Before we moved to the suburb, my family frequented a mall with a basement food court. Our favorite stall was called Vincenzo’s and on its menu was pollo con queso, ham-stuffed rolled chicken served over rice with a creamy white sauce. Vincenzo’s folded up long ago but I’ve never forgotten its pollo con queso.
Vincenzo’s pollo con queso was larger. Since I made my ham-stuffed rolled chicken with not-so-large breast fillets, mine came out smaller. Vincenzo’s served pollo con queso with plain rice; I serve mine with buttered and herbed pasta or rice.
These ham-stuffed rolled chicken breasts can be deep fried or baked in a very hot oven. The following recipe is for the deep fried version but, whichever way you want to cook it, the key is a very high cooking temperature and a short cooking time to prevent the fatless chicken breast fillets from drying out.
- 2 chicken breast fillets
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
- 2 pinches dried tarragon
- 2 pinches dried thyme
- 2 slices fatty ham
- 2 tablespoons flour
- cooking oil for deep frying
Pound the chicken breast fillets with a mallet until less than a quarter inch in thickness. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, tarragon and thyme.
Lay a slice of ham on each pounded fillet. Roll up the fillets as tightly as you can. Secure with wooden toothpicks.
Start heating the oil in a frying pan. The oil should be deep enough to completely submerge the rolled chicken. The usual temperature for deep frying is 350F. If you have thermometer, use it. Otherwise, use other techniques like dipping a wooden chopstick in the oil and observing if tiny bubbles form around it.
Dredge the rolled chicken breasts in flour; shake off the excess.
Deep fry the rolled chicken until browned. If the temperature of the oil is correct, the rolled chicken should be done in five minutes or less, depending on how thickly you rolled them. Mine were about two and a half inches in diameter prior to frying.
Scoop out the rolled chicken from the oil. Lay on a chopping board and allow to rest for a few minutes. When cool enough to handle, remove the toothpicks and cut the rolled chicken into slices about half an inch thick.
Serve at once with cheese sauce (scroll down for the recipe).
For herbed rice, mix one cup hot rice with one tablespoon melted butter, one-eighth teaspoon each of dried basil, oregano and thyme, half a teaspoon of fried chopped garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
If you prefer to serve your ham-stuffed rolled chicken with pasta, mix one cup hot cooked pasta with the same mixture for the herbed rice.
Below, the recipe for the cream sauce.
- 1/3 cup cream cheese cut into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup milk
- chopped parsley
Place the cream cheese, butter and milk in a microwaveable bowl. Heat on HIGH for 1 minute. Mix until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped parsley.