Saturday, 25 December 2010

Moroccan Quinoa Stuffed Chicken Breast wrapped in Bacon

'Tis the jolly season, but for me, it's when I start missing home and my family. We don't traditionally celebrate Christmas anyway (but wait till Chinese New Year. that's when we go all out with the festive goodies!), but my sister's born on the 25th December, lucky her, so we still have some kind of a family celebration in the form of food. What else is miserable about Christmas is I haven't got a whole party of people at your house, so I don't have an excuse to buy a whole turkey to stuff and roast. Then again, I'm a secret introvert, so I was perfectly contented stuffing a chicken breast instead.

Although I say Moroccan, I've got cured pork, roast bird, cinnamon, ginger, nuts and sweet dried fruit... Merry Christmas!

Moroccan Quinoa Stuffed Chicken Breast wrapped in Bacon
serves 2
2 chicken breasts, skinless
4 slices of bacon (or if you've got deeper pockets, try parma ham or pancetta)
pinch of salt, black pepper
extra virgin olive oil

For the stuffing
2/3 cup cooked quinoa
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp chopped dates
1 tbsp chopped toasted almonds
pinch each of cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger
zest of 1/2 a lemon
1 egg yolk

For the dressing
Equal amounts of
extra virgin olive oil
balsamic vinegar
(a white sauce would be nice usually, but not with the Moroccan-style stuffing; balsamic vinegar adds a bit of sharpness to the dish. plus sweetness. plus it's easier haha)

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
2. Mix the stuffing ingredients together and set aside.
3. Lay the chicken breasts flat on the chopping board, and then cut a slit across the chicken breast through the centre, but don't cut through fully, so you can open it up (i.e. butterfly).
4. Place clingfilm over and pound so you get them flatter and.. wider. It looks like an open book now.
5. Flip over, so now the chicken breasts are on top of the clingfilm. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
6. Place half the stuffing on one side of the "book" for each chicken breast. Roll the other half of the "book" over so you kind of get roll/ wrap?

7. (opt) Chill in the fridge for half hour or even longer to firm up.
8. Remove clingfilm, and wrap 2 slices of bacon around each chicken breast. The bacon helps to hold it in place also.

9. Put into the oven and bake for about 40 min, or till juices run clear.
10. Leave to rest for a while, before cutting up into pretty circles or you can also leave it as it is. Drizzle some evoo and balsamic vinegar over, and garnish with parsley.

The bacon is a must! It helps the lean chicken breast meat stay juicy, and flavour-wise, it adds all the right contrasts. Salty bacon v.s. sweet raisins and spiced quinoa. Crispy bacon and cunchy almonds v.s. tender chicken. Ho ho ho!

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