Ballotine of chicken with wild mushrooms

Ballotine of chicken with wild mushrooms

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy


Quantity Ingredient
1 chicken, about 1.35 kg
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
50ml sunflower oil
freshly ground black pepper

For the stuffing

Quantity Ingredient
15g dried porcini mushrooms
1 shallot
1 garlic clove
tarragon sprigs
30g pancetta
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
30g fine fresh white breadcrumbs

For the sauce

Quantity Ingredient
75g wild mushrooms
15g butter
75ml port
75ml red wine
125ml reserved mushroom juices
125ml Brown chicken and veal stock
1 teaspoon arrowroot


  1. Place the dried porcini for the stuffing in a small bowl, cover with boiling water and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
  2. Bone out the chicken for use as a ballotine, using the extra 2 chicken breasts and remove the brown meat (reserve for the stuffing). Fold the boned chicken over in half, cover and refrigerate until ready to stuff. Trim the tendons from the leg and thigh meat, then put the meat in a food processor with a pinch of salt and pulse until breaking up but not turning smooth. Transfer the minced leg and thigh meat to a bowl and set aside.
  3. To make the stuffing, drain the porcini, straining and reserving the soaking liquor for the sauce, and chop finely. Halve, peel and finely dice the shallot and peel and crush the garlic. Chop enough tarragon leaves to give you ½–1 teaspoon. Derind the pancetta and cut into 5 mm dice; set aside. Heat the 1 tablespoon oil in a small saucepan over a low heat and sweat the shallot until soft but not coloured. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
  4. Add the porcini, sweated shallot and garlic, tarragon, pancetta and breadcrumbs to the minced leg and thigh meat. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. To check the seasoning, fry a teaspoonful and taste.
  5. Place a piece of muslin, 25 x 35 cm, in a bowl and pour over boiling water. Once cool enough to handle, wring out all the water, put the muslin back into the drained bowl, and pour over the sunflower oil, so that the muslin soaks it up.
  6. Lay the oiled muslin out on a board and sprinkle with salt. Lay the boned chicken skin side down on the muslin and, if necessary, rearrange the breast meat as evenly as possible over the skin. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Shape the stuffing into a sausage and lay it lengthways down the centre of the chicken. Carefully bring the chicken, supported by the muslin, around the stuffing, ensuring it is tightly rolled without too much of an overlap. Wrap in the muslin and secure the ends with string. The ballotine should be about 6 cm in diameter. Chill for 30 minutes to set the shape.
  8. Heat the oven to 200°C. Meanwhile, prepare the wild mushrooms by brushing off excess grit and tearing them into bite-sized pieces.
  9. Place the chilled chicken ballotine on a wire rack set over a baking tray and cook in the oven for 45 minutes–1 hour, or until a skewer pushed into the centre of the stuffing and left for 10 seconds feels very hot when held briefly against your inner wrist. Once cooked, remove the muslin immediately to prevent it from sticking to the skin. Keep the ballotine warm.
  10. Make the sauce while the chicken is cooking. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium to high heat and sauté the mushrooms quickly for 2–3 minutes. Remove to a bowl and set aside. Deglaze the pan with the port and wine and simmer until reduced by half. Add the reserved mushroom liquor (leaving 1–2 tablespoons in the bowl in which there might be grit). Pour in the stock and bring back to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and reduce the liquid again by half. Slake the arrowroot with a little water and whisk into the sauce. Bring back to a simmer and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Season to taste with salt and pepper and return the mushrooms to the sauce.
  11. Carve the ballotine on a slight diagonal into slices 1–1.5 cm thick. Place 2 or 3 slices on each plate and pour a little of the sauce around the chicken. Serve with a green vegetable, such as asparagus.
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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