Dear Daibi and Didi,
Hope you two are doing well. I too haven’t been able to write much lately as we attended an Indian wedding here..was awesome to see a traditional wedding in Australia where mostly all rituals were followed to the letter. The wedding reception was very European with tables marked, set menus that were served by waiters, speeches from family and close friends and dancing to a live band!! I felt like a tourist there awestruck with everything coz I have seen such weddings only on TV!! heheeeehe…Then there was Janmashtami. We celebrated it with pooris, potato curry and 6 types of home-made mithais (sweets)…I also learned how to make narkol nadu (coconut laddoo) with packaged dry desiccated coconut from Niloy’s sister who lives in Melbourne too. One has to soak it in milk enough to cover the whole amount for 2-3 hrs and then cook it with sugar/brown sugar/jaggery and some milk powder till it becomes sticky. For the first time I also tried to make the Bengali malpua but instead of putting them in a sugar syrup, I added some sugar in the batter itself…while frying them, I realised how much oil they absorb…out of shock, I turned the malpua batter into pancakes 😛 they tasted the same…next time am thinking I would drop them in sugar syrup and see what happens!! What say??!
Anyways, what I wanted to talk about today was this dish called Chicken Involtini.
I had it a few days back at an Italian restaurant here. Its basically a chicken fillet stuffed with herbs/cheese/sundried-tomatoes or mince meat and rolled. Now the origin of the recipe dates back to the time of French Revolution (around 1789) when a chef named M. Prévost made a cold dish from boned chicken leg, stuffed and sewn back into the skin of the bird, poached in a thick sauce and preserved in natural jelly. It was called Galantine de Poulet (check the link if you want the full recipe) in French and is close to the Roulade, that is made of large beef and pork fillets similarly stuffed and poached. The dish called Chicken Ballotine later evolved where instead of using the skin, the stuffed roll was wrapped in cling foil and poached. Amongst Italians, Braciola or Involtini mean the same thing, except that the meat bundle is wrapped in Prosciutto or bacon slices and then pan-fried. The poaching sauce made of herbs, wine, veggies like celery, mushroom, carrot and leek takes the rolls (in normal language) to another level. There are also some fabulous appetizers that are made of small pieces of cooked meat/fish/prawns/cheese rolled in Prosciutto. When I visited Madrid, I even tried a Spanish Tapa made in the same manner. Whatever the name is, it is delicious and the idea is fairly simple and I reckon could be made easily too…..so here is my version of the dish (made in 45 mins) without the sauce…..
For two involtinis:
1 large Chicken Breat fillet (horizontally sliced into two or as they say, butterflied)
6-8 Basil Leaves
2 medium sized cloves of Garlic
5-8 Green Olives (you could use spinach/paneer/minced meat/mushroom/mozzarella/cheddar/sun-dried tomatoes)
5 blanched and skinned Almonds (replace with walnuts or pistachios or cashew)
Salt and pepper
Parmesan or cheddar to serve
Grind to paste the basil, garlic, olives and nuts. Take a mallet (I took a rolling pin), cover the chicken fillet with plastic sheet/cling foil and beat the hell out it..it should be totally flat..the thinner, the better. Put it on a cling foil and sprinkle salt and freshly ground pepper. Spread the paste evenly on the fillet and roll it tightly by securing the cling foil at the ends. Wrap it once more in a larger piece of foil and place it in boiling water. Cover and cook for 20 mins. Once they are done, take them out and remove the foil. If you don’t have Prosciutto (like me) simply pan fry them to get a slight golden color. Finally sprinkle some parmesan or cheddar on top and serve with mashed potatoes and fried mushrooms/veggies.
Trust me, the aroma was awesome and the chicken was soo delectably soft that I was wishing for more!!! One could even make vegetarian versions of this I think…pan-fried aubergine or zucchini slices stuffed with goat cheese or cheddar or feta or paneer and baked in a casserole dish with a red pepper and tomato sauce!! mmmmm…..just the description is making me salivate…..I think I have to try this soon!!! Meanwhile do try it out and let me know what you guys think of it.
Sending lots of love,