Ingredients for Roll:
6 Chicken breasts (skinless)
18 Rashers streaky bacon (or smoked)
NB: If you are Gluten intolerant then substitute Couscous with Quinoa which works as an excellent alternative.
Ingredients for Stuffing:
175ml Chicken stock (hot)
2tbsp Olive oil
1 Onion (finely chopped)
2-3 Garlic cloves (finally chopped)
100g Pine nuts or Walnuts
140g Apricots (sliced roughly)
1 Lemon (zest & juice)
1 Medium egg (beaten)
The easy part is making the stuffing, in a large mixing bowl, place the couscous and then pour the stock over it, stir briefly, then either cover with cling film or simply place a large plate over the top of it. Leave for 5-10mins so that all the stock is absorbed, taste and double check that it's cooked through and not too dry. If necessary add a little more water as all couscous is slightly different.
Now put a frying pan on and dry-fry the pine nuts or walnuts for 5mins or until they are golden. Nuts are notorious for burning quickly, so keep shoggling and keep an eye on them. Once golden, remove and pop in a bowl. In the same frying pan, pour in a tablespoon of oil and gently cook the onions and garlic over a medium heat until they are soft. Whilst the onions are cooking, take the opportunity to slice the apricots and add to the pine nuts, along with the zest of the lemon. Once the onions are ready, combine the pine nuts, apricots, lemon zest and onions with the couscous and pour in the lemon juice. Combine well and then set aside to cool.
Next lay out a long piece of kitchen roll and place two or three pieces of the trimmed chicken on it. Make some cuts across the very thick breast end, then either fold in the ends over the chicken or lay another piece of cling film over the breasts. Then get the rolling pin (or a meat hammer) and bash the chicken until it's about 1cm thick. Repeat the process until all the chicken breasts have been thinned, moving them to a plate on the side as you go.
Once the chicken is done, it's time to pull out a long piece of kitchen foil and lay it on the counter. Then cut off and discard the rind from the bacon, then start to using your hands gently stretch each rasher so that it's about 0.5 per cent bigger than the original length. Lay each stretched rasher out to form a rectangle, overlapping the rashers to make sure there are no gaps. Then lay the thinned chicken over the top of the bacon, cut the slices so that they fit and there are no gaps at all. Make sure you have a boarder on the short sides of the rectangle, as this helps when rolling up the chicken.
Take your couscous mixture and spoon a long strip onto the chicken down one of the short sides, then pick up the foil and start to roll. Flip over the ends of the bacon whilst you roll as this helps to keep the stuffing in place, then roll tightly so that the bacon wrapped chicken looks like a log. Fold in the sides of the foil and then wrap in a second sheet of foil.
Pop the Rolled Chicken in it's foil into the fridge to set for 1 hour minimum but if you can leave for 2-4hours, it's going to be a lot better as the roll will set and is less likely to 'give' or 'unwrap' whilst cooking.
When ready to cook, heat the oven to 180c/gas 4 and place the chicken, join-side down, in a roasting tray and cook for 30mins. Take out of the oven, carefully unwrap and then pop back in the oven for a further 30-40mins until the bacon is lovely and crispy.
Either let it cool and then wrap in greaseproof paper ready for your picnic or serve it hot with some chicken gravy and lovely al-dente greens. Left overs are a super work or family lunch and are perfect with a green salad if the weather is still warm.