Stuffed Pepperoni Chicken Parmesan
Chicken Parmesan kicked up a notch for sure. Just look at those quality ingredients. If you haven’t heard of a Roja sauce before your in for a treat. It’s a south American tomato salsa made by roasting the ingredients until they begin to char. I like using a cast-iron skillet to roast the vegetables in a hot oven. The char adds a great depth of flavor that really makes this sauce so special. This sauce/salsa is so good you could put it on a ton of different recipes. I personally like pairing it with any egg dish. For me, usually, I add it to scrambled eggs. People will not believe it until you try it for yourselves. #sogood
Ok, we have pepperoni which we all love. In addition, a pan-fried stuffed chicken breast with a crunch exterior of Italian bread crumbs and panko to give the recipe a great texture. And the amazing Roja sauce, and the special ingredient that tipped the scale over to amazing-town, Gouda cheese.
Gouda (English: /ˈɡaʊdə/ (listen), Dutch pronunciation: (listen); Dutch: Goudse kaas, “cheese from Gouda“) is a mild, yellow cheese, originating from the Netherlands, made from cow’s milk. It is one of the most popular cheeses worldwide. The name is used today as a general term for numerous similar cheeses produced in the traditional Dutch manner.
Roja Sauce Recipe
The key to a great tomato sauce is the tomatoes. You’ll see plenty of tomato sauce recipes calling for Roma tomatoes which is an interesting tomato.
In the United States, San Marzano tomatoes are the genetic base for another popular paste tomato, the Roma tomato. The Roma is a cross between a San Marzano and two other varieties (one of which was also a San Marzano hybrid) and was introduced by the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in 1955
I selected vine-ripen tomatoes. Which are noted for their juiciness, good sugar level, nice acidity, and lack of mealiness. (large tomatoes in the photo)
The second tomato selected is noted as the best tomatoes in the world and priced well these days. San Marzano (small tomatoes in photo)
Watch Our How-TO Video Below
How To Make Homemade Roja SauceThe key is sourcing the very best tomatoes you can find. Shop places like your local farmers market, Central Market, to Whole Foods.
Our Ingredients for Roasted Roja Sauce
Vine Ripened Tomatoes
The Very Special, World #1 Tomatoes: San Marzano Tomato
San Marzano tomatoes are thinner and more pointed.
Guajillo Chiles is the ingredient in my opinion that set this south American sauce off. Bring a nice smokey note to the sauce.
The flesh is much thicker with fewer seeds, and the taste is stronger, sweeter and less acidic.
The Fresno Chiles of some fresh spice to the Roja sauce, but not in the way of overpowering heat/hotness.
(chile guajillo in Spanish, meaning big pod) is the dried form of mirasol chili, a landrace variety of chile pepper of the species Capsicum annuum, and is the second-most commonly used dried chili in Mexican cuisine. after poblanos (ancho).
Additional ingredients for Roja sauce:
It should not be confused with the Fresno Bell pepper. It is often confused with the jalapeño pepper but has thinner walls, often has milder heat, and takes less time to mature. It is however a New Mexico chile, which is genetically distinct from the jalapeño and it grows point up, rather than point down as with the jalapeño. The fruit starts out bright green changing to orange and red as fully matured.
- Corn (Optional – helps lower the heat/spiciness )
- Large pinch of Salt
- Vidalia Onion
Preparing the ingredients for Roja Sauce
- Remove the rip and seeds from the peppers/chilies. ( you could leave the seeds and rip on if you like very hot sauces )
- Next, remove the garlic cloves, but leave the peels on to help the garlic not burn
- Cut up the Vidalia onion, removing the outer onion paper
- The tomatoes, just add them to the pan
- I like using a cast-iron skillet
Roast the Peppers & Onion & Garlic for a minimum of 30 minutes. I suggest longer, closer to 40-45 minutes to get a nice roast on them. Be sure to keep an eye on them in the oven. Just check on them after 25 minutes. Cook them in a preheated oven of 375 degrees.
Once out of the oven, take the Guajillo Chiles and place them into a large glass of water and microwave them for 3 to 4 minutes. Be careful once you remove it from the microwave, it will be super hot and will burn your hands.
Next, add all the ingredients at once into a blender and puree. Once combine, TSA, ( Taste – Season & Adjust ) Might need a little salt.
Recipe Re-miX: Other uses for Roja Sauce
Great with Eggs of any kind – Very classic Mexican recipe – Huevos Ranchero
Add a little bit of chunky onion, cubed / diced tomato and you have a nice salsa for a party
Replacement tomato sauce for any recipe really, idea like Chicken Parmesan
Sky is the limit
Preparing & Cooking The Pepperoni Chicken Parmesan
Butterfly the Chicken. Using chicken breast, make a cut down the middle making sure you do not cut all what way through the chicken. Open the chicken breast like a book to fill with the pepperoni.
