Kitchen Twine

André Baranowski

When you're preparing dishes like chicken rollatini, beef or pork braciole, or a stuffed bone-in chicken breasts, knowing how to handle kitchen twine can make a big difference. Securing the stuffed meat with string rather than, say, spearing it with toothpicks not only makes for a nicer-looking presentation; it also helps these mini-roasts hold their shape, promoting even cooking and keeping the ingredients inside from spilling out as you turn the meat over in the skillet to brown it.

1. Use a knife to cut a half-inch notch into the cartilage of the stuffed breast's tapered tip. Lay a 28-inch length of kitchen twine down on your work surface in an upside-down U shape about two inches wide. Arrange the breast skin side up in the middle of the U so that the stuffed edge is facing away from you.

2. Bring the two ends of the twine over the top of the breast and through the loop. Pull the ends tight.

3. Pull one end of twine toward the tapered tip of the breast and the other end in the opposite direction. Pull both ends tight and flip the breast.

4. Bring both ends of the twine up to the middle of the breast, guiding one end through the notch you've cut in the tapered tip to hold the twine in place. Cross one end over the other and pull tight, as if wrapping a package, and flip the breast again.

5. Tie the ends of twine into a double knot to secure; trim ends with kitchen shears. You should have three evenly spaced bands running across the breast.

6. Slip three sprigs of thyme in between the skin and the twine.