Chicken bones about it

chicken ballontine

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.

When Lisa published her challenge I was both super excited and intimidated. She has hosted other challenges before and every single one was amazing so I knew this one was going to be no exception. Deboning a chicken has been on my list of techniques to learn for quite some time but that was deboning chicken cutlets without turning them into shreds! Deboning a whole chicken was taking things into a whole new level!

I decided to prepare everything THEN watch the video. That way I would not “chicken out”-excuse the pun- and I have to say that it was a little time-consuming but worth every single minute. The end result will change the way you look at roasted chicken forever. My family loved it so much that I actually made the recipe again the next week and now when you ask my 4-year-old son what would you like to eat her would say tied chicken with freekeh. Thank you Lisa for a wonderful challenge

Before you start, remember to keep a clean area!  Make sure everything is washed thoroughly before proceeding.  After you’ve boned out the chicken – wash and sterilize everything – from the table to the cutting board, towels, knives etc.  Finally, save the carcass and bones to make stock!  Freeze in a freezer bag if you’re not going to make stock immediately – up to 1 year.

One more tip from Lisa:When you watch the video you will realized that you will have to rewind each step several times. Considering that you’ll be watching it online…I recommend placing your laptop or Ipad, or whatever you use, on the table you’re doing the deboning.  Wrap your laptop keyboard and touch pad with cling film.When you need to rewind, wrap your fingers/hand in a clean towel to do so. You can wash your hands every time you need to rewind, but trust me, unless you already have experience boning out a whole chicken, it can get tedious because you may  be rewinding a lot!

One year ago:The Daring Cooks’ April 2012 Challenge – Create Your Own Recipe!

Two years ago:Daring cooks April 2011 challenge…edible containers

chicken with freekeh

Recipe Source: Essential Pepin –

Ballotine of Chicken

Servings: 4 -6


1 chicken (about 3-3/4 pounds) (1-3/4 kg), boned

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon all spice

1/4 teaspoon caradmom

Olive oil to rub the chicken

2 tablespoons butter to paste the chicken while cooking

Freekeh filling (see recipes below).

Rosemary garlic potatoes


Debone the chicken using the instructions in this video. Another instance where a video is worth a million words

1 Preheat the oven to moderately hot 400°F/200°C/gas mark 6.
2 Lay the chicken skin side down on the work surface and sprinkle with the salt and pepper. Spread the cool stuffing evenly over the chicken – stuffing the legs too.Roll the chicken up, tie it with kitchen string, and place it in a roasting pan.

3 Rub the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with all spice, salt and cardamom

chicken tied
4 Roast the ballotine for about 1 hour or until the temperature is 160-165 degrees F in the center of the ballotine. I took mine out after 40 minutes and rubbed it with butter then placed it under the broiler to get the golden brown color

5 Lift it from the pan and place it on a platter.

sliced chicken ballotine

Freekeh and mixed vegetable stuffing filling

2 cups freekeh
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

200 gm beef cubed into 1 cm cubes (optional)
1 cup mixed vegetables (I used frozen peas, carrots and green beans)
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cardamom

You can read more about freekeh and how to prepare it here. I used the same recipe except for adding the beef, you brown the beef first then proceed with the recipe in the exact same way in the link.

chicken ballotine with freekeh

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