Thursday, May 19, 2011

Chicken Ballotine

This is probably the most challenge dish I've ever done for a chicken.  I have deboned chicken many times while working in the restaurant.  However, debone it in the western way and making stuffing are my first attempt.  It took me 2 hours to prepare the chicken and stuffing and another 1 1/2 hours cooking time.  I didn't roll it perfectly but I was pretty happy with the end result.  It is such an elegant looking dish.  There are some left-over stuffing and I might practise more rolling skill on chicken breast or thigh.  It would be much easier to roll up smaller pieces than a whole chicken.  Will I make this dish again?  Surly I would cook this again for a special occasion. 

Chicken Ballotine
(serve 6)

1.6 kg chicken
2 red capsicums
1 bunch of silverbeet
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon garlic minced
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
200g ricotta cheese
1 cup breadcrumb
1 tablespoon oregano, chopped


  1. Cut through the skin of the chicken on the centre back.  Separate the flesh from the bone down one side to the breast and be careful not to pierce the skin.  
  2. Follow along the bones closely with the knife, gradually easing the meat from the thigh, drumstick and wings.
  3. Cut through the thigh bone where it meets the drumstick and cut off the wing tip.  
  4. Repeat on the other side then lift the ribcage away, leaving the flesh in one piece and the drumsticks still attached to the flesh.  
  5. Discard the bones from the thigh, drumsticks and wings.  Trim off big chucks of fat around the neck and bottom of the chicken but leave the skin.  Turn the wing and drumstick flesh inside the chicken and lay the chicken out flat, skin side down.
  6. For the stuffing: remove the stalks from the silverbeet and finely shred the leaves.  Heat oil in pan and stir in the onion, garlic and silverbeet until soft and moisture evaporated.  Cool for a few minutes.
  7. Process the silverbeet onion mixture with parmesan cheese, breadcrumb, oregano and half of the ricotta cheese.  Season to taste.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180c.  Quarter the capsicums and remove the membranes and seeds.  Place skin side up under a hot grill until the skin blackens.  Place in a plastic bag to cool.  Peel off the skin.
  9. For bundling the chicken: spread the silverbeet mixture over the chicken and lay the capsicum over the silverbeet.  Place the remaining ricotta cheese across the width of the chicken.  
  10. Fold the sides of the chicken in over the filing do they overlap slightly and tuck the end neatly.  Secure the chicken with toothpicks and tie with strings. (Roll the chicken from the width so that each cut piece would have an even portion of the breast and thigh)
  11. Place the chicken roll onto a lightly greased large piece of aluminium foil, season the chicken with some extra oilve oil, salt and pepper.  Roll the chicken up securely in the foil and seal the ends well.  Place on a baking tray and bake for 1 1/2  hour in a moderately oven.  Open up the foil and pour some pan juice over the chicken after  1 hour and let it cook for further 30 minutes or until juices run clear when a skewer is insert into the centre.
  12. Allow to cool with the foil covered before removing toothpicks and strings.  Cut into pieces and serve with white wine infused gravy and steamed vegetables.   

Note: It is easier to cut the chicken when it is cooled.  Cover the left over with foil and reheat it in the oven the next day.

Source:  Adopted and modified from the cookbook "Homestyle Chicken" published by Murdoch Books.

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