When you’re having company, what do you serve? Typically people fall into two camps: the make-it-easy-and-tasty-so-I-can-hang-out-with-my-guests style of meal, and the wow-factor-on-the-plate “this-is-a-company-meal” dish.
This recipe is a little bit of both. There is some work involved, but it can be done blessedly well in advance of dinnertime if you wish. Both the elegant look on the plate and the pizzazz on the palate are most definitely worth of a “company meal”. I miss this meal quite a bit since almost 100% of our chicken purchases are now whole chickens.
I splurged (? – compromised?) in December and bought split chicken breasts from the store. Visions of feces-matted caged chicken dancing in my head, I proceeded to debone and build the Puerto Rican Chicken meal I hadn’t had in over a year.
Folks…this was worth it!
The Step-by-Step Version:
First, set your scene. I like to wash my hands once for all raw chicken activity. Here is my baking dish, oil/vinegar mixture, spices (with spoons – important!), sliced cheese (I threw some cheddar in because I only had a little Monterey Jack left) and the bacon left over from breakfast (it pays to save 6 slices…). This is one recipe where it’s not just for looks when your kitchen acts like the Food Network.
Step one is to pound the chicken. If you don’t have a fancy mallet like this, use a rolling pin, a heavy glass bottle or jar, or a regular old hammer (clean!). I don’t like raw chicken spray, so I use wax paper on top, or if I’m really smart and eco-conscious, a waxed bag from cereal or crackers. Bang away until you get the chicken about as thin as it will go without shredding. Tip: Use the edge of the mallet to help tenderize and spread thin the meat.
Take your flattened chicken, either as you go or after you get your aggression out on all six of them, and sprinkle seasonings and add cheese. I do this in my hand because I’m about to roll it anyway.
Roll the chicken around the cheese as tightly as possible without tearing the meat, then wrap the bacon around the whole thing. Neatness is only for style points – my goal here is usually to cover any places the cheese might try to seep out as it melts.
Arrange in a dish and pour the vinegar/oil over top. I usually add a little extra, up to double, just so I ensure a nice, moist finished product. There’s no trick to the arranging, either. An 8×8 dish will do. This photo is obviously after baking, because I needed to get it in the oven quickly and forgot a “before” picture. Who needs to see more raw meat photos anyway?
Is anyone wondering who took my raw meat photos since my hands were clearly tied up? My 4-year-old son, a photographer in the making! He was still enough to use no flash and framed everything quite nicely, don’t you think? I’m impressed, but that’s my job as “mom”. (Funny aside: he got a kids’ digital camera for Christmas and takes pictures of everything, always twice. Snaps one, then turns the camera vertically and murmurs, “Ok, uh-huh, here we go…” and takes another. He likes to document toys, the whole family’s Christmas gifts up close, and every so often, a person. Think he ever watches anyone take pictures of inanimate objects?)
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Puerto Rican Chicken
- 3 chicken breasts, cut in half
- 1 tsp. garlic salt (or garlic powder mixed w/sea salt)
- 1 tsp. onion salt (same as above works)
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 3 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, in 6 slices
- 6 slices bacon
- 2 tsp. vinegar
- 2 tsp. olive oil (use the code STEWARDSHIP for 10% off at that site!)
- dash of pepper
- Pound chicken to flatten.
- Stir together garlic salt, onion salt, oregano and pepper.
- Sprinkle half of the seasoning mixture over the chicken.
- Place a slice of cheese on each chicken piece and roll up the chicken around the cheese.
- Sprinkle with remaining seasoning mix.
- Wrap each chicken roll with a strip of bacon.
- Place in a small, shallow baking dish.
- Stir together vinegar and oil.
- Pour over chicken.
- Bake in a 375-degree oven for 1 hour or until golden.
- Serves 3-4
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The original recipe, which I received at my bridal shower, says to serve with avocado slices, fresh fruit and a salad. We pretty consistently served it with Vigo Black Beans and Rice, and now use my reverse engineered homemade version of Cuban Black Beans and Rice (Recipe available in The Everything Beans Book). (NEWLY UPDATED TODAY!)Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.
11 thoughts on “Recipe Connection: Puerto Rican Chicken”
We are making this for the third time tonight, and I just have to tell you how much we love it!!!!!!! Thank you for the awesome recipe. I use frozen raw chicken tenders instead of breasts and wrap one slice of turkey bacon which fits all the way around and stick it like crazy with toothpicks to lock that cheese in. Delicious!!
my chicken-wary husband gave this recipe a 10! It turned out great! thanks for the recipe.
.-= chanelle´s last blog ..Roasted Chicken with Onions, Potatoes and Gravy =-.
I tried this meal once and it was great! The only thing I didn’t love was the fact that my bacon wasn’t crispy at all and so seemed not quite done. It doesn’t look like you had that problem in the picture. Do you cook it before hand at all? I’d love to learn how to get that bacon crispy. 🙂 Thanks!
I don’t cook it, no. The casserole dish is uncovered, and it does bake an entire hour. ?? It’s perfect for me!
That looks so delicious!! I will have to try this recipe.
Your son did a wonderful job with the pictures! Those do NOT look like they were taken with a kids camera. My daughter turned 4 in Dec and also got a kids digital camera for Christmas. She really enjoys it, but needs to learn how to keep still. However, now we actually have pictures of me too!! We also have ample documentation of how messy the house is! My 2 yr old son also likes the camera, but he’s as likely to delete pictures as he is to take them. I think his favorite thing in the whole world is pushing buttons!!
My son has a kids’ camera for his own use, but he used the real thing for these shots, just to clarify! He’s very careful when he needs to be, for sure. 🙂 Katie
This looks delicious! I cook a similar dish, but I’m definitely interested in trying yours!
.-= Cara´s last blog ..Just a Little Head Butt to Say “I Love You” =-.
That looks delicious! I have two chicken breasts in the freezer and I think I know now what I will use them for!!
.-= kanmuri´s last blog ..I wish you a… =-.
This looks so yummy! I don’t know if it would really work with turkey bacon, so I might have to go for the extra calories and use beef!! Does the bacon have to be precooked??
No, the bacon just wraps right around, uncooked. 🙂 Katie
Oh, this looks very yummy!
.-= Gail´s last blog ..Skillet Suppers =-.