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Jocelyn’s on vacation seeing relatives, so you guys get me instead this week.  :-)

These little chicken wraps were my answer to the question, “What do I do with all the fresh basil leaves I’m getting out of my garden?”  Because boy there’s a lot of it.  (It’s nice to know at least some plants enjoy hot Texas summers, at least so far!)  I really enjoyed some lettuce wraps I had at PF Chang’s, and I vaguely remembered hearing something about wrapping something in basil on a cooking show sometime — an idea that made no sense to me, until I finally got a basil plant going and got a good look at some fresh basil leaves!  :-)  Their shape and size practically screams “wrap something,” so I figured, why not?

The result is essentially an appetizer or hors d’oeuvre, a bite-size piece of intensely seasoned chicken on a stick (especially if you use herb-infused olive oil to give it a richer flavor).  I don’t entertain much, and when I do it’s a chips-and-soda kind of thing, so admittedly I make these because they’re fun.  :-)  It took me a few batches to get the hang of rolling them up and toothpicking them, but I like to think Ginny was very amused by my frustration in the meantime, so it was all effort well-spent.  :-D

In any case, time for the recipe.  :-)

Basil Chicken Wraps

Yield:  12-20 wraps, depending on the size and number of your basil leaves

Ingredients:

  • 4 oz dark meat chicken, defrosted and finely cubed (I just use one boneless skinless chicken thigh fillet, and don’t usually weigh it)
  • scant 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp paprika
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 T honey
  • 1/2 T olive oil (use herb-infused olive oil for better flavor)
  • 1/8 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 12-20 fresh basil leaves (basically, however many you have

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Farenheit.  Defrost and cube your chicken.  (I find it easier to do this on a cutting board with a knife, than using meat shears.)  You do want it pretty fine here, but just cubed, not minced — you need small enough pieces of chicken to wrap up in the basil leaves.

2.  Drain the cubed chicken, then move it to a small mixing bowl.  Add the remaining non-basil ingredients — that is, the salt, garlic powder, paprika, black pepper, honey, olive oil, and red wine vinegar — and mix until the chicken is evenly coated.

3.  Scoop a little bit of the coated chicken into a basil leaf, then gently roll up the leaf around the chicken.  (It doesn’t have to close completely — some liquid leaking out is basically inevitable when these cook — but it should hold together.)  Carefully stab the leaf, and if need be the chicken, with a toothpick to hold the little wrap together, then move on to the next leaf.  Put each finished wrap in a dark-colored pan to be baked, like so:

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4.  Bake the wraps in the preheated oven 8-12 minutes, or until the chicken is completely done.  Plate ‘em up and serve hot.

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