Fresh spinach, roasted red capsicum, ricotta and a touch of Parmesan together make a fantastic filling for tender chicken roulades. Braised in stock and vermouth and served with asparagus, this makes an elegant, attractive dish.
600 g chicken breast fillets
150 g spinach leaves
1 small red capsicum, seeded and quartered
150 g reduced-fat ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
pepper to taste
150 ml dry vermouth
150 ml reduced-salt chicken stock
4 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
250 g thin asparagus spears to serve
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Roll out the chicken fillets with a rolling pin into rough squares about 5 mm thick. Set aside.
Place the spinach in a large pan, with just the water remaining from washing. Cover and cook for 2 minutes or until wilted. Drain well, squeezing out all the excess liquid, then chop the spinach finely and place in a large bowl.
Preheat the grill. Grill the red capsicum quarters, skin side up, for 6 minutes or until the skin is charred. Transfer to a plastic bag and seal. When cool enough to handle, peel and dice.
Add the red capsicum to the spinach together with the ricotta, egg, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, basil and nutmeg. Season with pepper. Mix well. Divide the filling among the chicken slices, spreading it over them evenly. Roll up each one, folding in the sides to enclose the filling, and secure with wooden cocktail sticks or skewers. Place the roulades in a frying pan and pour over the vermouth and stock. Cover and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove the roulades from the pan and keep hot. Bring the liquid back to the boil and boil until reduced. Stir in the sour cream and boil for a further 1–2 minutes or until thickened.
While the liquid is reducing, cook the asparagus spears in boiling water for 2–3 minutes or until just tender. Drain, refresh with cold water and keep warm.
Remove and discard the cocktail sticks from the chicken roulades, then cut into neat slices. Serve garnished with the asparagus spears and with the sauce drizzled round.
Asparagus is a rich source of many of the B vitamins, especially folate. New research suggests that folate may have a role in helping to protect against heart disease.