October 3rd, 2009


One £10 Chicken,Three Meals – Part Two

Chicken and Mushroom Ballotine with Pan Roasted Figs and Crushed Cobnuts

It’s day two of my posh chicken challenge which was to cook three meals for two adults with one £10 chicken. This should make 6 plates of very tasty food = 3 meals.

Well Mr.P  dropped the bombshell when he casually strolled in and told me that the neighbours were coming for dinner. As you can imagine I had a near panic attack , so I was giving him the low down on my thoughts whilst opening the fridge to rummage for inspiration.

…and  there they were the two rather fat chicken legs from the whole posh chicken and the butternut squash trimmings from the delicious anna. With two hours to go before the neighbours arrived I put the wheels in motion as these chicken legs would make a perfect starter for my unexpected dinner party.

The plan was to make a stuffed chicken ballotine with one of the two legs and the other would be used to create the stuffing. I made a chicken mousse with the chicken leg meat, sauteed mushrooms and crushed cobnuts. I stuffed the de-boned chicken leg and wrapped it in slices of pancetta, which was then poached and once my guests arrived  I pan fried the outside to crisp the pancetta.

The final dish was superb, and was a beautiful combination of a warm and cold starter with pan roasted Turkish figs, watercress and a butternut squash puree made from the trimmings,left from the day before, and finally some crushed cobnuts. One leg is big enough to serve four people comfortably with two slices of ballotine per person.

The dinner was lovely and I was very impressed that my £10 chicken has made two very interesting meals so far with enough left over to make one more dish. So far the one 2kg bird has made 6 plates of very good food, look out for part three for final recipe and the end of the road for my £10 chicken.


Chicken Ballotine

  • 2 whole corn fed free range chicken legs
  • 100ml double cream
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 60g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 1tsp unsalted butter
  • 1tbs mixed chopped fresh parsley, oregano and thyme
  • 4 cobnuts crushed
  • 5 slices of pancetta

Bring a medium size saucepan filled with water to the boil while making the ballotine.

First make the mousse:

Heat a medium size non-stick frying pan with the butter and saute the sliced mushrooms with seasoning until golden brown, drain on kitchen paper. Use one of the two legs, remove the skin, bone and sinew and cut 100g of the leg meat into smaller pieces. In a food processor blend the leg meat until smooth, add half of the cream and pulse a couple of times. Add seasoning and the rest of the cream, pulse another two times and transfer the chicken mousse to a smaller mixing bowl. Do not over blend the mousse as it will separate. Fold the cooled drained mushrooms, crushed cobnuts and chopped herbs into the mousse, refrigerate while you are boning the other leg. Keep all the bones for the third and final dish.


De-bone the remaining chicken leg, keeping the skin on and the chicken leg whole. Make sure that there are no splinters of bone left on the inside.

Stuff the leg with the mousse and roll the leg up.

Lay the pancetta slices flat on the chopping board and place the chicken leg on top, roll the pancetta around the chicken leg and wrap in a double layer of clingfilm.

Poach the ballotine in the simmering water for 30 minutes, make sure that the water is simmering and not boiling too fast. Dunk  in ice water to cool it quickly.

Let the ballotine  cool completely whilst making the rest of the components to the dish.

Watercress Vinaigrette

  • 40g fresh watercress, stalks removed
  • 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 50ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1tsp honey
  • 1tsp cider vinegar
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Place the watercress, mustard, honey and vinegar with seasoning in blender and puree until smooth. Slowly add the oil and blend to emulsify, adjust the seasoning if needed.

Butternut Squash Puree

  • 250g of the butternut squash trimmings, chopped
  • 250ml chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1tbs unsalted butter
  • 1tsp honey
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper

In a medium saucepan melt the butter and sautee the squash trimmings until they start to colour add seasoing and the honey.

Add the stock and cook the squash until tender with a lid on, remove the lid and reduce the stock by half.

Transfer the butternut squash to a blender and puree until smooth, chill.

Assembly of the Dish

  • Chilled Chicken Ballotine
  • 2 Turkish firm but ripe figs, cut in 1/4's
  • 4 chestnut mushrooms, cut in 1/4's
  • 2tsp unsalted butter
  • Watercress leaves, washed
  • 4 Cobnuts crushed
  • Butternut squash puree
  • Watercress Vinaigrette

Remove the clingfilm from the ballotine.

Heat a large non-stick frying pan with one teaspoon of butter and brown the pancetta until crispy, drain the ballotine on kitchen paper.Wipe the pan clean with kitchen paper and return to the heat. Melt the remaining butter and sautee the mushrooms until golden with seasoning and add the figs at the end to brown them on both cut sides until golden, remove from the pan.

Heat the butternut squash puree just slightly to break the fridge chill, it does not need to be piping hot.

Select four serving plates and draw a line with the puree, arrange the figs and mushrooms followed by two slices of the chicken ballotine, watercress vinaigrette, leaves and cobnuts.

Serve immediately.

Serve 4

Print Recipe Print Recipe with Photo

9 Comments to “One £10 Chicken,Three Meals – Part Two”

  1. Alice says:

    What would be a starchy food accompaniment for this dish?

  2. Madalene says:

    Dear Alice,

    I recommend you serve a roasted new potatoes with this dish.

    Happy Cooking

  3. Elisa says:

    I made the ballotine yesterday. Did not get the bone out as cleanly as you did but the meat remained whole. Apart from the deboning part, it was very easy to make. The bacon was so nice crispy.

  4. Lizzie says:

    Wow – for a last minute dish that is seriously impressive.

  5. nathan says:

    Another cracking dish, have not made a ballotine of sorts for sometime now. Maybe it`s about time i did…this one!

  6. Elisa says:

    I will print this out! I will make crispy fried chicken with buttermilk biscuits next week and had no idea what to do with the legs because nobody in the family likes them that much but this is brilliant.

    The step-by-step photos are very helpful, too.
    Thank you!

  7. Barry says:

    you bring up sooo many ideas that have gone to the back of the memory… love the thinking of the butternut and cresson vinaigrette…

  8. James says:

    I like ballottines – make it go further. Are the livers up next?

  9. Thermomixer says:

    Thanks. More inspirational work. Like the pancetta being crisped up after poaching.

    Have you tried steaming the ballotines? The Varoma attachment for the Thermomix works a treat for steaming ballotines. I went a bit crazy on making them with various stuffings a while ago.

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