Sunday, 14 April 2013

Chicken Ballotine

For the April Daring Cooks Challenge, Lisa from Parsley, Sage and Sweet has challenged us to debone a whole chicken, using this video by Jacques Pepin as our guide; then stuff it, tie it and roast it, to create a Chicken Ballotine.

chicken ballotine

A few years' ago I was an eager participant to the Daring Baker's food blogging monthly event. It has now morphed into a Daring Kitchen which includes the Daring Cooks challenge. Well, I say the more the merrier! I wanted to get going again after a few years absence but since my big oven conked out months before, all I could participate in is the Daring Cooks challenge.

I love this month's one, deboning a whole chicken. I've always wanted to learn how to do it but always beaten back by procastination. So this kind of dare is the very thing to spur me on. This particular technique of Jacques Pepin, is the simpler one since the back of the chicken is cut open. Next time I hope to learn the more tricky way of deboning poultry without cutting the skin which is the one used in the Filipino chicken relleno or chicken gallantina.

deboned chicken

How did I fare? Well, I watched the video at least three times to remember the techniques and the order of the steps. Going back and forth to the computer while my hands are soiled is not something I planned on doing. So after memorizing the process, the deboning itself was quite straight forward. It's the sliminess that I found difficult at times usually when I have to grab the bones. But other than that I must say it went quite well. What I found tricky was the tying of the string! I can't make it 'link' to one another. So I had to refer to the end of the video and had to see it several times. Jacques did it very quickly and I didn't notice at first that he turned his hand to twist the string!

chicken ballotine

I didn't make the sauce in the recipe and instead used my usual gravy one but included it here in case I'll have the chance to make it next time around. The stuffed, bound and tied chicken was brushed with melted butter and sprinkled with a little salt and pepper then roasted. I served this for our Easter family dinner and it went down quite well. There's something about slicing so easily into that chicken without worrying about bones that makes this so appealing. I'm definitely doing this again.

chicken ballotine roasted

Ballotine of Chicken

1 whole chicken (about 1.8 kg) - deboned
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Red Rice Stuffing or Spinach, Cheese, and Bread Stuffing (see below)

*Gravy Sauce:
1/3 cup water
1/2 cup dry red wine or chicken stock
1/2 cup diced celery stalk
1 small onion - diced
1/3 cup diced carrot
1/2 tsp potato starch or cornstarch/cornflour dissolved in 1 Tbsp water
1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
melted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/400°F/gas mark 6.
  2. Lay the deboned chicken skin side down and sprinkle the salt and pepper.
  3. Spread the cooled stuffing mixture evenly over the chicken - stuffing the legs, too. If using the spinach stuffing, sprinkle the cheese and bread cubes on top of the spinach.
  4. Roll the chicken up, tie it with kitchen string, brush with melted butter and place in a roasting pan.
  5. Roast in the oven for about 45 mins - 1 hour or until the temperature in the centre of the chicken ballotine is 70°-74°C/160°-165°F. Check the chicken midway through the roasting time to see if it is browning too much in which case you can reduce the temperature to 190°C/fan 170°C/375°F/gas mark 5.
  6. Remove from oven and lift from pan into a serving platter. Let rest for at about 10 minutes before serving.

*For the gravy sauce:
  1. Skim off and discard most of the fat from the drippings in the pan. Add water and wine (or stock) to deglaze the pan, and heat over medium heat, stirring to loosen and melt the solidified juices.
  2. Strain the juices into a saucepan. Add the celery, onion and carrot. Bring to a boil in high heat. Cover, reduce the heat to low and boil gently for 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in the dissolved potato starch and soy sauce. Bring back to boil while stirring to thicken it. Remove from the heat.

Red Rice Stuffing

115 g  [1/2 cup] Wehani rice
300 ml  [1 1/4 cups] chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 tsp sea salt
15 g  [1/2 cup] dried mushrooms (such as porcini) - rinsed and broken into pieces
1 cup chopped leek (white part)
1 onion - chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil
60 ml  [1/4 cup] water
  1. Combine the rice, stock, salt and dried mushrooms in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 1 hour or until the rice is tender. Set the rice aside in the pan, uncovered.
  2. In another saucepan, combine the leek, onion, oil and water and bring to boil. Cover, reduce the heat, and cook in gentle heat for 5 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook until all the water is gone.
  3. Add the rice, mix well and let cool to room temperature.

Spinach, Cheese, and Bread Stuffing

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp finely chopped garlic
140 g  baby spinach leaves
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 cup grated Gruyere or matured cheddar or mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups cubed bread
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or skillet. Add the garlic, spinach, salt, and pepper. Cook for 1 minute or until the spinach is wilted.
  2. Transfer to a sieve set over a bowl. Drain and let cool to room temperature.