The image below is the chicken breast that has been butterflied
Place chicken between plastic wrap and pound out the chicken making it thinner. Try to not over pound the chicken. One additional advantage to doing this is the process tenderizes the chicken, plus giving us more surface area to fill the chicken breast.
Salt the butterflied chicken breast before adding the pepperoni
Add the pepperoni by shingling them over one another
Roll up the chicken breast like a cigar and place toothpicks to make sure the pepperoni chicken breast stays together.
Add butter to a pan and melt, then add some olive oil to help the butter not burn. Do not use high heat, but rather medium to medium-high heat. You do not want the chicken to brown too quickly.
Next, dip the entire pepperoni chicken breast into 2 eggs that have been whipped together and cover it well.
Then add to the Italian breadcrumbs & Panko mix ( bowl right next to the egg wash )
Place the pepperoni chicken breast into the pan ( Seam side down ) This will help keep all the goodies inside the chicken breast
Using a spoon, start to spoon the butter over the top of the pepperoni chicken breast. #basting
Cook in the skillet for about 3 to 4 minutes. The idea is to cover the pepperoni chicken breast with butter until you have a good bit of golden brown and deliciousness going on. Then straight into a 375 oven until done. About 8 to 10 minutes. The thickness of the chicken breast will determine cook times.
Remove the toothpicks from the pepperoni chicken breast. On the serving plate, add some of the Roja sauce in the middle.
Slice the pepperoni chicken breast in half, cutting on an angle for presentation.
Add two pieces of cheese, I used Smoked Gouda Cheese
Place under the broiler in your oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese, then top with fresh cut basil and enjoy!
Stuffed Pepperoni Chicken Parmesan
Stuff Pepperoni Chicken Breast
- Chicken Breast / Prepare as many as you like / Roja sauce goes a long way
- Sliced Pepperoni / use as much as you fit into the chicken breast
- Smoked Gouda Cheese / use what you like, just pick a cheese that melts nicely
- Parmesan Cheese / goes on top of the Gouda cheese, adds presentation
- Italian Breadcrumbs
- Panko Breadcrumbs
- Toothpicks / need to seal the pepperoni in the chicken breast
- 11 small Vine Ripen Tomatoes
- 20 small San Marzano Tomatoes
- 1 Vidiala Onion / chopped in quarters
- 1 Full Garlic / break all the clove off - keep shell/sleeve on
- 2 Guajillo Chiles / de-seeded
- 1 Fresno Chile / de-seeded
- 1 pinch Salt
Pepperoni Chicken Breast
- Lay one chicken breast flat, using a chef or large knife cut down the seam of the chicken breast making sure not to cut all the way through.
- Place the butterflied chicken breast on a large piece of plastic wrap and cover the chicken. Using a meat mallet, pound out the chicken breast increasing the size.
- Remove the plastic wrap, add some salt.
- Place the pepperoni in a shingle-like pattern over the chicken breast. Add as much as you fit. Using toothpicks, close/secure the chicken closed.
- In a large bowl add 2 eggs and whip them together, in a second bowl add equal parts Italian breadcrumbs and panko breadcrumbs
- Dip the pepperoni chicken breast into the egg first then the breadcrumbs. Making sure to cover well
- In a skillet, add butter and melt, then add olive oil. Once melted add the chicken. Make sure the heat isn't too high or you're going to burn the breadcrumbs and butter. Medium to medium-high heat
- Bast the chicken with a spoon. Pouring the hot butter on top of the chicken as it cooks.
- Into a 375 oven after the chicken as a nice golden brown color from the basting - cooks for 8 to 10 minutes in the oven
Making the Roja Sauce
- Clean the garlic, but leave the garlic clove covers on to help prevent burning while roasting in the oven.
- Peel and slice the onions into quarters
- Add all ingredient into a cast-iron skillet
- Add a pinch of salt
- Roast @ 375 for a minimum of 30 minutes. Longer is better to get more roasted and char flavor
- Add the Roja sauce to the middle of a plate
- Slice the pepperoni chicken breast in half, cut at an angle for presentation. Place one piece in the middle of the plate and place the second piece leaning up against the other piece to give the plate some height. Add a piece of cheese to each piece of chicken and top with grated Parmesan cheese.
- Place under the broiler for a nice presentation and to melt the cheese.Top/finish with fresh basil.