Have I mentioned that before I met my husband I wasn’t really a meat eater. Before I met my husband I hadn’t had red meat in a decade. I had my last bite of red meat at a bus stop McDonald’s in Beer Sheva, Israel in 2001 after a particularly harrowing camping experience in Maktesh Ramon in which my 2 beloved friends and I decided to go hiking and camping, only we didn’t have enough water or other supplies. We went to sleep that night at the bottom of the crater dreaming of ice cold Gatorade and big, juicy steaks. When we finally reached civilization the next afternoon, we gorged on the first food we could find, which just happened to be a bus station McDonald’s. It was later that afternoon, back at the dorms at Ben Gurion University, where I was studying abroad, that I really started to regret that kosher quarter pounder. I swore off meat all together for about 2 months until I got home and really started craving chicken Philly sandwiches (obvs., this was before I was a kosher-eater), which ended my vegetarianism but began my red meat ban. It wasn’t until 7 years later, back in Israel, this time in Jerusalem, when I slowly, slowly re-introduced red meat back into my diet.
At first it was meatballs. Then it was maybe a slice of brisket. It took a while for hamburger to be welcomed back into my belly but it too, eventually, made its way back into the fold. And so now its 2016 and I’ve got two little girls who LOVE MEAT SO MUCH. I mean sooooooo much. They take after their father in that respect. I mean if they had their druthers, they’d have meat with a side of meat, rolled up in meat and then dipped in meat. We tend to roll vegetarian during the week because it’s cheaper and better for the environment but come Shabbat, it’s a meat party. Yes we welcome that Sabbath queen with a good ol’ roast chicken or some lamb meatballs and if it’s been an exceptionally good week? Well, that’s when it’s first cut brisket, baby (this has happened once in our 6 year marriage. That stuff is expensive). Therefore, the recipe you have before you is not gourmet or particularly earth-shattering in it’s uniqueness, but it is representative of my family’s favorite little Shabbat indulgence (1st cut brisket aside). It’s literally meat wrapped in meat and then breaded and baked. Sometimes I like to dream big and play around with fancy recipes on Shabbat but sometimes I just really want some good ol’ fashioned Ashkenazi goodness.
Chicken “Reuben” Roll-Ups
(makes 5 roll-ups)
5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced thin or “shnitzel-style” from butcher
1 cup Thousand Island dressing
1 cup Panko bread crumbs
1 cup Matzah Meal (or regular bread crumbs)
1 tbsp kosher salt
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tbsp caraway seeds
8 slices pastrami (cut in half length-wise)
1/8 cup margarine (I used Earth Balance)
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease a large baking sheet and put aside.
Make sure your chicken breasts are thin. If need be, place chicken breasts one-at-a-time between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound out with a mallet or the flat bottom of a frying pan in order to get chicken to about 1/4 inch thick.
In 1 shallow bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs, matzah meal, salt, garlic powder and caraway seeds until well blended. Place another wide, shallow bowl next to your bread crumb bowl and add your Thousand Island.
Using one cutlet at a time, coat each side in dressing. Next, lay one side of the cutlet in the breadcrumbs, gently pressing it into the crumbs so they adhere to the cutlet on one side. Lay 2 cuts of the sliced pastrami lengthwise onto the side of the cutlet that is not coated in bread crumbs. Gently roll up the cutlet and pastrami like a jellyroll, tucking in as tightly as possible as you go. If you have food grade toothpicks on hand, feel free to stick one on each end of the rolled chicken and pastrami in order to keep it sealed while baking. Place onto greased baking sheet with seam-side down. Continued on until you’ve completed all chicken.
Once all cutlets are completed, top with a slap of margarine (eeps!) before placing in oven. Bake for 30 minutes. Let rest before cutting once they are done cooking. Enjoy!