Bacon Wrapped Stuffed Chicken with Fennel, Onion, and Rosemary
I know what you’re thinking. As soon as I start throwing around fancy words like “fennel” and “rosemary,” you think to yourself – no way can I make this dish, and what the heck is fennel ANYWAY? Well, friend, I have this to say to you: Yes, you sure can make this (and will, again and again), and fennel is something I was introduced to via my weekly vegetable co-op. One week, I received a rather odd-looking plant-bulb-alien-baby with celery for hair. After doing a quick bit of research, I found that fennel is AWESOME, and now I use it in tons of stuff. Like this chicken dish I’m about to share with you. Ok, but I was serious about the alien baby thing:
Celery hair? Alien baby? No?
HOW ABOUT NOW? Yeah. I told you. Trust me next time. The best part of fennel is the ready availability in your grocer’s produce section! Where were we? Oh yeah, I was sharing a super easy recipe with you! Without further ado, here you go, my lovelies.
6 chicken breasts
1 8oz Neufchatel (or cream cheese)
1/2 cup fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/2 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp fresh rosemary, diced fine (or 1/2 tsp dried)
18 slices raw bacon
1. Begin by placing the onion and fennel in a pan with 1 tbsp of water over med-low heat, for about 5 minutes. You want a slight caramelization – stir frequently to avoid burning. When done, add to room temperature Neufchatel & stir until incorporated. Set aside.
2. Pound chicken breasts to appx 1/2 inch thickness. Honestly, I can never get them quite that thin – just do your best estimation.
3. Spread appx 2 tbsp of Neufchatel mixture on pounded chicken, then roll the chicken breast right up.
4. Lay 3 pieces of raw bacon out, and place chicken roll at the very end. Roll again, wrapping the bacon around the chicken.
5. Place rolls into a greased pan (I use bacon fat, which I always keep in a jar in the fridge – you can use olive or vegetable oil, too), making sure the “seam” of the bacon is on the bottom. This keeps it from unrolling while it cooks.
6. Sprinkle with salt & pepper (to taste). Bake in a 400F oven for 50 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 180F.
7. Remove from oven and cover pan tightly with tin foil. Let chicken rest for 5 minutes, then serve.
The beauty of this recipe is in the versatility. When you start with the basics – the chicken and Neufchatel – you can add any herbs & spices that strike your fancy. My family requests variations on this recipe frequently, and I’ve made many combinations. Total prep time is about 15 minutes, which is a win in my busy life. Until next month – thanks for reading!