Southwestern Chicken Roulade

One thing that is so easy to make, yet looks so very impressive, is a Roulade. Roulade is from the French word Roule, or Roll. Simply put it is a meat rolled up with some type of filling. The filling can be almost anything, from a cheese type spread, vegetable or even another type of meat. I was introduced to Roulade's by my good friend Jeremy. Since then I have made several different types. This weekend I decided to try my hand at a Southwestern Chicken Roulade.

I started with 4 boneless, skinless Chicken breasts which I pounded out to about 1/4 inch and filled it with a layer of Chorizo and Pepper-Jack Cheese.

Chorizo is a pork sausage which is highly seasoned. It is produced throughout Europe, Spain and Portugal in particular. It is also a staple of Mexico. The seasoning used in Chorizo is really dependent on what country it is produced in. The Mexican influenced Chorizo which we get here in Texas is generally seasoned with among other things Cumin, Garlic, Paprika and of course Chile Peppers.

You start by browning your chorizo and breaking it up into small pieces. If you can get the bulk chorizo, great. If all you can get is the chorizo Sausages, be sure to remove the outer skin by taking a sharp knife, cut down the length of the sausage and remove the outer skin.

Next take all your pent up aggression out on the Chicken. Place your boneless, skinless chicken breast on a piece of plastic wrap and cover. Using a meat mallet, a cast iron fry pan, rolling pin or even a heavy saucepan, strike the chicken at a slight angle until you get it to about 1/4 inch in thickness. By doing it at a slight angle it allows the chicken to stretch out in one direction.

Once the chorizo is browned, drain and allow to cool. Once cool mix the Cheese with the chorizo together and apply a thin layer over the chicken to within 1/2 inch of the edges. Fold the sides in and roll the chicken up starting with the narrowest end and secure with a toothpick.
Spray the roulade's with cooking spray and gently roll in a shallow bowl of masa harina*.

***Masa Harina is a Mexican flour used for making tortillas and tamales. DO NOT substitute all purpose flour or corn meal for the Masa Harina, since they are manufactured different ways and taste differently. Most stores carry some type of Masa Harina in their Hispanic sections. Just look for tortilla or tamale flour.
If you are unable to find the Masa Harina, simply go without a flour coating and brown the outside of the roulade.

Place the roulade's into a 9x9 baking dish which has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake in a preheated 375 F. oven for 30 minutes or until done (165 F. internal temp). Allow to cool slightly, then top each with a serving of your favorite picante sauce.

Smoked Beef Brisket

My buddy Jeremy came across some nice Briskets at H.E.B. the other day and was able to snag me a 10 pounder. After a little bit of extra trimming, I coated it real well with a dry rub, wrapped it in plastic and refrigerated it for about 36 hours. Saturday was such a nice day.....perfect for a smoke. Fired up the smoker at about 10am and stoked it with Hickory. Put the meat on about 11am. Then went inside and made up a good, basic beer mop. Except this time I added about 2 tsp each of ground dried Ancho and Arbol Chilies. The Ancho is a sweeter milder chile, while the Arbol is a little hotter. About 3:30pm, I wrapped the meat in aluminum foil and placed it back on the smoker for a couple more hours. When it was done it was perfect. Very nice smoke ring, nice hint of the chilies and still very moist. Can't wait to do another one.
Still working on the web site. Planning to get some better templates and change it up as soon as I get the time. Until then, check it out, email me and let me know what you think (be honest now..)

Smoked Turkey

A beautiful, dry sunny fall day in Dallas....its been a while since we have really seen the sun. Think its time to smoke something. Nothing could be better. It is real easy to do and gives you the opportunity to have turkey year round.
Bought a 6.5lb turkey breast. Rinsed it in cold water and patted it dry. Rubbed it in with EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) and liberally coated it with a good dry rub.
Place a small cooling rack in the bottom of a baking pan and add about 1-1/2 cups of chicken broth in the bottom....just enough to cover the bottom. Make sure the pan is one that you don't mind using in a smoker since it is going to turn dark due to the smoke. I then cut up 2 apples and 2 oranges and arranged the pieces on the rack. Place the turkey on top of the fruit pieces. Then place the whole thing in your smoker. I used a combination of both Hickory and Pecan and started it at a temperature of about 325 F. After about an hour I lowered the temp to about 200 F. Smoke it for about 4 hours or until the internal temp is about 175 F.
The fruit serves a duel purpose. Not only does it provide much needed moisture to the meat during the smoking process and help keep it from drying out, but it also adds a little extra flavoring to the turkey. Also, be sure to allow your meat to sit lightly covered for at least 15 minutes prior to cutting. This will allow the juices to spread evenly back throughout the meat.