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Chicken Devils on Horseback Recipe

Gordon loves cooking and experimenting with food. He loves making new dishes, particularly with unusual or underused ingredients.

Dried prunes and chicken breast are rolled in bacon and baked, before being served with a pea shoot and radish salad and homemade croutons

Dried prunes and chicken breast are rolled in bacon and baked, before being served with a pea shoot and radish salad and homemade croutons

What are Devils on Horseback?

Devils on horseback are usually served as a finger food and make excellent little nibbles served on trays at drinks parties. The same idea as angels on horseback, devils on horseback include dried prunes or a similar type of fruit instead of oysters. In this recipe, the preparation has also been made to include some carefully filleted chicken breast and the whole is served with a pea shoot and radish salad and homemade croutons. If you wish, you could stuff the prunes loosely with some chutney or relish before they are wrapped, with mango chutney being a popular choice in this respect.

It's worth pointing out that this would be a fantastic recipe to cook on an outdoor grill. Four to six of these packages could easily go on one large skewer and add an extra tasty twist to your next grill party menu.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

30 min

15 min

45 min

One portion


  • 1 chicken breast fillet, quartered
  • 4 rashers smoked back bacon
  • 8 dried prunes, stones removed
  • Handful of fresh pea shoots
  • 5 or 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 radishes, very thinly sliced
  • 4 thin slices from French bread stick
  • 2 tbsp olive oil (plus optional extra for drizzled garnish), for making croutons
  • Sunflower oil to oil baking sheet
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large basil leaves to garnish, finely sliced

How to Make Chicken Devils on Horseback

  1. Start by putting your oven on to preheat to 400F/200C.
  2. Take eight wooden cocktail sticks and add them to a small bowl of cold water for ten minutes. They are going to be used to keep the devils on horseback in shape as they cook but if you use them dry, they are likely to burn in the oven, spoiling the food.
  3. The bacon used here is British smoked (unsmoked is fine) back bacon, which among other differences is generally broader than American bacon. The rashers should be laid out flat on a chopping board. If you are using American bacon (or British streaky bacon), you may want to use eight rashers - two per devil - laid side by side and slightly overlapping
  4. Chicken breast strips can very often be bought like this from supermarkets. If using a whole chicken breast fillet, lay it flat on a chopping board with your weaker hand on top and very carefully cut it in half horizontally with a cleaver. Each half is then cut in half again lengthways to make the strips. Lay one strip on each rasher of bacon.
  5. Two prunes (make sure the stones have been removed) are laid at the narrower end of each strip.
  6. Carefully roll up the strips, starting at the end with the prunes. Two cocktail sticks should be used to secure each package.
  7. In the relevant photo above, you will see the baking/roasting tray has been lined with foil. This is simply the lazy man's way of making washing up easier and is not in any way necessary. Drizzle the foil or the naked tray with a little sunflower oil then lay on the rolled parcels, seam side down.
  8. Put the tray in to the oven for thirty minutes.
  9. The salad should be prepared while the devils on horseback are cooking. Begin by washing all the ingredients thoroughly in a colander under running cold water.
  10. Cut the stem end off each of the radishes. The device I used here to slice the radishes paper thin is similar to a Japanese mandolin but a sharp knife and a steady hand will suffice. If you are using a mandolin or anything resembling same, please be very careful. The blade is incredibly sharp and the nature of the device means that your fingers get uncomfortably close. Some better quality mandolins now come with safety guards fitted and if you are considering making a purchase, this is very definitely the option to choose.
  11. Mix the pea shoots, radish slices and halved tomatoes carefully together in a small bowl and season. Pile attractively in the centre of a square plate.
  12. Remove the devils on horseback from the oven. Pierce the thickest one to ensure the juices run clear. Sit aside to rest for ten minutes.
  13. Pour the olive oil in to a large frying pan and bring up to a high heat. Lay the bread in the pan and season with salt and pepper. Fry on a high heat for about two minutes each side until the croutons are crisp and golden. Remove to a kitchen paper covered plate to drain.

How to Serve Chicken Devils on Horseback

  1. Twist the cocktail sticks then pull them gently free from the devils on horseback before plating the four bacon wrapped parcels, one at each main compass point on the plate.
  2. Add the croutons at the corners of the plate, slightly raised on the salad.
  3. Optionally (I didn't) drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Scatter over the basil as a final garnish and serve.
Chicken devils on horseback with pea shoots and radish salad, croutons and basil garnish

Chicken devils on horseback with pea shoots and radish salad, croutons and basil garnish

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Gordon Hamilton (author) from Wishaw, Lanarkshire, United Kingdom on June 17, 2012:

Thanks, Paul. They're not normally served as part of a main meal but the chicken makes them more substantial and satisfying.

Paul Edmondson from Burlingame, CA on June 17, 2012:

They look tasty and great presentation.

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