Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Failed Dinner Becomes a 4 Star Lunch

Although I called my chicken roulade a failure, my husband disagreed. Actually, what he said (and I wouldn’t make this up!) as he waltzed into the kitchen while I was cooking was, “You’re amazing!”

Now what cook doesn’t want to hear that?

He was impressed that despite the fact that we’d been out all day, we were still about to enjoy a nice dinner, not just our usual impromptu frittata, all because I’d done some prep work in the morning before we left the house.

And I was pretty pleased with myself, too.  My chicken roulade was going to have a lightened up filling of Neufchatel cheese, spinach, and dried tomatoes spread on a thin layer of ham on top of the chicken breast.  

I’d done everything right – pounded the chicken breasts, made the filling, got my assembly line going, rolled the filled chicken pieces, tied them, spread them on a baking pan. Popped them in the fridge. Ready to go. I also cleaned and prepared broccoli for a simple side.

So when we got home, all I would have to do was roll the breasts in a little seasoned flour, and cook them in a bit of butter and olive oil on the stove while the broccoli steamed. We’d be eating in fifteen minutes.


Something went awry, not dangerously so, just enough to ruin my image of perfectly fanned pinwheels of chicken on the plate. What happened was this: Despite the steps I’d taken, I hadn’t made sure the chicken was evenly pounded, so when I sliced the perfectly browned rolls of chicken, I found pinkness here and there. In too much of a hurry to make sure it was right.

So I had to put them back in the pan and cook them more and in the process they lost their shape, not their taste, just their good looks.

The chicken un-roulade tasted great and I didn’t screw up the broccoli, dressed with a little lemon zest, butter and a sprinkle of red chile pepper. My husband couldn’t say enough good things about the dinner, commenting only that he wished there was more cheese.

And we tasted it all again in the next day’s soup!

All I had to do was chop up the remaining chicken pieces and filling, along with the leftover broccoli, a bit of cooked rice (kept in the freezer for just such soup-making), chicken broth and some green onions for the ta-da finish. The bit of cheese gave the soup just a smidgen of creaminess and all the other bits of red and green flavored bits tumbled together with the chicken, broccoli and rice for a colorful mélange of flavors. I could barely detect the little bit of nutmeg I’d added to the spinach filling giving just a delicate hint of spice.

I could not have planned it better. If I had, I might have given it five stars – and a name.

1 comment:

  1. Sometimes not planning falls into place better. Sounds like you had two really delicious meals.


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