Orzo and spinach wrapped chicken

>> Saturday, January 9, 2010

Daunting was the thought I had when I decided to buy a whole chicken to debone into a full sheet of meat which I pictured delicately wrapped around a delicious filled center.  I brought that chicken home anyway, got out a sharp knife, and proceeded to slowly remove the meat from the bird, tracing around the bone structure.  It wasn't until I got to the back of the bird that I realized I should have started in back and worked to the breast.  The meat was too thin to really pull off in one sheet like I had envisioned so I changed directions and removed the two breasts.  Still wonderful, just not what I had set out to do.  So, I had two nice chicken breasts to work with that I hammered out softly to form two smaller sheets.  What was I filling my bird with? Orzo pasta mixed with fresh spinach, scallions and ricotta cheese.  Yes, that's right, pasta.  Unconventional? Maybe. Delicious? Definitely. 

I cooked my orzo for about 10 minutes. Drained and transfered to a large bowl.  I added in the spinach, scallions and ricotta cheese, then seasoned with oregano, salt and pepper.  This completed the delicious spread for the chicken. 

Simply spread a layer of the orzo over the hammered chicken breasts, and roll like a pinwheel.  With cooking twine, bind the wrap to hold it together while cooking.  Place in a baking pan coated with olive oil, season the top with pepper and oregano, then pop in the oven to bake.

As always, when the chicken is nearing cooked, brush with syrup and continue baking for a few minutes. This ensures a nice golden brown finish that is just perfect. Remove from the oven, cut the twine, and serve with mushrooms or any other side of your liking. Enjoy!


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