Tuesday 16 February 2010

Recipe - Chicken breast wrapped in Pancetta with Sage

To be honest, I think this is one of the tastiest dishes that I have cooked for a long time.

Normally you run the risk of ending up with a dry chicken breast but not when you cook it this way. The pancetta takes the hit from the heat whilst the chicken breast cooks to perfection and stays moist and nice.

This is definitely a dish I will pull out if I need to cook to impress a bit. As you can see from the picture I served it with gnocchi and green beans the first time I cooked it.

I've cooked it again since the time of that photo and that time I served it with creamy mash and maple syrup glazed baby carrots and a sauce made from deglazing the pan with just water and lemon juice (pour off all the fat first).

I've actually ended up freezing the rolls for a couple of days both times I've cooked this. Just remove it from the freezer the evening before cooking it and let it defrost in the fridge. From that, just follow the recipe.

Give this dish a go, I'm fairly certain that you won't regret it.

Ok, enough singing its praises, it is starting to blush, time to head over to the recipe. I haven't really given any specific measurements, use enough to make each parcel.

Ingredients (per person)
1 skinless chicken breast
Fresh sage leaves
Vegetable oil

Put the pancetta on a cutting board, overlapping slightly lengthwise, until you got a wide enough 'plate' to fit the chicken breast lying horizontally. Space out sage leaves proportionally on the pancetta to taste.

Pop the chicken breast onto the pancetta, season well, and roll the pancetta tightly around the chicken. Now pull out a good lenght of cling film and put the chicken on the short end of it. Start rolling the chicken tightly and then roll it thoroughly until you got a nice and round 'sausage' that is uniformly round. Repeat this for each portion. Refrigerate for at least a couple of hours but preferably over night.

Remove the chicken breasts from the fridge about 30 minutes before cooking. On medium heat, heat some oil in a pan that can house all the chicken breasts comfortable. Remove the cling film and put the chicken rolls in the pan, seam down, and lower the heat to medium low.

Cook for about 20 minutes, turning a quarter every 2 minutes or so. When the time is up, remove the pan from the heat and flip the chicken rolls half a turn. Let it sit for 2 - 3 minutes, flip again and let sit for another 2 - 3 minutes.

Remove from the pan, use some kitchen towel to suck up extra fat and slice the chicken into 2 - 3 cm slices. Arrange on a plate and serve with sides of your choice.



  1. The dish looks very nice and using sage was smart. Great job!

  2. Ed,

    Many thanks for your kind words!

    As for the sage - there's a Swedish saying that goes: Even a blind hen can find a corn now and then. ;)

    // Mike

  3. Swede mate, what you have suffered from here is "fresh food cooks syndrome".

    A lot of cooks say cook with fresh this or leaf that, when the reality is people generally know one maybe two dishes with the use of the fresh gubbins in. So you have to pay the money use what you need and end up throwing the rest away as the fresh stuff will keep for what a week maybe two if lucky?

    So you should do a leftovers menu for the fresh stuff you bought to create them. In this case fresh sage, so if i bought a mit full of sage, I'd use a few leaves in this.... and then tomorrow i could make.....?

    Pete, yep, that one.

  4. Pete,

    I see where you are coming from. I'll see what I can come up with. Maybe do a 'sage week' (or whatever slightly odd/rare ingredient I use) with a bunch of recipes that makes full use of the package of sage you had to buy for the first one. Could that work?

    However, for the 'fresh' herbs I got a good tip already. Freeze the suckers and you can just grab the amount you need for each recipe. Works nice with most herbs actually.

    // Mike

  5. Hi Swedish Mike,

    Quick note to say cheers for this recipe. We Googled chicken & pancetta recipes and came across yours so decided to give it a go when cooking for family last night. It was absolutely delicious! We served it with some homemade oven chips and carrots.

    Nice one,

    Neil, Adelaide, Australia


Please leave a comment. Positive or negative - all comments are welcome and useful. I do enjoy hearing what you think of my posts, what is good and what needs improving so please post away.

// Mike