Monday, January 4, 2010

Asparagus & Dry Cured Ham Chicken Roll

I love chicken, I love cured ham, I love asparagus and I love cheese, so why not combine all items, warp them up into a roll and enjoy all my favorites in every single bite?! This recipe is by no means new, it has been around for ages but I think most people use bacon instead of cured ham but I find it too fatty! There are various ways to warp all these ingredients into a roll, some prefer to wrap the bacon on the outside but I want my chicken to become a little golden in colour so inside the cured hams go. Anyhow, here is the recipe, sort of:

  • 3 boneless chicken thighs (I picked skinless as well but you can use with skin for better presentation at the end after the grilling stage)
  • 6 - 8 sticks of asparagus (avg 2 per chicken thigh) - get the long and bigger one
  • 2 extra sticks of asparagus for other uses
  • 3 pieces of dried cured ham (Prosciutto Crudo Stagionato)
  • Garlic Powder and Pepper
  • Finely Shredded Parmesan Cheese (use as much as you like)
  • Approx 20g of butter (diced it up in reasonably sized cubes)
Step 1 - Let's start with the asparagus. Wash them, peel them with a peeler and cut them in half. With the remaining / extra sticks of asparagus, press on the peeler when peeling so to come out with a thin but thick enough sheet as shown in the picture.

Step 2 - Now, pound the chicken thighs for a little while to flatten it as much as possible for easy wrapping later and faster cooking. Then rub the chicken thighs with some garlic powder and pepper (add some salt if you want).

Step 3 - Place the cheese and diced butter on top. Then place the dry cured ham on top followed by the sticks of asparagus. Check out the pictures for the detailed steps from right to left.

Step 4 - Now here is the hard part. Rolling them up! There are many ways, you can roll them up and use a stick to hold them in place or you can use my method (the fridge method) which is to roll them up using Saran wrap (aka plastic warp) and put them into the fridge for about 30 mins. I have to say sticking them together would be easier and faster but I have no wooden or bamboo sticks at home unfortunately. Now preheat your oven at 180C (or sooner if you are using the sticks methods)

Step 5 - If you use the fridge method, you will see that shape of the roll seems to be holding even when you unwrap it. So now place the rolls onto the tray and let it bake at 180C for about 25 mins or until tender.

(Optional) - If you use chicken thigh with skin, at about 20 mins in, you can either turn up the oven to 200C or if available, the Grill function of the oven for the remaining time. The skin would turn golden and very pretty like Mochachocolata's Tom Yum Grilled Chicken Drumsticks! ... Look at the butter melting away from the rolls .... ahhh, the more the merrier! :)

Step 6 - Remember the sheets of asparagus? They are mainly for show, so you can wrap them around the rolls or skip it if you like. Sprinkle some parsley flakes and get some good old cranberry sauce to go with it.

It took WAY longer than I expected but I had fun! The chicken turned out to be a bit too dry perhaps overcooked it. I have a feeling that if the chicken skins were there, they would shield some of the heat and protect the moisture within the meat. Ah well, it was an enjoyable learning process ...


cheeky angel said...

You could try using cocktail sticks or those pointed toothpicks (unused, of but remember to take them out before serving/ eating.

I think you're right about keeping the skin on to keep the moisture in. Perhaps next time and then remove before eating.

Jason said...

@cheeky angel: I think I used a bit too much butter as well, I am feeling very ... buttery right now! lol ... yeah, I am going to de-bone the thighs or drumsticks myself next time for 2 reasons (1) cheaper (2) can get save the skin ... :)

I am thinking of doing a sauce perhaps next time :)

fernando said...


I would put some olive oil over the pieces before putting them in the oven.

Also, if they are dry, you can place a metal container with water in the oven, to keep the humidity up.

Unknown said...

wow~!!! very impressive!
if you like them darker in shorter period of time, before grilling, you can brown the chicken a bit on the pan, dust them with a bit of flour/corn flour and season with salt/pepper. the oven time will be reduced dramatically and will be brown in no time.

Jin said...

i see someone is making good use of the newly acquired oven. keep it up, j! can't wait to read about the others :)


Jason is secretly aiming for that 2011 Michelin Star or two by the End of the Year, I think.. :P Nice Cooking! Is that from one of your newly acquired Recipe books? This dish reminds me of a ballotine!

Jodi said...

Did you butterfly the breast? That will make it less thick and take less time to cook. Plus the asparagus should be blanched first (cook in salted boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes, than plunge in ice water for a cold bath). I also think you should rub the whole breast in oil, rather than putting diced butter in the filling.

If you consider replacing the breast with de-boned thigh, I suppose the result should be better because thigh is less thick. Don't use drumstick though, deboned thigh is easier to roll. Only one problem: deboning a thigh is quite a hassle!

Jason said...

@Rita: oh rite, it took me a while to brown it just a little bit! Let me try to use your method next time. (but that means I need to wash the pan??? an extra item?? lol)

Jason said...

@BABEDOLPHIN: I did not really follow any specific recipe book (soon to purchase I think), I just surf the web and combined a few and took away some steps as usual and make it my own ... lol ...

Jason said...

@Jodi: I did use chicken thighs but I think I baked it for too long. As for the asparagus, I was too lazy to go through the extra steps ... lol ... let me try it next time when I have more time (including de-boning as well) ... lol

Jason said...

@fernando: that is a very good yet simple idea, never thought of that, will give that a try next time (or whenever cooking meat in the oven) ... thanks!!!

Jason said...

@Jin: More is coming ... cooking is fun!

Jodi said...

Terribly sorry that I have not read your article carefully! I guess because I have a similar recipe, and that one is using chicken breast, therefore I immediately assume that it was breast! That recipe, however, is very difficult. The chicken breast is stuffed with asparagus, parmesan, breadcrumbs...etc and is then covered with a salt crust before putting in the oven. In this case, the meat stays tender and juicy. But so complicate!

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