Wrap It Up … In Bacon
Bacon is popular. Some of my most popular articles on this site feature bacon and how it can make the meals it touches transcendent. On its own, crumbled and sprinkled over something wonderful, or nestled in everything from sandwiches to cinnamon rolls, it gets high marks. But I am especially fond of using it as both a flavor device and a highly practical, edible bit of ribbon. A recent example is a simple chicken dish in which thin strips of bacon held the chicken and slices of jalapeño pepper together:
Yep, those are red jalapeños pictured above -- like the ones they use in sriracha sauce. Mmmmmm.
Anyway, in this recipe, the bacon gives the dish flavor, texture, and manages to hold it all together. Is there anything bacon can't do? Well, yeah … but that's not what this article is about. This one's about wrapping stuff in bacon and frying it. As noted above and shared below, chicken pairs beautifully with bacon in this manner. I'm also fond of wrapping hot dogs or other sausage in bacon. In fact, I don't really eat hot dogs unless they are wrapped in bacon. Suddenly, they seem gourmet … particularly when I add gourmet toppings! Fish and steaks also really like being wrapped in bacon. One of my favorite things to wrap in bacon is pork tenderloin. It's a match made in pork heaven!
But, getting back to the recipe described above, there are some tweaks to offer. If you aren't a fan of the heat, you can opt to use sweet peppers, roasted red peppers, or even properly-sized slices of mango in this recipe. You can also go beyond salt and pepper and include other seasonings on the chicken. I like using blends that prominently feature smoked paprika, but that's because I like the combination of heat that comes with the peppers and a splash of smoky flavor in each bite! For wrapping purposes, stick with thin bacon, as it will be easier for wrapping and will stay in place more easily, especially if you plan to let your chicken rest in the refrigerator for a bit before cooking it. I like to prep the chicken the night before I cook it, so this becomes a super-fast weeknight dinner option that's done in the time it takes to fry the bacon around the chicken pieces you've prepped. Fast, delicious food -- who is going to argue with that?
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts -- pounded flat and cut in half lengthwise
- Salt and Pepper
- 8 strips bacon - NOT thick cut
- 2 jalapeños -- stem removed and sliced lengthwise
Season the halved chicken breasts with salt and pepper. You can also use any number of seasoned salt blends or spice blends that you like. Top each chicken piece with a slice of jalapeño. Carefully wrap a slice of bacon around each chicken piece, using the bacon to hold the pepper slice in place. At this point, you can refrigerate the chicken, covered, for up to two days prior to cooking.
When you are ready to cook the chicken, heat a skillet over medium high heat. Once it's hot, add the chicken and cook for 3-4 minutes. Flip carefully and let cook for another 2-3 minutes. Use a pair of tongs to carefully hold the chicken on its sides to cook the bacon all the way around each piece of chicken.
Once the bacon is fully cooked, remove the chicken from the pan and place on a paper towel-lined plate to drain before serving.
- Yields: 4 servings
- Preparation Time: 20 minutes