Chicken Saltimboccollards with Orzo

Saltimbocca (Italian for jumps in the mouth) is traditionally made of veal with prosciutto and sage. It sometimes includes capers as well. Fusing together this traditional Italian dish with my Southern heritage, I created a dish I jokingly call Saltimboccollards. For the saltimboccollards, I replace the veal with chicken and add in a healthy portion of Georgia Collard Greens. Thankfully, I still have collards growing in my garden.

Collards growing in the garden
Collards in the garden

For the Chicken Saltimboccollards, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 12 ounces of chicken cutlets (three cutlets, about four ounces each)
  • 2 teaspoons grapeseed oil
  • 10 to 12 sage leaves
  • 1 bunch of collards, remove the rib and slice the collard leaves into 1/2 in ribbons
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 slices of pancetta (about 1 to 1 1/2 ounce total)
  • 1 Tablespoon Parmesan Cheese
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into slices
  • Salt and pepper

Pound the chicken cutlets with a meat mallet until evenly thin, about 1/4 inch in thickness. Sprinkle the cutlets with salt and pepper and set aside.

Chicken cutlets, pounded to about 1/4 inch thick
Pound the chicken cutlets to an even thickness

Heat one teaspoon of grapeseed oil in a nonstick pan over medium-high heat. Gently add the sage leaves and fry until just crispy.

Sage leaves in a pan
Lightly frying sage leaves and infusing the oil

Set the sage leaves aside. Reduce the heat to medium and use the sage-infused oil left in the pan to saute the collards and garlic together until the collards are wilted and soft, about 5 minutes. Remove the sauteed collards and garlic from the heat.

Collars and garlic sauteed in sage infused oil
Collars and garlic sauteed in sage infused oil

Place a slice of pancetta on each chicken cutlet. Then place a small heap of the sauteed garlic and collards on the slices of pancetta. Place two fresh sage leaves (not the fried leaves) on each heap of garlic and collards. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese on each cutlet.

Steps to prepare the chicken cutlets
Preparing the cutlets

Carefully roll the chicken cutlets, starting with the narrow end, like a jellyroll and secure the rolled cutlets with a toothpick. Heat the other teaspoon of grapeseed oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat and cook the rolled chicken cutlets for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until just golden brown. In another pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil and add slices of lemon. Carefully drop the rolled chicken cutlets into the boiling liquid. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the chicken for 10 minutes, turning occasionally.

Chicken simmering in broth
Chicken simmering in broth

Remove the rolled chicken cutlets and let rest for about 5 minutes.

Chicken Saltimboca Resting
Chicken Saltimboccollards Resting

Once the chicken has cooled slightly, cut the chicken saltimboccollards int thi

Rounds of Chicken Saltimboccollards
Chicken Saltimboccollards

To go with the chicken saltimboccollards, I made a quick orzo dish. I heated four rolled anchovy fillets with capers in olive oil in a pan over medium heat, stirring until they dissolved in their own oil. I sauteed an assortment of vegetables that I had in the refrigerator (which happened to include about a half cup each of green beans, sorrel, sweet peppers, and zucchini) with the anchovy fillets. I cooked orzo according to the directions on the packaging. I then mixed together the orzo, a 28 ounces of diced San Marzano tomatoes, and the sauteed vegetables.

Making orzo with vegetables
Making orzo with vegetables

I removed the toothpicks from the chicken saltimbocollars and plated them together with the orzo. I then topped each serving with the fried sage leaves, which I think add great flavor and an enjoyable texture to the orzo when it is crushed up with a fork and mixed into the orzo.

Chicken Saltimboccollards with Orzo
Chicken Saltimboccollards with Orzo

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

Inspired by Giada De Laurentiis’ Orzo Stuffed Peppers recipe, I decided to significantly change the recipe based on items I had in the pantry to make a Southwestern twist on stuffed peppers.

My recipe for Southwestern Stuffed Peppers requires:

  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies, drained
  • 14.5 oz can diced fire roasted tomatoes, drained
  • 2 medium zucchini, shredded
  • 1 cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend cheeses
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/8 cup fresh oregano, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 32 oz chicken stock, I used a 32oz carton of Wolfgang Puck’s Roasted Chicken Stock
  • 1 cup orzo, I used Pappardelle’s Southwest Orzo
  • 4 bell peppers, I used 2 orange and 2 red

To make the stuffed peppers, begin by preheating the oven to 400 degreed Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, mix together the tomatoes, zucchini, beans, cheese, herbs, garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Because the zucchini adds extra moisture to the mixture, be sure to drain the tomatoes and the beans well.

Vegetable filling
Vegetable filling

Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a pot and add the orzo. Jill and I bought Southwest Orzo from the same Pappardelle’s pasta stand at the Winter Park Farmers’ Market where we bought the mafaldine featured in our Eggplant and Zucchini Pasta Bake and our Another Delicious Mafaldine Recipe posts, but any orzo should work. Cook the orzo for 5 minutes. Strain the orzo from the chicken stock, pouring the stock into a 9 by 13 inch baking dish.

Southwest orzo
Southwest orzo

Mix the strained orzo with the pepper filling until combined.

Vegetable - orzo mixture
Vegetable - orzo mixture

Remove the tops from the bell peppers and carefully remove any seeds and ribs. Fill the peppers with the stuffing and place the peppers in the baking dish with the chicken stock.

Stuffed bell peppers
Stuffed bell peppers

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake the stuffed peppers for 45 minutes. Let the peppers cool briefly and serve on a bed of fresh spinach.

Baked stuffed peppers
Baked stuffed peppers

These stuffed peppers make a light, healthy dinner with bold flavor. Left over stuffing can be cooked in a pot until the orzo reaches the desired tenderness and served as a pasta dish.