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.
My second Daring Cooks challenge, April, I don’t feel I did the challenge justice at all, other than the fact I attempted it. I’ve never deboned a whole chicken and I must say after my first attempt, it takes a lot of practice. I watched Jacques Pepin’s video several times before attempting and still didn’t do so well. That being said, I’m still proud I attempted it and that to do it in one minute as he says in the video is a long ways off for me. It took me 45 minutes to do my butchered attempt.
During my deboning attempt I ended up with two pieces of chicken instead of it all being held together with the skin, so instead of having a beautifully tied up stuffed Chicken Ballotine, I did mine in four pieces: leg quarters and breasts. After all, part of being a cook is learning how to adapt to changing conditions and ingredients. Don’t forget to save the leftover bones and pieces for chicken stock. Make immediately or freeze until ready to make.
I stuffed the leg quarters and then laid the chicken breasts on a bed of the stuffing so I did meet part of the challenge which was to do leg quarters if I didn’t want to do a whole chicken (of course, I did do a whole chicken but couldn’t get it into a roll for cooking). I will mention this recipe will work for any type of bird such as turkey, quail, Cornish hens and duck. It will also work well for a pork filet or roast.
To help prevent the chicken breasts from overcooking, I laid the chicken tenders on the thinner part of the breasts to make it the same thickness and then only cooked all of it for 20 minutes on 400°. I then tented it with foil for about 30 minutes while I was cooking up my sides, roasted fingerlings potatoes and sautéed asparagus. The chicken was wonderfully moist and beautiful to serve.
For the stuffing, I decided to create mine own using artichokes, sun-dried tomatoes, baby bella mushrooms, garlic, bread crumbs and Pecorino Romano. YUM! The Mediterranean flavors are so flavorful and perfect for roasting with chicken. You can mix your stuffing out of any ingredients that you choose and go for your own flavor profiles or use your favorite stuffing recipe.
If in a hurry, buy leg quarters to the Chicken Ballotine. Remove the bone by watching Jacques Pepin’s video and then stuff with the ingredients of your choice. While I don’t usually recommend processed products, for those of you that are cooking in a hurry, you could use your favorite store-bought stuffing mix. If just cooking dark meat, leave in the oven for about 5 minutes longer to reach done.
I will have to admit, other than deboning the chicken, this recipe is relatively easy and so sophisticated. I served it up with roasted fingerlings potatoes and asparagus for the sides. The entire meal is full of flavor and yet it’s low-fat and healthy.
Chicken Ballotine with Mediterranean Stuffing
1 whole chicken, deboned
Salt and pepper to taste
Mediterranean Stuffing or Stuffing of your choice
Preheat oven to 400°. Place the deboned whole chicken* skin side down on a cutting board and season with salt and pepper. Spread with cool stuffing mix in an even layer over the chicken. Tuck stuffing under the skin of the leg quarters. Roll up the chicken and tie with kitchen string and place into a large roasting pan.
Roast for 1 hour or until temperature reaches 160°F in the center. Remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 20 minutes before slicing. Remove from pan and slice on a platter.
*If you use pieces instead of a whole chicken, your cooking time should only be around 20 to 25 minutes. For chicken breasts, scoop a layer of stuffing onto the pan and nestle the breasts on top. Leg quarters are stuffed and skin pulled around to seal.
If you have problems with the skin browning, turn the oven to broil for the last 5 minutes and watch carefully so as not to burn.
Servings depend on size chicken used.
More Chicken Ballotine Recipes and Ideas: