Chicken thigh meat gets a cheesy herb stuffing then wrapped in maple-glazed bacon, keeping the meat tender and juicy.
6 large boneless chicken thighs, skin off
400 grams streaky bacon
3 fresh bay leaves, optional
maple syrup, for brushing
100 grams baby spinach
½ cup frozen baby peas, thawed
2 cloves garlic, crushed
finely grated zest 1 lemon
2 teaspoons fennel seeds, toasted
½ cup each parsley and basil leaves
¼ cup fresh breadcrumbs, gluten-free or regular
100 grams soft goat’s or feta cheese
sea salt and ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C fan bake.
Stuffing: Place the spinach in a heatproof bowl and cover with boiling water.
Stir to wilt then drain well. Refresh in cold water then roll up in a clean tea towel and squeeze out excess water.
Place in a food processor with the peas, garlic, lemon zest, fennel seeds, both herbs and the breadcrumbs.
Season well, then process until combined but not to a paste. Tip into a bowl, crumble in the cheese and stir through.
To assemble: Lay 2 large sheets of baking paper overlapping on the bench.
Place the bacon, slightly overlapping each slice in a line across the paper, along the edge closest to you.
Put 1 row of 3 chicken thighs along the edge closest to you then place the other 3 butting up against them to make a rectangle. Season with salt and pepper and spread the stuffing over the top, pressing it on evenly.
Using the baking paper as a guide, roll up the chicken away from you into a tight log ending with the seam of bacon underneath.
Carefully transfer the chicken on the baking paper to a large roasting dish. Brush with maple syrup and a grind of pepper and tuck bay leaves, if using, under bacon. Roast for about 40 minutes, occasionally brushing with pan juices during cooking.
To test if it’s cooked, insert a skewer and the juices should run clear.
Rest the chicken loosely covered for at least 10 minutes before slicing.