Servings: 4 servings
1½ cups buttermilk
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 teaspoons rosemary, finely chopped
2 homemade preserved lemons
(or store-bought), drained
1½ teaspoons black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 to 6 chicken thighs (about 1 to 1-1/2 pounds), with skin on
1 tablespoon Kosher salt (or regular salt)
1 teaspoon cayenne powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 teaspoons papaya paste (see tips)
juice of 1 lemon , freshly squeezed
½ cup white wine
2 cups chicken broth
2 teaspoons honey mustard
3 ounces fresh morel mushrooms
4 tablespoons Italian parsley leaves, finely chopped
6 roasted chestnuts (store-bought)
The day before...
Marinating the chicken:
Remove the fat around the bottom of the thigh if there is any. Debone each piece. Wash the chicken thighs and pat them dry using paper towels.
In a blender, combine the buttermilk, papaya paste, baking powder, 1 clove garlic, preserved lemons, rosemary, cayenne pepper and 1 teaspoon salt.
Place the chicken in a large bowl or a sealable zip-top bag. Coat the chicken in the buttermilk mixture. Drizzle with about 1 tablespoon olive oil. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.
Making mushroom and chestnut filling:
Coarsely chop the morel mushrooms and roasted chestnuts and reserve the rest.
In a non-stick pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add 1 clove garlic and shallots. Cook until lightly golden. Add the mushrooms. Toss well for 1 minute. Add parsley and the roasted chestnuts. Turn off the heat and set aside.
Prepping the filling and making the mushroom stuffed chicken roulade:
The next day, pat the meat dry one more time using paper towels.
Transfer one chicken thigh at a time, skin side down, onto a cutting board previously lined with a piece of plastic wrap. Spoon 2-3 teaspoons mushroom mixture evenly over the chicken. Carefully roll up the chicken thigh tightly. . Tie the meat with twine (there are plenty of very informative Youtube videos on that matter) and secure the chicken roll tightly with a knot. Repeat with the remaining chicken thighs. Season the outer surface of each roll with more salt and pepper.
In a large non-stick pan, heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the remaining garlic and cook on high heat until slightly golden.
Cooking the chicken roulade:
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
In a large, heat-proof, non-stick pan, add the rest of the olive oil. Once the oil is hot, pan-sear each side of the rolls for about 1½ minutes (a total of about 9 minutes) until golden. Quickly transfer the chicken rolls to a platter. At this point the chicken isn't cooked completely; it will finish cooking in the sauce.
Making the sauce:
Add white wine and chicken broth to the hot pan, bring to a boil and scrape the caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan using a wooden spoon (called deglazing). Reduce (uncovered) the liquid to about 3-4 tablespoons. Add the honey mustard. Bring to a boil again and cook for about 2 minutes. Lower the heat to low. Adjust seasoning of the sauce with salt and pepper. Return the chicken rolls to the pan.
Place in the oven and bake for 18 minutes. Allow the chicken to rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing.
Transfer the chicken rolls to a cutting board. Snip and discard the twine.
Bring the sauce back to a boil on the stove. If needed, you could thicken the sauce with a bit of Wondra flour or 1 tablespoon butter. Finish with lemon juice. Cover the slices of chicken roulade with sauce. Serve warm.
I served the chicken with steamed greens and roasted red bell pepper cauliflower salad on the side. Serve warm.
You could use other chicken parts but the thighs have small bones, plenty of dark meat and the skin doesn't tear so easily.
Papaya and baking powder are both great meat tenderizers. This was Baji, Lulu's late grandma's, secret for tender and moist meat. Peel a green papaya. Grind the cubed papaya with seeds in a mini food processor, place about 2 teaspoons of papaya paste per slot in an ice-cube tray and freeze them. Transfer the ice-cubes 3 by 3 into sealable plastic bags and place back in the freezer. I think it's the best way to keep the same flavor without getting freezer burn. I store them exactly the same as I would extra pesto.
You can find fire-roasted chestnuts in most Asian markets in the Bay Area.