|Our maternal grandmother Maxine as a very young girl in the foreground on the far left standing
in front of our great grandmother Maude. She is standing beside her sister who has the big white
bow in her hair... our Aunt Dodie. Our great grandfather Daniel Rhea Igo stands behind Dodie.
The group is celebrating the wedding of Ben Igo, our great grandfathers's brother.
When preparing this dish for a catering gig, I would serve freshly baked and sliced
Orange Wheat and Nut Bread to go with the meal. The quick bread is also a gem discovered from the Camellia Luncheon recipe cards. It pairs beautifully with the roulade. A few years later, I began baking the bread for the Los Olivos Grand Hotel where I worked as the pastry chef. Guests clamored to buy loaves of the bread after trying it in the baskets that accompanied their meals. In those days the recipe was a carefully guarded secret. In fact, many of our recipes that we share in our posts were once shared just among we sisters. For years we have planned to write a cookbook together, and many of my recipes were professional secrets, helping to keep me gainfully employed until I was able to retire from the restaurant/catering scene. You can read about the creation of Salvation Sisters by clicking here. I like to read our sister's story again from time to time, because it never fails to remind and inspire me. We sisters weather dark times and tragedy by sticking together and supporting one another.
Chicken Roulade with Sweet and Spicy Orange Sauce
Photos and Recipe Introduction by Michelle
Just after Jay and I became engaged, I invited my future in-laws over to my apartment for dinner. I slaved over the details, wanting the evening to be perfect. After consulting on a prospective menu with Linda, I ultimately chose to serve this recipe because it looks beautiful and tastes great. The dish looks restaurant-worthy when served. There is a wow appeal when the plated food is set in front of each guest. It is true that people taste first with their eyes. Then the taste buds kick in after the first bite. Beyond tasting great, the final deciding factor was that I could make the main course ahead of time whereby keeping my attention focused on my fiancé's parents and not on developments in the kitchen.
At the end of dinner, Jay's dad gave his smiling mouth one final swoop with a napkin then declared, adopting an authoritative tone, "Son, you're going to get fat." He meant it as a compliment and there was a round of genuine laughter at the table. That declaration became a family joke. When a dinner is particularly good, Jay or I will mimic his dad's booming voice and blurt "the prediction", even though it never came to pass, which I suppose, is what keeps the joke humorous. Jay's as fit now as he has ever been.
The original recipe calls for make the dressing with saltine crackers and canned mushrooms. Last year for Christmas I decided to make bread crumbs and cook fresh mushrooms to update the recipe. If you want to go retro style, simply blitz together in a food processor: one medium yellow onion, 16-ounces canned mushrooms (drained), 2 cups saltine crackers and 2 teaspoons tarragon (or the thyme and rosemary called for below).
My favorite starch to serve with the roulade is Risotto Milanese, made with white wine and roasted mushrooms. In the fall, I like to add roasted butternut squash in with the mushrooms. Alternatively, you can sauté and caramelize the mushrooms as a tasty vegetable side dish. When in season, asparagus tastes great and adds beautiful color to the plate. Simply prepared carrots are also a nice addition. Sometimes, like last night, I went crazy and prepared all three to serve with the chicken.
I made my own bread crumbs from a sourdough loaf weighing 1-3/4 pounds which yielded 5 cups of prepared bread crumbs. Leftover breadcrumbs store well in the freezer and come in handy for all sorts of dishes including Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes and Crab Cakes.
My sources in Tucson for both Gruyère cheese and prosciutto are Whole Foods Market or Costco.
|Making homemade bread crumbs is easy. (P.S. This is a sourdough
loaf that I made... so proud of myself!)
4 cups bread crumbs
24-oz button, crimini or baby portabella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1/4 cup minced shallots
1 to 2 Tbsps olive oil
5 Tbsps Tamari or soy sauce
3 Tbsps brandy
2 tsps freshly minced rosemary leaves
2 tsps fresh thyme leaves
freshly ground black pepper to taste
Sweet and Spicy Orange Sauce, for 12 servings:
1/4 cup minced shallot
1/2 tsp chili flakes
4 Tbsps butter
the zest and juice of 4 navel oranges, plus enough additional orange juice to make 3 cups total
1 cup brown sugar, packed
2-1/2 tsps nutmeg
3/4 tsp sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsps cornstarch combined with 2 Tbsps water
the juice of one freshly squeezed lemon
For the chicken:
12 boneless chicken breasts, pounded thin
12-ounces thinly sliced prosciutto or 12 slices honey cured ham
12 slices Gruyère cheese
3 Tbsps melted butter
toasted sliced almonds
a mallet to flatten the chicken. If you don't have a mallet, use a rolling pin (or ask your butcher)
a food processor - handy, but not absolutely necessary
|Crumbled thyme on the left and minced rosemary on the right.
|I was out of ground nutmeg, so I quickly grated whole nutmeg on a rasp grater.
1. For the dressing: I prefer to use homemade bread crumbs rendered from a sourdough boule or batard. If sourdough is too strong for your taste, choose an artisan-style country or French loaf. Slice the bread into 1-inch cubes, removing the crust if it is too crusty. If you are using day old bread that has been stored in plastic the crust will be soft and will not need to be removed. In the desert, I let the bread sit out on a cookie sheet until dry. In more humid climates, the bread can be dehydrated in the oven at a low temperature, say 300°F for about 30 to 40 minutes, tossing the cubes every so often. Once the cubes are dry, remove from the oven and let cool. Transfer the cubes in batches to a food processor and whirl until the cubes become crumbs. Any leftover bread crumbs will freeze well in an airtight container.
|Peeled shallots can easily be minced in the food processor.
|...to cooked. (Reminds me of the excellent Fine Young Cannibals album from 1989
that I listen to time and again.)
3. In a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the mushrooms (and all the liquid) and bread crumbs. Using on-off pulses, combine the mushrooms and the bread crumbs to a stuffing consistency. The dressing should be very moist (add water or chicken broth, if needed, until the stuffing holds together). The stuffing can be made a day in advance (store covered in the refrigerator).
|Two medium navel oranges yielded one tablespoon of grated zest.
|The prepared Sweet and Spicy Orange Sauce cooling in a bowl.
I like to make the sauce a day in advance.
|The chicken breasts are ready to roll into cylinders.
|Grandma's mallet is still put to good use.
6. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for about 50 minutes. Half way through baking, baste the tops of the chicken with melted butter. Return to the oven, covered, and continue to bake until done.
7. While the chicken is baking, gently reheat the spicy orange sauce. To serve, place one-half or whole chicken breast on a plate, spoon over spicy orange sauce to cover, sprinkle with parsley and toasted sliced almonds.
P.S. For the featured photos, I sliced cold, leftover chicken roulades into thick slices. Oven-friendly dishes were sprayed with olive oil and coated with leftover spicy orange sauce. The slices of stuffed chicken were layered in each dish and then topped with additional orange sauce. Place the prepared dishes on a cookie sheet, loosely top with aluminum foil, then transfer to a cold oven. Turn on the oven to 350°F and reheat for about 30 minutes. Your nose will begin to recognize when the chicken is heated through because the kitchen will smell like dinner is about to be served!