Sunday, April 14, 2013
For the April Daring Cooks Challenge, Lisa from Parsley, Sage and Sweethas challenged us to de-bone 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.
A Ballotine is one of those things that I had heard about before and just always thought it was one of those insanely difficult things that chefs do to show how talented they are. I never really thought it was something I would ever do. Well, I was wrong. Turns out it is not really that difficult and it makes a pretty delicious chicken. Some definitions of Ballotine say that it is a de-boned leg but in this challenge we de-bone a whole chicken while essentially leaving it a one piece.
Instead of going through this step by step with lots of pictures Lisa made the wise decision to make this a video challenge. Jacques Pepin has a ten minute video that you can see here that shows the whole process. In the video I think he says that it should take 5-10 minutes to de-bone a whole chicken. I think it took me about a half hour but a lot of that time was spent watching the video over and over to make sure I was doing it correctly. I can honestly say that I think it would take less than ten minutes the next time. I was very surprised at how easy it was and how little knife-work there was to the whole process.
The nice part of the de-boned chicken is that it gives you a nice big piece of uniform meat that is great for stuffing. I stuffed mine with a mixture of spinach, bread, and mozzarella cheese. The video also gives a very nice demonstration of trussing the stuffed chicken. I also made the sauce/gravy that Lisa gave us the recipe for.
The chicken was fabulous. It looked very elegant and would be a great recipe for entertaining. It also tasted great. I loved the stuffing and couldn't get enough of the sauce. Now if I ever decide I want to make a Turducken for Thanksgiving I will have the major technique figured out.