6 June 2008

Barbequed Chicken with Vine Leaves & Goat Cheese

This is loosely based on a recipe I found on GourMed a magazine about Mediterranean cuisine. What I liked about the dish was the fact that the chicken was wrapped in brined grapevine leaves, wrapped in aluminum foil and then baked.

I have cooked fish wrapped in vine leaves on the barbeque, so ,why not try chicken. So a new recipe is born from that twisted mind of mine. GourMed's orginal recipe is here if you would like to try this baked version. I will try it someday myself when the weather is cooler. Right now I am in "man's world" with my barbeque tongs in hand and an ear to ear grin!!!

In this recipe brined grape leaves impart their salty flavour into the chicken for an added flavour boost. I have wrapped fish in grape leaves and barbequed them with excellent results, but chicken has a longer cooking time. Following this avenue of thinking I opted to wrap the vine wrapped chicken breast in aluminum foil as the recipe suggests in the baked version to prevent the vine leaves from charring too much. I wanted to be able to eat the vine leaves as well and not discard them after this medium has finished its work. It may work on direct heat, but I will save that for another time and you wouldn't be able to eat the grape leaves.

To the goat cheese stuffing I added a teaspoon of lemon zest, a scattering of chopped chives and some chopped sundried tomatoes for extra flavour this time around as well. You could add which ever herbs you choose or none at all as in the original recipe to allow the goat cheese to stand alone.

The end result was moist and delicious. Even those of you who avoid chicken breast due to dryness will be pleasantly surprised by this chicken. Of course you can also use the same method for chicken thighs. I served it with Goat Cheese Smashed Potatoes and a crisp, leafy salad. Everything is cooked on the barbeque. I just can't bear to cook indoors once the hot weather arrives..thank goodness for a side burner too for boiling, sauteeing and cooking sauces!!!!

Before I move on to the recipe I want to thank my blog sister Ivy of Kopiaste for bestowing the You Make My Day award upon me. Ivy is one of a few of my fellow bloggers that I visit every single day. We have been friends for a while now and I have always appreciated her thoughtfulness and kind-hearted nature. She opens up her kitchen and her heart to us on a daily basis. Her site comes to us from Athens, Greece with many exciting Greek and Cypriot dishes that she lovingly prepares for her family and friends. Besides being a talented cook she is also a talented artist and I am very glad that I have had the chance to know her better. If you haven't had a chance to visit her site Kopiaste please take the time to browse. You will certainly be very happy that you did.

I also need to thank Nuria of Spanish Recipes for passing the I Love You This Much Award to me as well. Nuria prepares some wonderful Catalan recipes. She always offers such delicious recipes with a sense of humour and genuine warmness and passion for all things Spanish. I love to visit her on a daily basis and enjoy every moment I spend with her on her blog. She is a very talented photographer as well and I hope to one day visit a cooking school in her area. Maybe Nuria and Ivy and I could all get together!!! Wouldn't that be something. Of course you could come along too!!

One of the rules is to pass these awards on to at least 5 fellow bloggers. Yesterday I passed an award on to 5 + Greek bloggers so today I will pass it on each to 5 +Canadians...eleven to be exact. This makes it easier to choose between all the fantastic blogs out there that Make My Day and that I Love This Much!!!

Ferdzy of Seasonal Ontario Food
Parker of Vanilla Bean Cafe
Kevin of Closet Cooking
Ashley of Eat Me Delicious
Giz & Pschgrad of Equal Opportunity Kitchen
Sara of I Like to Cook

Helene of La Cuisine d'Helene
Lisa of Lisa's Kitchen Lisa's Kitchen
Ruth of Once Upon a Feast
Aimee of Under the High Chair
Sarah of What Smells So Good

I made this Greek-inspired dish in your honour "sis" and hope that Nuria has a chance to try it too. Enjoy! The verdict: I LOVE it!!!!!!!!!!!!

**Barbequed Chicken with Vine Leaves & Goat Cheese**

4 chicken legs or boneless, skinless breasts, without the bones
200 g goat cheese
1 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
1- 2 tsp lemon zest
1 T snipped chives
1 tsp finely chopped sun dried tomatoes
20 vine leaves (canned in brine)
400 g tomatoes concassees (chopped or crushed)- concassees is seedless, skinless chopped tomatoes
¼ cup olive oil
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp sugar
aluminum foil

In a small bowl combine goat cheese. lemon juice, lemon zest, snipped chives and sun dried tomatoes.

Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the chicken fillets in half but not cutting all the way through to form a pocket for the goat cheese filling. Lay four or five vine leaves (depending on their size)overlapping on a piece of aluminum foil to create a large square and lay one of the chicken fillets on top of the leaves. Add the goat cheese filling divided into 4 equal portions inside the pocket of the chocken breast. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper and proceed to wrap the grape leaves around the chicken breast like an envelope. Then tightly wrap the aluminum foil around the fillet, giving it a candy like shape like a tamale or if you are British like a Christmas cracker.

Repeat the process with the rest of the chicken fillets. If the vine leaves you are using are preserved in brine, avoid adding extra salt to the chicken. The salt from the brine will be more than adequate and it will taste better this way.

Preheat barbecue to 350 F. Place foil-wrapped chicken in barbecue. Cook for 15 minutes, flip chicken and cook for another 10. Let rest for 5 -10 minutes. Carefully remove foil by cutting foil twists off end and exposing grape leaf wrapped chicken.

Meanwhile: To prepare the sauce add the crushed tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, sugar and oregano in a pot and allow it to cook for 20 minutes once it comes to a boil.

