Rio Chicken Rollatini with Crazy Rice

Rio Chicken Rollatinii

Other Recipes from Planet Barbecue Episode 108 – The Brazilian Grill

These tangy chicken rolls come from Rio’s legendary Porcão restaurant chain, where they’re cooked on a spit. I like to think of them as Brazilian rollatini. For the sake of authenticity, I should note that the mayonnaise and cornichons are my contribution to the recipe. Their flavors contrast perfectly with the richness of the Gruyère.

Serves: 6
Method: Spit-roasting (rotisserie) or direct grilling


Rio Chicken Rollatini with Crazy Rice


For the rollatini:

  • 6 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, tenderloins removed
  • Coarse salt (sea or kosher)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise, or more as needed
  • 3/4 cup grated Gruyère or Swiss cheese, or more as needed
  • 6 very thin slices smoked or cooked ham, each about the same diameter as the pounded chicken breasts
  • 1 white onion, peeled and cut lengthwise into 12 wedges
  • 12 cornichon pickles
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, for brushing

Recipe Steps

1: Place a chicken breast between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and pound with the bottom of a heavy pan or skillet until about 3/8 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts. Arrange on a work surface.

2: Season each breast on both sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Paint one side of each breast (the underside) with mayonnaise. Lay a slice of ham on top of each breast, then sprinkle with cheese. Top with 2 wedges of onion and 2 cornichon along the edge of each breast. Roll the breasts tightly around the filling to form a compact cylindrical roll. Tie each with 2 pieces of butcher’s string, snipping off any loose ends. (See Note below.) Oil on all sides with extra virgin olive oil.

3: Set up the grill for spit-roasting and heat to medium-high. I like to pinion the chicken rolls in a grill basket that’s been thoroughly oiled to prevent sticking. (If you don’t own a rotisserie, the chicken rolls can be direct grilled on a well-oiled grill grate. Turn frequently—every 3 minutes or so—with tongs.)

4: Spit-roast the rollatini until the internal temperature when read on an instant-read meat thermometer reaches 165 degrees.

5: Snip off the butcher’s string. Arrange the rollatini (sliced crosswise, if desired) on a platter or plates.

Note: The rollatini can be prepared several hours ahead of time; refrigerate the rolls, loosely covered with plastic wrap, until you are ready to grill. Brush them with the olive oil before grilling.

Recipe Tips

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