Monday, November 14, 2011

Stuffed Whole Chicken Breast Roast

Once again, I’m trying to empty the freezer but this time I am actually making the dish I had in mind when I bought the chicken breasts.  It’s not often you find whole, by which I mean still attached to each other, boneless breasts, so when I saw these two, I scooped them up.  

I imagined them together, one on top, one on bottom with the stuffing in between, roasted so that the skin on the top and skin on the bottom of both turned a crispy, crunchy caramelized auburn.   When it comes to food, I have a very vivid imagination.

This summer I bought an entire roll of butchers’ roast netting and this seemed like a great opportunity to put it to good use.   I am a little older and wiser now though, so I figured out that I need a tube of some sort to wrap the netting around and then push the roast through.  If we could have filmed my mother and me this summer, struggling with an overstuffed pork roast and that netting, it would have been a YouTube sensation, titled Women Stuffing the Baby Back In, because that is what it looked like.  And the netting was just as unwilling as any new mother. Mercifully, we were home alone so no one caught us in the act.

2 whole boneless chicken breasts, still attached to each other – so four breasts in two pieces – a little more than a pound each – ask your butcher!
20g or 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
4 medium baby Portabella or Swiss Brown mushrooms
160g or almost 6oz frozen spinach, thawed
1 medium yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 medium tomato
1/4 cup or 35-40g couscous – medium grain
1 egg
180g or 6.25oz ground or minced pork
Sea salt
Black pepper
Olive oil
Butchers’ netting or baking string

Chop up your tomato, onion, garlic and mushrooms.

Melt the butter in a skillet and sauté the vegetables until they are soft.


Add a drizzle of olive oil, a couple of generous pinches of salt and a couple of good grinds of black pepper.  And then add the spinach.  Mix well.

Make a bowl out of your mixture and put in the couscous.  Add a 1/2 cup of boiling water to the couscous.  Don’t stress if your “bowl” breaks open.  Cover the pot with a lid and turn the heat off.   Let it rest for about 10 minutes.

Pour the stuffing into a large bowl and stir it around until it cools.  Add the egg and the ground pork.  Add a couple of more pinches of salt and grinds of black pepper. Mix well.

Meanwhile, pre-heat your oven to 400°F or 200°C.

Clean the fat off of your chicken breasts and then careful cut them from the middle almost to the outside with a sharp knife, horizontally.   Open the flap to flatten the breast.  Do this to the other side and then the other whole breast.

Put one double breast skin side down and pile the stuffing on top of it.  Use your judgment, if it looks like too much stuffing, just don’t put quite all on.  (Leftover stuffing can be fried up – remember you have raw egg and pork in there – and eaten with a spoon.  Delicious!)

Put the other double breast on top the opposite direction.    If you imagine the breasts as hearts – although I realize they aren’t so heart-like since you spread them out, work with me here – then the pointy end will be skin up on the wide end of the bottom heart.

Here comes the tricky part.  If you have string, here are some instructions.  If you are using the netting, cut the bottom half off of a  very large plastic cup.   Put the netting on the cup like you would a tight sock, leaving one end open and on end with netting hanging off. 

Start stuffing the roast in one end and gradually pull the netting over the roast as it comes out the other.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to take photos and do this as well.  I really need a staff photographer for shots like that. 

Poke any stuffing back in and try to straighten the skin out under the netting. 

Drizzle the roast with olive oil and pop in it the pre-heated oven.  Roast for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375°F or 190°C.  Roast for 15 minutes more and then turn it over.

After half an hour in the oven.

The bottom after I turned it over. 
Roast for 1 hour and then check the internal temperature.  180°F or 82°C is done for poultry.   If your temperature is at least 170°F or 77°C, you can leave it out to rest.  It will reach the correct temperature on its own.  If it is more than 10°F under, pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes and then test again.

Carefully cut the netting or string with scissors and gently lift it off.

After about 5-10 minutes of resting time, carve the roast into nice slices.   If gravy is your thing, make some with the pan juices.  You know I did. 



  1. Stacy, you make me smile. I love your passion and expertise. I think you should sell your netting idea to Ikea KL. I am hoping to experience you picking out your tree this year. Be assured I will be trying out this lovely recipe.

  2. I have been sitting here, daydreaming about some thin pvc pipe that can be expanded to fit different size roasts. Ikea could mass produce them. :) Tree shopping, ho!

  3. I will try this since we always buy 'blancs de poulet', the stuffing looks delish, and there is some string in a drawar that I need to use up!


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