Bragolli style chicken wrapped in bacon


We love Bragolli, and my Nanna Jeanne was a master at making them. I’ll blog her recipe soon; but here is one recipe that was inspired by those memories; chicken breast wrapped in smoked bacon, stuffed with mushrooms and mozzarella and baked on the oven. The smoky bacon reminds me of the flavours of Bragolli with Nanna and Nannu in Sliema!

It’s a really easy recipe once you’ve made it once, and it looks very impressive when sliced as one is just too much for one person. So it’s worth the effort of going through the steps. You can vary the stuffing, pesto works well and prosciutto is good as a wrapper too.

As with most things, starting with the best ingredients is key; so the best chicken breast you can get. You also need about 12-16 rashers of bacon, a ball of really good fresh mozzarella a couple of handfuls of mushrooms and garlic.

First things first. To make the mushroom stuffing, take some chestnut or portobello mushrooms (a mix of wild mushrooms is good when in season!), chop them fairly small and add them to a pan in which a clove of finely chopped garlic has been gently sizzling in some olive oil. Let them cook down, then taste and season. Don’t use much salt, the bacon adds a lot.

Meanwhile, beat the chicken breasts flat between some cling film or in a ziplock bag – the flatter the better as they will be easier to roll, but not too thin or it will tear. This is a bit of a weird dish as 3 chicken breasts easily feed 5 people well, and usually with leftovers, but the dish freezes well so see what you think when you make it.

Slice the mozzarella into small slices and set aside to drain a little. To prepare the bacon, use the blunt edge of a knife to stretch the rashers out so they almost double in length.

Assembly is easy; lay a beaten chicken breast on a board and spread some of the mushrooms on with a scattering of mozzarella – not too much as otherwise it will just spill out. But enough to cover most of the centre leaving about 2cm around the edges.

Roll up the chicken tightly and wrap the bacon around it, sealing up the edges. You’ll need about 3-4 rashers per breast. I don’t bother using cocktail sticks to keep it all together. As long as the rashers are wrapped around tightly, all should be well.

Lay each wrapped chicken breast into a dish, sprinkle with olive oil and white wine and add the juice of two lemons. Bake in a moderate oven until the mozzarella starts oozing out, and the bacon is crispy on top. (The chicken should then be cooked, but do check the fattest one!). Let it rest for a minute or two before slicing it up and don’t forget to spoon some of the gorgeous juices all over it.

It’s good served with rice, or something like Maltese roasted potatoes with lots of fennel seeds.

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