Umeboshi Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Vacation: Fourth of July!! Grilling, and pool, and family party time! mmmmm…: chicken breast rolls filled with umeboshi and shiso. Sounds very exotic, but everyone loves this recipe.

Many thanks to my brother and sister-in-law for inviting us to their beautiful home in Missouri. They had to put in a few appearances at work, we prepared food for dinner. My brother has a “secret” grilling technique for indirect heat on a Weber kettle grill: perfect for this recipe. He covers the charcoal with a cheap pizza pan punched with holes so the heat of the grill is tempered.

They say Marie Antoinette said,
“Let them eat cake!”
To win a cat’s affection,
Let them eat chicken!
Chicken Breast Rollls with Pickled Plum and Shiso
Yakitori: Tori no Ume-shiso

based on Yakitori: Sasami no Ume-shiso
from: The Japanese Kitchen
•250 Recipes in a Traditional Spirit•
by Hiroko Shimbo
page 407
serves 4

  • 3 chicken boneless, skinless breasts
  • 4-6 umeboshi (pickled plum), pitted and chopped (about 3 Tablespoons)
  • 1 Tablespoon saké (rice wine)
  • ½ Tablespoon mirin (sweet cooking wine)
  • 8-10 shiso leaves, julienned
  • Yakitori basting sauce—click the thumbnail pic above for a recipe

Pound the chicken breasts between sheets of plastic wrap. A bottle with a flat bottom works well to flatten the breasts.

Mix the umeboshi, sake, and mirin in a small cup.

Apply a thin layer of the umeboshi paste to the softer bone-side of the chicken breasts. Sprinkle each with the julienned shiso leaves. Use the plastic wrap to support the meat as you roll each breast to enclose the ume paste and shiso.

You can prepare the recipe to this point and refrigerate the wrapped chicken rolls.

In “Japanese Cooking. A Simple Art” by Shizuo Tsuji there is a recipe for grilling chicken rolls. It includes a line drawing of how one can use 4 or 5 bamboo skewers, sharp ends poked into the roll, and dull ends gathered together like the bottom of a fan. But for this meal, I just made tin-foil boats to hold the chicken rolls.

Heat a grill or broiler. Brush the chicken with yakitori sauce. Cook on the hot grill, but be observant: don’t let the chicken over-cook.

Remove the rolls to a plate, and slice about ¾” thick. Arrange the spirals on a serving platter.


5 thoughts on “Umeboshi Stuffed Chicken Breasts

  1. These look so dainty and inviting. I am imagining that sere heat. Thanks for sharing your brothers clever technique. A chestnut roasting pan might work too? Seems a very specific tool to own I know – a kind francophile friend gave me one. Love your description of the skewering. How very Japanese. I will look it up. Books with line drawings are endearing don’t you think?

    • I wouldn’t use your chestnut roasting pan for fear of ruining it! My brother says he goes through a couple of the cheap pizza pans in a season. These are quite like foil pie dishes, but bigger and no sides.

      Line drawings do attract my eye. My copy of “Japanese Cooking, A Simple Art” is so old that it has a separate section for “full-color plates” (photos) so one has to page back to see how a dish is supposed to look! It used to be very expensive to print photos, but printing technology has changed. Now hand-made drawings are rare, no doubt more expensive than digital photos…

  2. Oh okay no fierce roasting of the chestnut pan!
    Yes you are so right about drawings – digital has changed everything! I like the way some people are using digital to share their hand made drawing. A near perfect marriage. There is something about instructional illustration – it has a certain discipline which is evident and useful but something of the artist’s hand is there also – that’s what lifts the heart. Have you ever done that kind of work, Tess?

    • Yes, I used to draw. I don’t know how good I was at it, but it was enjoyable. And there is often unexpected poetry (or mystery? or revelations) in such works. At one point long ago, I got into a state where I destroyed anything I did that I could find. Yes, it was foolish. There is some anger in shadows, don’t you think? J rescued or hid a few things. And now I regret my actions. But I’ve done some other almost drawings more recently. and I have a drawing tablet I could use with my computer… Origami diagrams, and some tessellations. and one or two things in my messy studio that have not much developed.
      Lifting the heart? maybe you encourage as much as the little blue pills…

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