Saturday, April 05, 2008
I good shot at making a Ballotine
This is the story of what happens when you read (really glance over) a technique, misplace the book you saw it in and then go ahead and make it anyway with out even consulting the internet.
A ballotine is a de-boned bird of any kind or fish that is stuffed, tied up and braised or poached.
Not quite a fail, but it could have been done with more finesse. Still a ballotine might always call for some extra grace in preparation until you become expert at doing it.
Mine came out boarder-line comical and looked like something my 5 year old would have done to her little brother if left alone with enough rope.
You can stuff a ballotine with meat or stuffing, and I went with stuffing.
Here is how it went down:
Ballotine with Fig and Pecan Stuffing
I made some stuffing by browning some mirepoix in olive oil then adding some:
Brown some more, deglaze with:
1/2 cup stock
Then I added:
1/2 baguette day old or toasted, ripped into smallish chunks
& more stock
Then I let the stuffing chill.
My sister who ran the gambit and got her chefs degree in Paris gave me a nice little tip to chill your stuffing. Adding it hot possibly allows the interior stuffing to come to just the temperature that bad bacteria love and may or may not give you some sort of food poisoning.
Next, prepare a de-boned chicken (I had my butcher de-bone it and kept the bones for stock) by pounding the breast out some and removing the wings. Salt the inside.
Cut a large piece of kitchen twine. I really shouldn't tell you how to do it as mine was so funky, but here is it. . .
Lay the kitchen twine under the bird in such a way that it runs along where the spine used to be.
Then, add 1-1.5 cups of the stuffing on top if the center of the bird and press it down evenly.
adding a few asparagus spears it the center is optional, but it tastes good and looks pretty in the end. Now, fold the bird inward as tightly and evenly as possible. Bring the kitchen twine around it, so it meets close to the bottom of the bird, twist the strings together as you would wrapping ribbon around a package, then flip the bird and proceed to wrap the twine around it 3 or four times at evenly spaced increments.
Make sure the twine is tight evenly, then tie it off and cut off any extra twine or chicken bits.
Salt the exterior.
Now braise it in a heavy bottomed pan over med high heat until the exterior is evenly browned.
Pop in the oven at 400 and cook for 45 minutes.
Remove, let it rest 15 minutes to half and hour. Slice thru the twine and slice as you would a loaf of bread. Use the pan drippings for gravy or just spoon it over the meat.
Mine came out slightly underdone just at the point where it cooked against the asparagus. This is because I put them in while still partially frozen. Not so smart. I was trying to over compensate for the fact I hadn't let my stuffing cool very much. My bad. I just pulled that piece out and served myself that section just in case.
It was good. And sloppily elegant if that makes any sense. I also liked the fact that the bones are left out and uncooked to make a proper light stock with later.
So, not so much a fail, as I think about it.