Hye Thyme Cafe: Kale and Pancetta Stuffed Chicken with Grape-Nut Coating

Welcome to the Hy
e Thyme Cafe. Although not all of my recipes are Armenian, the name is a little nod to my Armenian grandmother who is no longer with us. The Hye refers to all things related to her homeland, and she represents all things food-related to me, so the two just seemed to go together. I can't even claim that my Armenian recipes are truly Armenian, since Greece, Turkey, Armenia, Lebanon, Syria, and even Egypt share so many foods that they've all sort of morphed into one over thousands of years.

Whether you like to cook, bake, have never done either, or just like to play with your food...come on in and join me! :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Kale and Pancetta Stuffed Chicken with Grape-Nut Coating

Kale and Pancnetta Stuffed Chicken with Grape-Nut Coating : Hye Thyme Cafe

I made a big tray of Grape-Nut Custard last week, which is all well and good, but the problem is always that none of us really eat Grape-Nuts, so what do you do with the rest of the box? It typically sits in the cabinet until we can't stand looking at it any more and get rid of it. Once in a while, I'll sprinkle some on yogurt, but I haven't really branched out from there yet. So when I volunteered to make dinner last night, and saw that there was chicken in the fridge already, my gears started turning.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 oz pancetta
2 t jarred minced garlic with red peppers
7 oz jar fire roasted red peppers
2-3 T Philadelphia Cooking Creme - Italian Cheese and Herb
1/3 c Dijonnaise (or mayo mixed with dijon mustard)
1/4 c grated Parm and/or Romano

Wash your kale, then cut off any large stems and tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces. You will need about 4c of torn leaves. Dice the red peppers, and set both aside for the moment.

Cook the pancetta until just about crispy. It's not done cooking, so it doesn't need to be completely crispy at this point. Drain out most of the grease, but leave a bit for flavor. I just spooned it into the jar the peppers came out of so I could dispose of it without gumming up the pipes.

To the same pan with the pancetta, add the minced garlic, red peppers, and kale, stirring to make sure everything is nicely coated. You can season with a little salt and pepper if you like, but be careful because the pancetta and cheese will already add some sale.

After that cooks for a minute or two, lower the heat and pop a top on the pan until the kale wilts down. Be sure to give it a stir once or twice so the pancetta doesn't stick/burn.

If you're lucky like me, your lovely assistant will volunteer to beat the crap out of your chickens while you're tending to the veggies. I don't mind doing it, but if she's gonna be foolish enough to volunteer to do the gross part, who am I to stop her?!? When we opened the package, we found out our chicken had implants or something, because those babies were HUGE! They didn't pound out as thin as we would have liked, but that's OK.  

Spoon some of the Cooking Creme into a small bowl so you don't end up cross-contaminating the container and having to get rid of the rest. That would be a shame! :(  

In another small bowl, add some of your Dijonnaise. I really like that on sandwiches, so I was going to buy a bottle, but they didn't have any, so I just mixed mayo with a little dijon.

In a third bowl, this one big enough to accommodate your chicken once it's rolled, pour some Grape-Nuts and mix with the grated cheese.

Spread a little of the Cooking Creme on your chicken, then top with 1/4 of the kale mixture, and roll. You can secure the bundles with twine, silicon cooking ties, or toothpicks if you want. I didn't bother, and they all held together just fine. One leaked a tiny bit, but not much at all.

Slather the rolls with the Dijonnaise, then roll them in the Grape-Nut mixture to coat.

Lightly spray your baking dish with cooking spray, then line up your chicken rolls and bake at 350 for 30-40" until cooked through.

My biggest fear in using the Grape-Nuts was that they would turn into rocks while baking. That's why I opted for the Dijonnaise coating. I was hoping that would be enough moisture to soften them up a bit. While they were baking, I started second-guessing myself, so I grabbed a water spray bottle and misted them toward the end. It turned out great!  They were crispy, without being crunchy to the point where you felt like you were chewing on gravel. I had thought about pulsing them in the coffee grinder, but I decided that would be "cheating" since you could have been using anything if I had done that. That's no fun - gotta try something new!

What I like about a dish like this is the layering of flavors and textures. And look how juicy and tender the chicken stayed ...

Kale and Pancnetta Stuffed Chicken with Grape-Nut Coating : Hye Thyme Cafe



  1. I love the sound of that stuffing for the chicken! And definitely a great way to use up those grape nuts!

  2. Thanks. I love kale and pancetta, but the peppers and cooking creme definitely came through too. :)

  3. Wonderful recipe, very creative use of kale.

  4. I never had kale until a year or two ago, but now I love it! In soups, with pasta, as chips, you name it. :)


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