These are not much trouble to make and they are a real treat.
Bacon rashers with their salty smoky tang are wrapped around
each piece of chicken, adding flavour and keeping the chicken
moist. They also hold the stuffing in place and bronze up
beautifully as the chicken parcels cook.
Strong attention-seeking flavours in the stuffing don't need
competition from side dishes. Keep these plain; baby new
potatoes (or creamy mashed in winter) and your favourite
greens, maybe beans or broccoli. But I think I like these
best served with a green salad and a good bread. I have tried
accompanying these chicken parcels with a variety of sauces
but the creaminess of this sauce, enhanced with sharp lemon,
complements the chicken well.
Bacon-wrapped chicken parcels
Photo by Peter McIntosh.
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (approximately 1kg),
trimmed of excess fat
80g NZ dried apricots, chopped
½ a small onion, finely chopped
2 plump cloves of garlic, crushed
40g brown skinned almonds, roughly chopped
½ tsp ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp Cointreau, brandy or orange juice
½ cup day-old breadcrumbs
8 long rashers smoked streaky bacon
3-4 Tbsp lemon juice
Creamy lemon sauce
½ cup Greek style yoghurt
½ cup sour cream (I use light)
pinch cayenne pepper
zest of one lemon
1 Tbsp lemon juice
sea salt to taste
Line a shallow roasting dish or lipped oven tray with
non-stick baking paper.
Combine the dried apricots, onion, garlic, almonds, cinnamon,
Cointreau or brandy or orange juice and breadcrumbs. Toss
together to mix well. This makes a crumbly stuffing.
To assemble: lay the chicken thighs flat with the inside of
the thigh uppermost. Place a heaped tablespoon (about one
eighth of the stuffing) on one half of the thigh. Fold the
other half over the top to enclose the stuffing. Wrap a
rasher of streaky bacon firmly around each prepared chicken
parcel. Secure with toothpicks if you need to but I think
they stay together very well without. Place, not touching, on
the baking tray.
The chicken can be prepared to this stage up to 12 hours
before cooking. Cover and refrigerate until needed. Bring to
room temperature before commencing cooking.
Preheat the oven to 200degC.
Brush the lemon juice over the top and sides of the chicken
Place in the oven and cook for about 25 minutes until lightly
golden and the juices run clear when chicken is skewered in
the centre. To crisp up the bacon a little more, you can if
you wish place the baking tray containing the chicken parcels
under the grill for 2-3 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place the parcels on folded paper
towels for a couple of minutes to absorb any excess liquid.
Serve accompanied with creamy lemon sauce
Creamy lemon sauce
Combine all the sauce ingredients and mix well. Tip into a
serving bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed.