Cozy fall feast
November's menu includes a ballotine, or whole boned stuffed chicken. Boning a whole chicken and leaving it mostly intact takes a little practice, but in time you can do it quickly, and it's always fun and rather impressive! For a great video demonstration we recommend Jacques Pepin's Cooking Techniques
- it's where we learned!
- Find the wishbone, cut on either side of its length, and remove it.
- Cut the skin of the back, through to the carcass.
- Cut off the wingtips.
- Articulate the wing to find the shoulder joint, and insert the knife between the shoulder and the collar bone equivalents. Cut all the way through all of the tendons and sinews. Pull down on the wing towards the legs to pull the flesh away from the carcass. Stop when you see the "oyster" and cut around it. Pop the hip joint by pulling the knee toward you and then pushing it up and away to expose the hip socket. Repeat on the other side.
- Pull both wings all the way down and pull all the flesh of the chicken from the carcass.
- The breast meat should have come with the rest of the chicken, but the tenders are still clinging to the sternum. Run your finger along the bone to loosen and remove them. To remove the tough sinew from the meat, hold it tight to the cutting board with a paper or dish towel, and scrape the meat off the sinew.
- To remove the leg bones, scrape the meat from the bone, starting from the hip and working to the knee. Cut through to the bone below the knee, and then scrape again to the "ankle." Now push the bone back into the leg (you had inverted it) so it's right-side-out and looks whole again. Bring the back side of the knife down with a whack on the "ankle" to break it. When you have done that, you can simply pull out the leg bones intact. Repeat on the other side.
- Finally, remove the wing bones, by scraping, or simply yanking them out.
- Lay your deboned chicken out flat, skin side down, and fill in any empty spaces with the reserved tenders. You may want to butterfly the breast a bit to make the meat as even a layer throughout as possible.
- Spread your preferred filling evenly over the exposed flesh, not forgetting to stuff some inside the legs, and then fold the long edges toward one another to make a roll.
- Use kitchen twine to tie the "ankles" together with a knot, leaving a bit of string on the end.
- Loop the string under your chicken, then draw the free end under the loop on top of the chicken, the end toward the ankles. Then pull it over the top of the loop and towards the head. Repeat until you reach the other end of the chicken and it is firmly tied. Then gently flip it over, and loop the free end under/over the strings on the other side, finishing by tying the free end to the bit you left at the ankles, and cut off the excess.
- Bake and enjoy!