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Monday, 29 April 2013

Chicken Ballotine!

I can’t tell you how happy I am. I just couldn't stop pampering myself when I made this dish…CHICKEN BALLOTINE!!! Ballotine is a French dish, were you need to debone a meat or fish completely ( Yes I did say DEBONE completely) and is stuffed, tied up to secure the stuffing and roasted / pouched / baked. . I never knew there is something like deboning a chicken completely until I saw Julia Child say in the movie Julie & Julia. The ‘deboning’ part really got me curious. And here I am today, just successfully accomplished something I have never dreamed of doing.

Deboning a chicken is not as easy as it looks in the video (I have linked the video below), but it not so difficult either. All you need is a very sharp knife and a good amount of patience. This  chicken ballotine was adapted from Jacques Pépin his original recipe here, a renowned French chef and author of an array of best selling cookbooks. The whole process of deboning, stuffing, tying the chicken together and roasting does take quite of a bit of time, BUT in the end you will realize its all worth the effort. Crispy roasted skin on the outside, succulent chicken underneath and amazingly delicious stuffing. I promise your family will be wide eyed and dropped jaws after taking the first bite, It is definitely a show stopper.

As for the stuffing, you can stuff it with anything you like. All vegetables or even meat. This is the stuffing I did and it was amazingly delicious. The spinach, sweetness from the cubed bread and creaminess of the cheese. This stuffing will never you down. There is a sauce to go along with this ballotine, you can find it in the original recipe of Jacques Pépin.

Serves 2

You Will Need:

1 Whole Chicken on Skin (mine was a little more than a kilo)
1/4 Cup of Grated Cheese (I used a combination of cheddar and mozzarella)
1/4 tsp of Chili Powder
Very Sharp Knife
A Tea Towel
Clean Cutting Board
Butcher Twine

For The Stuffing:

150g of Baby Spinach (I used Palak)
4 Cloves of Garlic, Finely Chopped
1/2 tsp of Onion Powder
Some Sweet Corn Kernels
Few Torn Ice Berg Lettuce
1/2 Cup of Cubed Bread (Little Cubes)
1/2 tsp of Dried Thyme (or any herb you have)
Salt & Pepper to Season
A tbsp of Olive Oil / Oil

The Cooking:

Wash and chop the spinach finely. Heat a pan on high and add oil. Once hot sauté the chopped garlic for few secs.Then tip in the spinach and toss well. Add onion powder, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 mins till the spinach is done and the excess water has evaporated. Now add all the cubes of bread and give it a nice stir. Cook for another 5 mins and take off heat. Keep aside to cool.

Now you need to debone the chicken. Now don’t be afraid if I can do it you can do it. The entire process of deboning took me 30 mins (which is not bad for a first attempt I would say).


You should ask my husband how I looked after deboning. I was grinning from one ear to the other. Now that’s my chicken fully deboned season the inside with salt and pepper.

Now, place the lettuce in one single layer. Push one into the drums too.


Top off with the spinach stuffing. Don’t forget to push some into the drums too.


Now, grate as much as cheese you want on top of the spinach filling. But don’t overload the chicken, It will be difficult to tie it.


Now, tie the chicken just like Pépin shows in the video (attached in the end of the post).


Season the outside with salt, pepper and chili powder. Give a nice rub so that all sticks in well. Roast this till the skin has browned and crisped and the chicken is cooked through. It would take 40 – 45 mins in a 200 degree preheated oven.

20130428_141744        DSC04307

Serve hot with Oven baked potatoes!!

The below video demonstrates the whole process of deboning, filling and tying the chicken by Jacques Pépin himself…

  • Keep the work area clean. Don’t go touching stuff with raw chicken in your hands.
  • Make sure the knife is nice and sharp. Its the key to deboning. If its blunt, you will not get clear cuts. The chicken needs to be pat dry before you start deboning the chicken. 
  • Keep the chicken bones for making stock. Just freeze the bones in a zip lock bag and use when needed.
  • There is no need to dribble excess oil over the chicken to roast, the skin will do the work.

La cuisson heureux! 

That’s Happy Cooking in French, Lol love Google ;)

My Entry for Cuisine Delights "Show Your Best Creations"


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