Chicken Ballotine, or “Stuffed Chicken”

Sometime last week, Neil woke me up to watch a YouTube video of Chef Jacques Pepin deboning a chicken. Before you ask, this is totally normal for us. Despite being groggy, I was completely enthralled by how little time it took for him to completely debone a chicken making minimal use of knives. When the video was over, Neil was all “we are so trying that this weekend.” I nodded, still staring at the screen in a daze.

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So on Friday night, we picked up the chicken and watched the video several more times. On Saturday we decided what we wanted to stuff it with, and went back to the store and picked up those ingredients. On Sunday, we prepped, deboned and baked the chicken. Somehow this little ‘experiment’ spanned our entire weekend and required two trips to the store. It was both hilarious and somewhat embarrassing that the grocery store cashier knew what we were making for Sunday dinner. We definitely amuse them sometimes.

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Deboning a chicken was actually as easy as Chef Pepin made it out to be — with the exception with our added stops along the way to clear more countertop space and wipe down areas affected by the chicken.

I’ll spare you a full tutorial since working with meat isn’t exactly picturesque, but here are a few highlights of the deboning:

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Removing the lollipops…

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Fancy!

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Separating the meat from the rest of the carcass…

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The filets..

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Butterflying the meat..

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Trimming the filets…

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Removing the last of the bones…

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We salt and peppered the chicken both inside and out.

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We then turned our attention to the stuffing…

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We stuffed it with:
4 strips of cooked bacon, roughly chopped
5-6 cups of spinach that we sweated in the pan after cooking the bacon (adds great flavor)
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
salt and pepper to taste for both the inside and outside of the chicken and the mixture

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We then tied it together as Chef Pepin instructed and placed it in an oiled roasting pan

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We baked it for…

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To die for. We’ve made stuffed pork loin before, and don’t get me wrong, I love it. But this chicken was life changing. And despite the fact that our process looked a bit more like a felony than preparing a meal, it really wasn’t that bad. We could have spent the same amount of time and effort removing the meat from a baked whole chicken (bone-in). Deboning it ensures the flavors and stuffings you choose get closer to more of the meat.

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Served with a little asparagus!

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And completely Paleo!

Have you amazed yourself in the kitchen recently?



Comments

  1. Rachel says:

    This looks awesome! I have a couple whole chickens and even turkeys in my deep freeze. I guess it’s time to get fancy with it!

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