Serve the chicken rolls with goat cheese smashed potatoes or rice and pour tomato sauce on top. To achieve an even more dazzling garnish, deep-fry a few vine leaves in a skillet and place on top of the potato puree or rice. I also squeezed some fresh lemon juice on top of the grape leaves as well.

Serves 4
Best Blogger Tips


  1. Thank you so much for the blog award. Much appreciated. I enjoy reading your blog each day.

    This recipe sounds great...the thought of creamy goat cheese on the bbq gets me salivating. I have never cooked iwth vine leaves, would love to try that.

    Also thanks for the link to the Copy Cat sangria recipe, I am for sure going to check that one out.

  2. I love the combination of flavours here - right up my street.

    I bought vine leaves for the first time last week - looking forward to trying them out :)

  3. What can I say that you havent heard me say a zillion times here before. That looks fantastic. I love briney flavor and the like that contrat with the zested leomon in the cheese filling.Very nice.

  4. AnonymousJune 06, 2008

    Ooh... this looks like what I want to have for dinner tonight! :-) Great photos, too!

  5. I can't wait to try this! I am printing it out right now! This is such a great recipe as my oldest daughter (tomato hater) loves goat cheese and this can be tailored for her and the rest of us!!!

  6. Nice summer dish...wrapping fish and now chicken (as you've done) makes for a great presentation and a nice surprise for the eater.

  7. Another innovative recipe!

  8. AnonymousJune 06, 2008

    This dish makes me feel like I'm on an exotic vacation in the Mediteranean. It's beautiful Val and summery!

  9. very Mediterranean indeed - in Crete, we cook a special-occasion roast meal of lamb wrapped in vine leaves - this one is based on a similar idea.

  10. Perker: You are most welcome. I am glad that I came across your site:D
    Kittie: I hope you will love grape leaves as much as I do:D
    Glamah: This dish was right up my alley with all my favourite flavours:D
    Ann: Thank you, thank you very much.. I am the King(Queen) of the BBQ...self proclaimed...I'm sure there are better
    Judy: I hope you get a chance to try it :D
    Peter: It did look pretty too as well as taste good:D
    Thanks N33ma and Noble for your kind words:D
    Kiwi: I would love to be able to try the vine-wrapped lamb:D

  11. I can only imagine how moist that chicken is wrapped in the vine leaves. And you really like your goats cheese don't you Val?

  12. I think I have only ever had the rice stuffed grape leaves - this is such a different use!

  13. Another award - wow you're too kind! Thank you!

    I keep seeing these vine leaf recipes...it's on my own personal "daring recipes to try" list/

  14. Awww, thanks Val. You are a sweetie!

  15. Thanks for the awards Valli!! It's 35C here right now, and my sis and I are heading to the mall to cool off! Hope your day out in BC is a little nicer!

  16. Aw wow thank you for the award! :) I wonder if I could make this recipe with tofu instead of chicken...

  17. I know what you mean about cooking indoors in the hot weather. I shall try to remember this recipe if we are lucky enough to get a summer this year!

  18. Another beautiful Val recipe! Congrats on the awards, too. ;-)

  19. Is there an award named "You make me Drool" because you certainly deserve that one as well. Thanks sis for your kind words. Vine leaves give a great taste to meat but I never thought of using brined ones as I freeze mine.
    Wouldn't that be awesome, you, Nuria and I in a cook school together...

  20. Maybe I need to resurrect the Droolworthy Blogger award that I used to give out Sis:D

  21. This looks mouthwatering - the chicken looks so moist and I love the sundried tomato filling. Delicious.

  22. Thank you so much for the award. I love you thiiiissss much too!

    I wonder how long you can keep vine leaves. I bought some last weekend to make haloumi baked in vine leaves and I still have some left....anyone have the answer?

  23. What a great combination of flavours! The chicken looks so moist and tender and good. Thanks for the award!!

  24. AnonymousJune 06, 2008

    This looks delicious, Val! Do you think I could make it with fresh leaves from my garden? Or do you think I should blanch them or something first? I'd love to try it!

  25. Thank you Val!! You are too sweet. Yay for Canadian bloggers.

  26. AnonymousJune 07, 2008

    Thanks for your answer to my question, Val. That's a good point you make about the brined leaves being moister than the fresh ones unless I blanch them first. Of course, your smart use of an outer wrapping of aluminum foil would help on the moisture issue as well. I'll definitely experiment.

  27. I've got this bookmarked and I'm making it this week. It looks unbelievably delicious!

  28. This sounds really good! I'd never seen grape leaves used outside of dolmades, so I'm glad to know another good use for them. I'll keep this one in mind--I'd really like to try this!

  29. He, he, thanks for cooking for us Val... one of these days I'll take your word and knock on your door with a good Rioja Wine under my arm :D.

    Thanks for the mention, darling! You deserve all Awards :D.

    Your "twisted mind" has wonderful cooking ideas!!!

  30. Another great recipe Val!! This looks delicious and the flavours just wonderful :)

    Rosie x

  31. This sounds deicious - I would never have thought to wrap chicken in grape leaves!

  32. Late to the party here, but thanks very much for the award. I appreciate the thought very much!


Welcome to my home. Thank you for choosing to stay a while and for sharing our lives through food. I appreciate all your support, comments, suggestions, and daily encouragement.


This blog uses comment moderation therefore SPAMMERS, SELF-PROMOTERS and ADVERTISERS will be deleted.