Monday, May 18, 2009

Mexican Chicken Rolls

My mother's recipe. Tender chicken covered in a toasty breaded exterior and filled with melted, spicy cheese. Excellent.
It takes a little more time with the make-your-own breadcrumbs and the pounding and rolling, but it's worth it. My mom suggests making quite a few at once while you're at it since the rolls freeze so well.

Serves 8
2 hr for breadcrumbs + 1.5 hours of pounding/rolling/dredging + overnight freezing + 1.5 hr baking (obviously these take awhile)
- blender or food processor
- Al foil
- 9" x 12" baking dish
- meat tenderizer (or a hammer)
- small saucepan
- 16 toothpicks

3/4 c. fine, dry prepared GF bread crumbs -OR- make your own with 4 slices favorite GF bread (I used Glutino corn-based frozen white sandwich bread and the crumbs turned out very fresh)
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese*
1 tsp. chili powder*
1/2 tsp. cumin*
1/4 tsp. pepper*
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 Tbsp. butter
1 (8 oz.) cube spicy Pepper Jack cheese

*Kraft Parm. cheese is GF (and low in lactose), McCormick spices are GF

Homemade Breadcrumbs:
0. Preheat oven to 180 F.
1. Arrange 4 slices of bread onto a cookie sheet and place in the warm oven for 1 hour.
2. Flip the bread to the other side and return them to the oven for another 40 minutes of drying.
3. Take dried (not burned) bread out of oven and break into pieces with your hands. The bread should be very stiff and you will get crumbs everywhere.
4. Place breadpieces into a blender or food processor and pulse several times until they become fine crumbs. 4 slices should get you around 3/4 cups of crumbs.
5. At this point I just mixed the Parm cheese and spices into the bread crumbs while still in the blender.. saved me from having to wash another bowl. Place spiced crumbs aside and skip to preparing the chicken.
Store-bought Breadcrumbs:
1. Mix prepared breadcumbs with Parmesan cheese, chili powder, cumin and black pepper. Place breadcrumbs aside.
Preparing Chicken:
0. Cover baking dish with aluminum foil (the chicken makes a mess when cooking).
1. Wash the 8 pieces of chicken and remove excess fat. Place 2 pieces of chicken into a heavy duty gallon size freezer bag. Place that bag into another freezer bag (double bag them). Lay the bagged chicken onto a counter and pound to 1/4" inch with a meat tenderizer mallet (or a wide hammer). The breasts will almost double in size. Take the flattened chicken out of the bags and lay onto the baking dish. Continue beating meat, 2 per bag, until all 8 pieces are pounded.
2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Bring the seasoned breadcrumbs over to the same area.
3. Cut the cheese cube crosswise (as opposed to lengthwise) into 8 equal pieces. Place each cheese slice onto the middle of a chicken breast. Start from the short side and roll the chicken breast up around the cheese. Secure the chicken roll tightly with two toothpicks at the seam of the roll.
4. Once all of the chicken is stuffed and secured, dip each roll into the melted butter, covering evenly with oil. Then dredge the chicken in the waiting breadcrumbs. Make sure they're well coated with crumbs (the homemade crumbs were so dry that they easily stuck to the chicken).
5. Arrange the breaded rolls onto the baking dish, cover and freeze until solid. I let mine freeze overnight and cooked them the next day. Alternatively, you could place the rolls into another freezer bag and freeze for up to 6 months.
Cooking the Rolls (the next day):
0. Pre-heat oven to 400 F.
1. Place frozen rolls (arranged on the prepared pan) into the oven, uncovered.
2. Cook for 1 hour, or until the breadcrumbs are golden brown, cheese is bubbling and chicken reaches an inside temp of 175 F. Mine needed 1 hour and 30 minutes.. best to just check at the hour mark and adjust from there. Serve warm with something good, like Rich Asparagus Risotto (pictured) or Spanish Rice.
**CAUTION!! Remind your family and friends about the embedded toothpicks!!!**

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