Monday, April 15, 2013

Chicken Ballotine Stuffed with Sausage, Sweet Potato, Pecans, Apples

chicken stuffed sausage sweet potato
Warning: May be triggering for vegetarians.
So, if you've ever wanted to make a turducken, one of the things you have to contend with is de-boning all of the birds. I've never actually wanted to make a turducken, because the idea of stuffing whole animals with whole other animals doesn't exactly appeal to me. Remember that scene in The Temple of Doom where everyone is eating dinner in the creepy-palace and a server cuts open a boa constrictor and out crawl many smaller snakes? Ugh. Also, remember all those stories you heard in Latin class about Roman feasts that involved live birds literally flying out of pies when they were cut open? Unsanitary. I never thought that I’d de-bone a chicken.

 This month, I de-boned a chicken. 

It was awesome because it’s one of those things that seems really difficult until you do it and realize that it’s not that difficult at all. The whole de-boning process took me about 35 minutes and that included a lot of hand-washing-for-photo-taking and multiple pauses and play backs of Jacques Pepin’s video tutorial. Subtract those extras and it probably only took me about 15 minutes for my very first time de-boning a chicken. Jacques says that with some practice, it should really only take you one minute. One minute to de-bone a chicken! If someone knocks on your door, you should be able to say, “Just a minute while I de-bone this chicken,” and still get to them in a timely manner. I wonder if that happens at Jacques Pepin's house. Jacques also reminds you in the video that once you've learned this technique you can use it to de-bone any animal. Am I the only person who found that statement creepy? Any animal.

Watch me de-bone!

Wings first, wiggle your knife to find the joints.
I managed to make one of the wings into one of those little meat lollies.
Remove the wishbone, scrape don't cut.
Cut down the belly, cut through the joints, peal the meat from the bones,
slide your thumb under the fillets.
Scrape along the leg bones, cut around the joints, crack the tips.
I'm a crazy chicken surgeon. My friend said surgeon. Undertaker, really.

After I had my boneless chicken suit (aka, terrifying Halloween costume for a small dog), I stuffed it with a delicious made-up stuffing that appealed to the grain-free section of my brain (often beaten into submission by the cookie section of my brain). I will call this stuffing: Sausage, sweet potato, mushroom, pecan and apple stuffing. There, now you don’t need a recipe. Just cook all of that stuff with some onions, garlic and herbs, and stuff it in your chicken.

Stuff, flip.
Half hitch, half hitch, half hitch.
Bake 350F for an hour or so, to 160F internally.
Slice beautiful slices!
It was pretty good and very fancy looking. And it made me feel very accomplished the way cooking does so especially when I'm avoiding work that I actually have to do. I’d do it all again, for company. Or if J made a special request, since he seemed to really enjoy it. I saw some other Daring Cooks use a rice stuffing, which I’d totally do. I'm particularly taken with the idea of a rice and kimchi stuffing due to a dish that I had at Gio. Mmmm.

chicken galantine stuffed with sausage and sweet potato

For the April Daring Cooks Challenge, Lisa from Parsley, Sage and Sweet ( 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.

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