Sunday, April 14, 2013

Daring Cooks: Chicken Ballotine

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.