Chicken Rolls

This particular version rewards you with bacon and melted cheese

By Katie Workman
This October 2014 photo shows bacon, sage and provolone chicken rolls with marsala sauce on display in New York. Rolled chicken breasts may look fancy but they’re easy to make with a bit of patience. (Todd Coleman via AP)

A rolled chicken breast may look la-di-da fancy, but it’s really super-easy to pull off with a tiny bit of patience. And this particular version rewards you with bacon and melted cheese.

I feel like I can do a lot of things if there is bacon and melted cheese involved.

Here’s the scoop: You lay out a thinly sliced chicken cutlet. You layer some things on top. You roll it up. You wrap it with a piece of bacon. You skewer it with a toothpick. You cook it.

Then you have Bacon, Sage and Provolone Chicken Rolls.

The sauce is so easy it shouldn’t even be called a sauce — it’s just the addition of garlic, Marsala wine and broth to the pan you cooked the chicken in. Marsala is a fortified wine, usually with a bit of sweetness, and an open bottle can last for months.

Thinly sliced chicken breast cutlets are readily available, but if they aren’t at your market, just place regular chicken breasts (four breasts of 4 or 5 ounces each will do) between two pieces of wax or parchment paper and gently pound them with a meat mallet (if you have one) or a rolling pin or a bottle of wine, until they are uniformly thin, about 1/3-inch-thick all over. They will be quite large at this point, so cut them in half before proceeding. That will give you eight pieces.

Nubby little noodles like tubetti are nice with this.

Look at you, all la-di-da with your beautiful rolled chicken breasts.

Bacon, Sage and Provolone Chicken Rolls with Marsala Sauce

Serves 4

Start to finish: 45 minutes

8 (about 1 1/2 pounds) thinly sliced chicken cutlets

Kosher or coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 slices provolone cheese, halved

8 fresh sage leaves

8 slices uncooked bacon

1 teaspoon garlic, minced

1/2 cup Marsala wine

1/2 cup chicken broth, preferably low-sodium

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Create a large clean workspace – it’s easier to roll up all of the chicken breasts at the same time, assembly-line fashion; you may want to line the counter space with wax or parchment paper (or use a huge cutting board).

Lay the chicken breasts on the work space and season them lightly with salt and pepper. Place a piece of provolone on each cutlet (trim it so it doesn’t extend over the edges of the chicken), and a sage leaf if desired. Roll up each breast, and then wrap a slice of bacon around the middle, trimming the bacon so that the ends just overlap to seal the rolls (extra bits can be crisped on their own and eaten). Skewer each roll with a toothpick to keep it closed.

Heat a large, ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon-wrapped chicken and brown on all sides, turning the rolls with tongs so they hold their shape, about 8 minutes in all.

Transfer the skillet to the preheated oven and bake until the rolls are cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. A little cheese will probably melt out; that’s OK. Transfer the chicken to a serving dish, remove the toothpicks, and keep warm while preparing the sauce.

There should be just a couple of teaspoons of fat left in the skillet; pour off any more than that. (The skillet will be very hot, including the handle. Remember to use pot holders while preparing the sauce.) Place the hot pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir for a few seconds until it starts to color, then immediately add the Marsala and stir to scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan to flavor the sauce. Add the broth, allow the sauce to come to a simmer, and simmer until the mixture is slightly reduced, about 3 minutes.

Serve the hot chicken rolls with the sauce, either spooned over them or passed at the table.

Katie Workman has written two cookbooks focused on easy, family-friendly cooking, “Dinner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cookbook.”