Roulade of Chicken with Rosemary (or Sage) and Pancetta

All Year

Roulade sounds terribly old-fashioned. And if not old-fashioned it will probably make you think of meat in a net, seasoned with something like ‘chicken herbs and spices’. Yuk! You have two options: ask your butcher to make one for you or the much-preferred option: Do It Yourself.
The key to a roulade is to buy smaller bits of meat. In this case we used 4 chicken thighs. This is the very tasty, boneless half of a chicken leg. To create a roulade you need fairly thin slices of meat that will be the outside of the roulade. For the inner part of the roulade you can use smaller, chunkier bits. Take your time to solve the puzzle. It may seem easier to buy one thin slice of meat and simply roll it up, and that could work very well with beef, but building a roulade with smaller bits of pork, veal or chicken is very rewarding. Use plenty of kitchen string to make the roulade.
But why make a roulade in the first place? Actually there is a number of reasons. First of all by turning the smaller bits of meat into one piece, the end result will be much juicier. Second reason is that slicing a roulade is something special which will create a positive feeling about the dish. Making a roulade also allows you to combine various ingredients which would be more difficult if you would do this per smaller bit. And finally a roulade will allow you to slow down the cooking process if so required without losing out on quality.

After having tied the last knot, leave the roulade in the refrigerator for a few hours. This will help the roulade to become firm, which is helpful when frying it. It will also help the flavors to integrate.
As an alternative you can use sage. It just depends on your mood…

Here is what you need:

  • 300 grams of Chicken Thigh
  • 3 sprigs of Rosemary
  • 2 slices of Pancetta
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil
  • Thyme
  • Chicken stock
  • Cream

When you’ve solved the puzzle, simply add two slices of pancetta and the two sprigs of rosemary. Tie the roulade together with the kitchen string. Cool for a few hours in the refrigerator. Heat some butter and olive oil in a skillet. Fry the roulade making sure you fry the seam first. A few minutes should be sufficient. Transfer the roulade to the oven, let’s say 160 °C. A higher temperature will shorten the cooking time and enhance the color, but you risk an overdone roulade. That’s why we prefer 160 °C or lower. When your roulade is bigger, feel free to turn it every 10 minutes.
Remove the roulade when the temperature in the centre is 70 °C. Wrap in foil and leave to rest for at least 15 minutes.
Start building the sauce by adding chicken stock, the third sprig of rosemary (leaves only) and some thyme. Cook gently for 5 – 10 minutes. Use a blender to make a smooth mixture and pass through a sieve. Transfer back to the skillet and add some cream. Remember to add the juices of the roulade as well. The juices should be clear. If not, the roulade needs to rest longer.
When the sauce is ready to be served, transfer the roulade from the foil, carefully remove the string and slice the roulade with a very sharp kitchen knife. Serve with the sauce on a hot plate.

We enjoyed our Roulade with a glass of excellent Austrian Zweigelt. This red wine is fruity and elegant which combines really well with the powerful rosemary and the full-bodied chicken roulade.