Tapenade Stuffed Chicken Wrapped in Bacon
Serves 4 people
4 large boneless chicken breasts, about 2 pounds
1 – 6 ounce can black olives, pitted
1 – 2 ounce can anchovies fillets
4 large garlic cloves, peeled
2 TBSPs. Dijon mustard
2 TBSPs. red or white wine
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp. dried thyme or 1 TBSP. fresh
½ tsp. ground black pepper
5 TBSPs. olive oil
1 – 16 ounce package thick slices bacon
Line a baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil. Place a wire cooling rack on the baking sheet.
Preheat oven at 400°F.
Wash chicken breasts under cold running water. Pat dry with paper towels.
Pound chicken one piece at time using a rubber mallet.
Cover your chopping board with plastic wrap. Place one chicken breast over the plastic wrap. Cut another piece of plastic wrap to cover the chicken breast. Pound chicken with a rubber mallet until flattened to ½ inch thick. Be careful not to pound too hard or the meat will tear. Continue pounding the remaining chicken breasts.
Combine the following and season chicken breasts on both sides:
> 1½ tsps. kosher salt
> ½ tsp. ground black pepper
> ¼ tsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
Place black olives, anchovies, peeled garlic, Dijon mustard, wine, lemon juice, thyme, ground black pepper and olive oil in a blender. Blend until smooth.
Scope heaping tablespoon of the pureed ingredients and spread over each pounded chicken breast. Roll chicken and wrap each one with 1 or 2 slices of bacon.
NOTE: To avoid contaminating the pureed ingredients (tapenade), please use 2 separate spoons, one for scooping out of the blender and another to spread the pureed ingredient’s on the chicken. The unused tapenade can be used as a spread on crusty Italian or French breads and served with the chicken.
Place chicken on the aluminum lined baking sheet, on the wire cooling rack.
Bake chicken in a preheated oven at 400°F for 30 minutes. Flip the chicken and bake for another 15 minutes. Keep an eye on the bacon. Make sure it is not getting burnt. If the bacon is not crispy at the end of baking time, turn on the broiler and broil chicken to crisp up the bacon for 2 or 3 minutes on each side.
Slice chicken and serve with your favorite vegetables or over garden salad.
Tess’ Kitchen Secrets:
1. If you do not have a wire cooling rack, you may use a broiler pan, or you can crumple (lengthwise) 4 or 5 sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil, same length as your baking sheet, and use these as racks for the chicken. The goal is to elevate the chicken so they won’t sit on any liquid or bacon drippings.
2. Place a kitchen towel under the chopping board to minimize noise while pounding and keep the board stable.
3. If you do not have a rubber mallet, you can also use a rolling pin or a heavy bottle that won’t easily break. However, you can purchase a rubber mallet at Home Depot or Lowe’s for less than $6.
4. Refrigerate the unused/uncontaminated tapenade in tightly covered container. Use as suggested above.
5. To take this chicken to another level, line a thin slice of feta cheese over the tapenade before rolling the chicken.