4th of July Chicken


This chicken is called 4th of July Chicken for no other reason than that I made it on 4th July, to take to a picnic that evening. There’s nothing particularly American about it – if anything, I guess it has a slight Italian influence to it. This July 4th was my first in the States – so, in fact my first July 4th full stop, because to be honest it somewhat passes us by in the UK. Not surprising, really.




I had a very pleasant lazy day, followed by a picnic watching the concert and fireworks at Tanglewood with my friend Vicky. Vicky, it turns out, is the picnic queen, and brought all sorts of treats for us to enjoy, as well as an impressive array of picnic paraphernalia, so we were very well catered for. I brought wine and chicken. It was a fun evening, although as I watched a volley after volley of jubilant fireworks, I couldn’t help but feel you Americans must REALLY hate us Brits…



Anyway, either way – this is tasty chicken. It’s great for a picnic – we had it just as it comes, but it would also be great to beef up a salad. It’s quick and easy, and you can make it in advance. You also get to flatten a chicken breast with a rolling pin, which is always fun. The herb mix running through the centre can be adapted to use any herbs you like or have to hand.



4th of July Chicken 
Serves two as part of a picnic

For the herb filling:

  • Approx 1 tbsp each of basil and tarragon leaves
  • Approx 1/2 tbsp of thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 small clove garlic
  • Juice and zest of 1/4 lemon
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • Salt & pepper

For the chicken

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 4 slices prosciutto

Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F

Start by making the herb filling. Finely chop all of the herbs, capers and garlic – you can use a food processor for this, if you prefer, but I find it just as easy to do by hand as it’s small amounts. Mix with the remaining ingredients – stir well, and set aside.

Take the first chicken breast and place between two sheets of cling film/plastic wrap. Using a rolling pin, gently but firmly bash the chicken all over until it is approx 1cm/0.5inch thick. Repeat with the second chicken breast. If you don’t have a rolling pin, a bottle of wine makes a good substitution…

Lay two pieces of prosciutto on the work surface, overlapping very slightly, and place one of the flattened chicken breasts on top. Spread half of the herb mixture over the chicken breast – you are aiming for a seam of herbs running through the middle of the chicken, rather than a stuffing as such. Fold any overlapping prosciutto on the right hand side of the chicken into the middle, and then gently roll the chicken into a tight roll. Repeat with the second chicken breast.

Heat a frying pan on the stove to a fairly high heat. Sear the chicken quickly on the outside, before transferring to a baking dish and placing in the oven. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Allow to cool, slice into rounds and spoon over any cooking juices. Serve at room temperature or very slightly warm.

I would have preferred to secure the rolls with a toothpick, but I didn’t have any – so I risked cooking them without. I found that one of the chicken breasts was slightly thinner than the other, and this one stayed better rolled when cooking. So, especially if you have no toothpicks, make sure the chicken breasts are nice and thin before filling/rolling.


Cooking with friends


I had a plan that I was going write this post more than two weeks ago, and I was going to start by telling you that ‘Everything is on the brink of change, here in the Orange Kitchen’. But then life got in the way, and I didn’t write the post, and now here we are, no longer on the brink, but rather right in the midst, of change.

The boys at work!

The boys at work!

And change it most certainly is – I have left behind both my new home in Boston and my life as a lady of leisure, for a little while at least. I have been given the chance to spend the summer at Tanglewood music festival, as part of the team which organises the festival. It’s an amazing chance for me to see how another major classical music festival is run, and I am so excited to be part of it.

Laura cooking with her sister Becca

Laura cooking with her sister Becca

The festival is based in Western Mass, so I’ve moved out to the beautiful town of Lenox for the next nine weeks or so – leaving Noel to fend for himself in the meantime! I was totally unfamiliar with the Berkshires, as the area around Lenox is known, and it is really a joy to get to know it. It is beautiful like you wouldn’t believe – and, while sleepier than Boston, it has plenty to keep me occupied.

The boys preparing Kale chips

The boys preparing Kale chips

This post was also not going to be about cooking with friends. It was going to be a recipe for Spaghetti with Avocado Pesto, which is delicious, and perfect for the warm weather we’re having these days (ahem, and the rain…). But, truth be told, I haven’t had a lot of cooking time recently – I’m working full time, and I’m living on my own, so I’ve been resorting to old faithful standbys.

Dave making his awesome burgers

Dave making his awesome burgers

This weekend, I went down to Connecticut, to my ‘American family’s’ house – the same people we spent Thanksgiving, Christmas and Boxing Day with, and who have very kindly adopted us poor ‘orphans’! We were celebrating my friends Laura & Dave’s wedding in May with a lovely weekend in the garden. We tie-dyed shirts, we drank, we lounged, we played with the dogs, we flew kites – and we cooked together. It was such fun – we made a selection of salads and things for the grill, but really it was all about being in the kitchen together.

Becca & Noel hard at work

Becca & Noel hard at work

I love to cook any which way that comes along – but there is something truly wonderful about doing so with the people most important to you.

A few of the weekend's other activities - kite-flying

A few of the weekend’s other activities – kite-flying



Chilling with the dogs!

Chilling with the dogs!