Friday, January 15, 2010

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken

What a long title! This yummy and nourishing meal is full of good fats and protein, it's sure to become a family favorite!

A few months ago I discovered an ingredient I believe everyone should have in their pantries - smoked paprika. Yes, smoked. I'll admit, it sounds scary at first, but in the hands of a good recipe, it is a bombshell of flavor. It will make you want to replace paprika with smoked paprika in all your recipes! Use restraint with this spice, however, because unlike some dried spices, a little goes a long way. The marinade/rub for this chicken is great and it makes enough for leftovers, which I now have in my fridge. It's perfect for when you need a quick homemade sauce quick, so don't be shy - make the whole batch. I actually halved the recipe from the original amount.

I made this recipe for dinner tonight. G was coming home from work and I wanted something extra special he would just love. We are all on different schedules, and he had not had a "real" homecooked dinner (besides homecooked leftovers from the fridge) for a while. He loves all protein and anything involving bacon in his world = good. I actually have to agree with him! Bacon is quite tasty. Up until a few months ago we never had bacon in the house. It was too "unhealthy" - full of saturated pork fat. But now that my mom and I have been learning about real food, we have bacon again. G and my Dad are very happy! Now we buy two types of bacon, a pork bacon for G, and a turkey bacon for me and mom because we would rather not eat pork. I used two bacons for this chicken - I wrapped mine in turkey bacon and G's in pork bacon, so feel free to use whatever bacon you fancy. They both work extremely well!

Smoked Paprika Roasted Chicken wrapped in Bacon (and stuffed with Cheese)
with spices from Elise

4 chicken thighs with bones and skin, or boneless chicken breasts with skin
1 package turkey bacon or pork bacon

1 Tbsp smoked paprika
1 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice from organic meyer lemons
1 1/2 tsp Tbsp softed real grassfed butter
1/2 tsp sea salt - I used himalayan
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp pepper

cheese of choice, I used aged cheddar cheese - I was all out of raw cheddar!

To make your smoked paprika chicken:
1. Take your chicken and turn them over so the skin is down.
2. If you have chicken breasts, make a slit in one side and stuff in two thick pieces of cheese. If you have chicken thighs like I did, make two slits along the bone and stuff in two chunks of cheese as much as you can. Carefully bring both sides of the chicken together and turn the chicken over.
3. Wrap the chicken with 1 to 3 pieces of bacon, however much is desired, making sure the ends stay tucked under the chicken.
4. In a small bowl, combine spice ingredients. Fold together with a spatula and spread a small dollop on top of each bacon wrapped piece of chicken. Get messy - using your hands (you could use a pastry brush as well) rub the marinade all over the chicken making sure to cover all possible spots on the chicken, not only the top.
5. Place chicken in a large glass casserole dish and roast covered with tin foil at 350 degrees for about an hour. Take chicken out and baste with juices. Then for 15 minutes increase to 375. Finally, take off the foil and roast at 400 degrees for a final 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the bacon is lightly browned. Remove from the oven and baste with juices before serving. Serve warm with roasted brown sugar and buttered carrots and oven roasted yukon gold potato fries.
6. Enjoy!

G so enjoyed this recipe, as did I. I will definitely be making this again but will use chicken breasts so I can add bacon inside and more cheese. The cheese in my chicken melted and added to the chickens flavor and moisture, and also the outside juices - but it did not stay cheesy in the chicken. It was still good though!

In the photos - the double wrapped is pork bacon, the single wrapped is turkey bacon. Also, that is Annies organic ketchup (which beats Heinz in any taste test, I've done it with my friends and family, you'll be surprised with the results!) and Guldens dijon mustard with some goat and sheep feta from Whole Foods. Not in the picture, there was some local kimchi on the side! Such a tasty meal! It surely will become a staple in the family food rotation!

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