Thursday, April 18, 2013

So excited but so late now!

So I have been missing for a while with my DaringKitchen Challenge, but this month I did complete the Daring Cooks Challenge, and it was amazing!

It was a challenge to challenge for sure! I was super nervous about it in the beginning but quickly found it to be fun and exiting, as cooking challenges go.

Blog-checking lines: 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.

We deboned a whole chicken. I was so fortunate while at the grocery getting the chicken my store had two nice sized chickens for just under 10 dollars which I felt was a steal and if I "butchered" the first one I always had the second one to fall back on. I watched the Jacque Pepin video probably 15 times before I felt confident to give it a go. I also have to add that while I have some nice knives I really thought I should get a new one, so I took my gift card that was a gift at Christmas from my friend Annie to Sur Le Table and started shopping for a new knife. I knew after watching Jacque all I really needed was a good sturdy quality blade that could be easily managed. It was so fun shopping for the knife and I got the professionals discount because the sales clerk was impressed by my intended plan for the knife and stated if you are tackling that you surely deserve the professional discount! Anyway enough about the knife; we are here to debone a chicken. I looked at the bird and was a bit anxious at first but as things go I was not about to "chicken" out.. Sorry I could not resist.

Anyway here is the work on the chicken.

 I will not be over come with fear. The new knife is on the left.

 This really seems like a big chicken.

 Off with the wings.

Jacque does this thing where he makes chicken lolly pops, I totally messed mine up.  

Cutting down the back of the bird.

Out comes the leg bone.

Fully boned out bird, see how nicely the body over laps itself. 

Now to season and stuff the bird.

I had grand plans for the stuffing, I had decided to just "wing" it. Okay I will do my best to layoff the puns.. Anyway so I thought I would do a cranberry, leek, stuffing with goat cheese and walnuts. I was so thrilled once I was done with the deboning that I completely left out the goat cheese and the walnuts.

Here are the ingredients to my stuffing though, and I am sorry to say I have no measurements other than my hand and eyeballing. 8 ounces of day old Italian bread cubed into about 1/2 inch cubes, a hand full of dried cranberries boiled in about 3/4 cup of water for 10 minutes to reconstitute, 1 leek halved and sliced into half coins, one onion diced, both are sauteed in a bit of olive oil and butter; add every thing together in a bowl then throw in your favorite seasonings; I used salt and pepper along with some lemon rosemary and dried orange zest that I had on hand. You stuffing will look like this.

Leek and onion cooking.

Yes those are ice cubes you see in the stuffing as I did not plan well enough and had to cool it down before putting it in the bird below.

Here is the stuffed bird before trussing. 

Finally the trussed bird in a roasting pan, seasoned with some salt, pepper, and butter. The trussing I think really was the most difficult part. I placed it on some onions to roast.
Into the oven that bird went for around an hour or so, I checked the internal temp of the stuffing to ensure a full 165 degrees and then took it out. It looked nice, I would have liked a bit more color though on the skin.
It smelled like heaven.

I loved how easy it was to slice this and it was still beautiful.

Some close ups of the stuffing. It was so moist and tasty.
So after cooking and remembering that I had left out the goat cheese as well as the walnuts I was a bit disappointed, however I have pretty flexible when it comes to cooking so I did some mashed goat cheese potatoes and placed a slice of goat cheese on top of the slices of chicken. I did not make a sauce and instead used a cranberry orange chutney from the local grocery store which was the perfect addition.

Some close ups of the final product on the plate.

So Ashley loved it, the leftovers were better than the first time around. I also took some to work to share with folks and several people were glad to get to taste the end result. Now I have that second bird still left to do something with. Ash had requested that I do something like his favorite dish that I make which has a small chicken picatta similarity. I am still playing with the ideas in my head, but when it is done I will follow up with an additional post. I hope that you enjoyed the photos and that you take some time to watch Jacque Pepin complete the task of deboning a chicken. Happy Cooking to you. 


  1. I SO enjoyed reading your post!! I love how you approached this challenge with such determination, even getting a new boning knife! I'm so glad you got a discount because you tol the clerk you were deboning a chicken! It really is a five-star culinary endeavor well worth a discount! That said..WOW, you nailed it! Your ballotine looks amazing, and even though you left out the goat cheese and walnuts..the stuffing looks and sounds incredible! As for browning the bird, I usually get gorgeous color when I rub the bird all over with room temperature butter - like slather it! This time I used oil, and I barely got any color either. I'm so glad you took part in my challenge! Beautifully done!

  2. Mmmm Mmmm! Im now ready for Thanksgiving! :)