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Rolled Fillets of Chicken with Pork and Rosemary Filling

March 14, 2010

The library is a great source of cookbooks for me. When I hear of one that sounds interesting, I request it from the library so I can give it a “test run”. I recently checked out Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, by Marcella Hazan. After making her wonderful Roast Chicken with Lemons, I decided I really wanted to add the book to my collection so I could explore it more thoroughly. Bob, who appreciates the results of my cooking adventures, bought the book for me! (Thank you, sweetheart!)

With a half pound of ground pork in my freezer (left from making Classic Meatloaf), I was drawn to Marcella’s recipe for Rolled Fillets of Breast of Chicken with Pork and Rosemary Filling.

It looked simple enough.

Well…I learned that I need more practice in filleting chicken breasts into even pieces. And it took longer than I expected to get the fillets rolled up and toothpicked together. (I promised Bob it would be worth the wait.) The recipe took me about 1¼ hours start to finish; I’m sure I could reduce that time with practice.

Marcella said it would take about a minute, altogether, to cook the chicken rolls. No way! Maybe my fillets were too thick. Maybe my pan wasn’t hot enough. It took 15 – 20 minutes for my fillets to lose their pinkness and reach the USDA approved temperature of 165˚. About 15 minutes for the smaller ones and 20 minutes for the larger ones.

It was definitely worth the wait! It was delicious and it was fun to try something new.

Rolled Fillets of Chicken with Pork and Rosemary Filling

(printable recipe)

(Adapted from Marcella Hazan’s recipe in Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking)

Serves 4 – 6

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

½ pound ground pork



2 teaspoons fresh rosemary leaves, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, filleted*

2 tablespoons butter

Sturdy round toothpicks

½ cup dry white wine

* To fillet a chicken breast, hold it down firmly with the palm of your hand while you slice it in half horizontally with a sharp knife. (Don’t worry if they aren’t perfect. Mine came out uneven. I had a couple of small pieces and 2 large pieces. I cut the large ones in half again so I ended up with 6 pieces of varying sizes. It all worked out in the end.)


1. Peel the garlic and use a heavy knife handle to smash it just a bit.

2. Put the garlic and oil in a large skillet and cook until the garlic is golden. Add the pork, the rosemary, a good sprinkling of salt, and a good grind of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pork is done. (Marcella suggested discarding the garlic, but we found it was a delicious little tidbit to serve with the dinner.)

3. Remove the pork from the pan and put it on a plate.

4. Sprinkle the chicken fillets with salt and pepper. Put the pork on the fillets; spread it out and press it down with the palm of your hand.

5. Roll the fillets up tightly and secure with a toothpick.

6. Turn the oven on Warm and put a plate in the oven to warm for the chicken. (You could put your dinner plates in, too.)

7. Remove as much of the fat as you can from the skillet. Add the butter and heat the skillet over medium-high heat.

8. When the butter has stopped foaming, add the chicken fillets.

9. Cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until the chicken is done and nicely browned all over. An instant read thermometer should read 165˚ when the chicken is done. If your rolls are different sizes, as mine were, the smaller ones will be done sooner than the larger ones. Remove them as they get done to the warm plate in the oven while the larger ones finish cooking.

10. Add the wine to the pan and cook, stirring, for a few minutes until it is well blended and reduced a bit.

11. Remove the toothpicks from the rolled fillets, pour the juice over them and serve.

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