This was a recipe full of firsts for me. My first time to use fresh mint. My first time to use shallots. My first time to make pesto. My first time to pound chicken with a meat hammer. My first time to use one of my Christmas presents. Unfortunately, all these firsts made for some ugly chicken. Oh well. Here’s the recipe.
First, here’s my mise en place. The ingredients, at least. The cooking utensils are elsewhere. As you probably can’t tell from the picture, I couldn’t find any pecorino cheese, so I substituted romano. I had no idea how much mint I would get out of these store-bought packages; I only ended up needing one package for the pesto. Looks like we’ll be having mojitos later this week!
So I needed to measure out 1 ounce of blanched almonds (couldn’t find whole, so I had to go with slivered). To do this I got to use an awesome Christmas present from my sister Melissa! This measuring cup has digital readout that measures weight and temperature, as well as having the markings to measure volume. The cup detaches from the handle for easy cleaning!
This is Adam trying to make sure that I had exactly 1 ounce of almonds.
He started breaking an almond into pieces to get it exactly right. He might have been able to get it perfect, but I chased him out of my kitchen.
Toast up your almonds for about 6 minutes over medium heat, until they’re golden and fragrant.
This is a shallot. They’ve never carried these at my local grocery store that I’ve found, but they just happened to have them the one time I needed it for a recipe. I chopped it much like I would an onion.
Throw the almonds and the shallots into your food processor until it becomes a coarse paste. I broke my food processor a few weeks back so I used the chopper attachment on the new immersion blender that Adam got me for Christmas!
Here’s the coarse paste.
Add your mint, cheese, and olive oil and pulse it a bit in the food processor. Mine doesn’t look exactly right; probably because I didn’t use a real food processor.
Put your chicken breasts one at a time between two pieces of plastic wrap. Then take them out of the plastic wrap when you realize that you forgot to trim them. Trim them, then put them back. Pound them flat, about 1/4 to 1/8 inch thick. Then sprinkly both sides with salt and pepper.
As you can probably tell (though I couldn’t at the time) I didn’t really get my chicken pounded flat enough. You really need to pound it very thin, or else your roulade will become a chicken pita instead.
Spread your pesto on the chicken. Roll it and secure with skewers. Make certain that the skewers are somewhat short, as it will make browning your chicken easier.
See how the skewers really stick out? I chopped them shorter with my kitchen shears after I took this picture. Brown the chicken on all sides on medium heat.
After you’ve browned them, reduce the heat to medium low and cook about 20-25 more minutes, or until the chicken is done through.
Remove the chicken from the pan and slice each breast into about 5 slices. Notice how my chicken doesn’t really look like a roulade? That’s because I didn’t pound it thin enough!
I really did not care for the taste of this recipe. I think that pesto should really be made with basil. The mint tasted too cold to me, and so I didn’t think it went well with the chicken. Adam liked it though, so don’t be scared by my picky palate.