it overnight in the fridge, and roasted as I always do – on a lined with baking paper tray, so all the excessive juices come out of the roast. So often when leek or onion are present in the stuffing, and the meat roll is baked in a loaf tin, swimming in all those juices, the specific taste of boiled onion dominates the whole dish, even if onion used was sautéed, gently fried or caramelised.  So, I never do that, allowing the ingredients in the roast to determine how much liquid it is going to retain. The roast is rested in juices, with the thickest part of breast meat down, until it reaches room temperature. After that the roll is transferred to another dry dish, also lined with baking paper, to make it easier to handle the roast.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 large chicken breasts, skin on
  • 400-500g chicken thigh mince (skinless)
  • 1 leek (or 2 baby leeks)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 egg
  • 1 large carrot
  • 200g (1 package) of organic soft prunes (you can use regular moist prunes, but I had to avoid sulphates, often used as preservatives in regular prunes)
  • 2 table spoons of cold pressed olive oil (1 to saute leek and onion, another for the roast)
  • 1 table spoon of organic coconut oil
  • 2 table spoons of my homemade garlic, sweet and hot peppers preserve (1 for the stuffing, another for the roll), you can use any spice and herb mix you like
  • 1 table spoon cumin powder
  • 2-3 thyme sticks
  • pinch of fennel seeds
  • sea salt and coarse black pepper to taste

Preparation:

  • slice leek and onion in semicircles
  • heat 1 table spoon of olive oil and 1 table spoon of coconut oil in a pan
  • add fennel seeds
  • saute leek and onion until translucent
  • season with salt and pepper
  • rest until room temperature

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  • in a bowl add an egg, garlic and pepper preserve, cumin powder, salt, pepper to chicken mince
  • add sautéed leek and onion
  • mix everything together
  • the stuffing is ready
  • you can use leftovers of the stuffing to make meatballs

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  • wash chicken breasts and dry them on paper towel
  • cut breast in slices of medium thickness, depending on the size of the breast it will be 2 or 3

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If you know and can master to pack soft unfrozen roll into roast netting:

  • line working surface with plastic wrap and baking paper on top of it
  • spread slices of chicken breast on a large sheet of baking paper, use pieces with skin, skin down in the middle, make meat slices to overlap
  • make thin ribbons from the carrot
  • spread them over the meat
  • season with salt, pepper and preserve, you can use herbs as well
  • place mince stuffing in the middle, cover 1/3 of the surface
  • place prunes in the centre of the stuffing
  • cover them with mince stuffing
  • using baking paper roll the meat and stuffing into a roll
  • you can freeze the roll to make it hard and manageable to be used to apply elastic netting

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echickenpruneroast-11After realising that I can’t apply the netting, I have disassembled the roll, separated all the components and did it again, placing chicken meat, the stuffing and covering the stuffing with meat in a lined baking loaf tin.

  • I put the tin with chicken roll into freezer, kept the frozen roll in the freezer for several days
  • the day before roasting, I took the frozen roll and successfully applied the roast netting on it
  • left the roll to defrost in the fridge overnight, it was not fully defrosted in the morning
  • because I always roast for a long time under relatively low temperatures, I was not concerned that the roll was not fully defrosted

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  • as the roll defrosts the elastic netting keeps the roll together, prevents any voids and changes the shape of the roll from square to round
  • line shallow baking dish (but not too shallow) generously with baking paper, leave enough baking paper to wrap the roll fully, before applying aluminium foil
  • spread some olive oil on a baking paper
  • add thyme, garlic and peppers preserve
  • place the roll on baking paper
  • brush the roll with olive oil

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  • wrap the roll in baking paper
  • cover baking dish with aluminium foil
  • roast in preheated to 200C fan forced oven for 1 hour
  • reduce the temperature to 160C, roast for another 1 hour
  • take the foil of
  • open the baking paper and uncover the roll
  • return the roll to the oven and roast until the skin is golden brown
  • turn the roll over and roast until the second surface is golden brown
  • turn the oven off, cover the top of the roast with baking paper and kitchen towel
  • rest until barely warm
  •  take the roll out from the juices, place in another lined container and let it rest until completely cool
  • cover and refrigerate until the next day

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  • cut and remove the netting
  • slice the roll and serve with salads or any side dishes you like
  • the roll can be stored refrigerated for up to 5 days

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