Sunday, April 14, 2013

April 2013 Daring Cooks' Challenge Ballotine

This has been one of the best challenges for the Daring Cooks'. Lisa from  the blog Parsley, Sage and Sweet did an amazing job in writing up the challenge and finding a wonderful video by Jacques Pepin about making ballotine. That is boning a bird and stuffing it and then rolling it and roasting it. I enjoyed it so much I did three versions. Thank you Lisa so much for all the effort!

See here for a PDF of this challenge 

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.

Turkey Ballotine
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I was going to make quail stuffed with lemon, lime and orange served with a chilli date sauce. But when I got to the shops I found that there was no quails but turkey was on special at only $1/kg (about 50cents/pound), and that the wild cranberries were only 50 cents a punnet. Believing in using what is at its peak I went with the flow and did turkey with parsley, mint, cranberry and sourdough crumb stuffing. The deboning process took about 8 mins, the stuffing and tieing took about 10 mins so about 18 mins in total 

One kilogram (2.2 pounds) piece of turkey
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The deboned turkey notice the bones to the side
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The deboned turkey skin side-up
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The cranberry, parsley, mint and sourdough stuffing (yum yum). The stuffing is a combination of cranberry, parsley, mint, sourdough crumbs, rosemary olive oil, fried red onion, pepper and sea salt.
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The trussed and stuffed turkey
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I like to rest the trussed and stuffed turkey for a couple of hours in the fridge it helps set the shape and stops the ballotine from unrolling during roasting. I usually rub "chicken" salt into the skin which helps to brown it that is why the skin is yellow.
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The roasted turkey ballotine
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After resting in the fridge overnight the ballotine firmed up beautifully. It sliced very cleanly and thinly which is what I wanted. This is such a lovely tasting and looking dish perfect for a picnic lunch.
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Orange molasses quail with macadamia swede purée 


I got some fresh quails from a friend of mine who raises them. I de-boned (my first time de-boning the tiny birds) them (about 5 mins after the third bird) then I made a stuffing of orange molasses, fresh toasted rye breadcrumbs, chilli oyster sauce, brown sugar, orange peel and whole hard-boiled quail eggs. Orange molasses is tart-ish which works surprisingly well in the stuffing and as a glaze on the quail. Roast the quails for 25mins at 200C. Then I made up some swede purée combined with a ½ cup of macadamia nut butter – this combination is superbly rich, creamy and thick it has an amazing taste. Several people have asked me this question "Was the quail easier to debone than the chicken?" Yes since they are so tiny they are easier to handle and the flesh peels off really easy I thought. Also they look so cute since they are so small and dainty. Usually quail are full of little bones which can make them a bit messy to eat.

Fresh quails


De-boned quail  (I left the really tiny wings on the carcass )


Orange molasses quail with macadamina swede purée  


(Yes that is a quail egg in the deboned quail so cute)

The crisp skinned quail was the perfect counterpoint to the purée and it is nice to have quail without the bones the de-boning is well worth the five minutes it takes.

Turkey Ballotine with prune filling
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I loved this challenge so much I had to do another ballotine (my third for this challenge), I used turkey again since it was still on sale at 75cents/kg (34 cents/lb). The stuffing was bitter greens, sweet prunes, fried red onion rings and old-day bread crumbs, which was so tasty anyway. I used a hint of honey on the skin with plenty of salt and pepper, the skin really browned up so well. 
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I getting so quick at boning now it took about 3 mins this time.


Lisa said...

Wow, Audax, I just realized, I've known you over 4 years via The Daring Kitchen, and in that time, we've both hosted several challenges, and although I've gone through a bad spell, challenge wise - due to many factors, we've done so many challenges together! I was so hoping you would take part, and 'take part' is an understatement! You are definitely gifted with the 'deboning' gene, if there is one lol A turkey in 8 minutes is amazing! It looks outstanding, as do your quails! Thanks so much for jumping right in and completely blowing me, and everyone. away! :)

Cher Rockwell said...

Your turkey ballotine is great.

I agree - this is one of the best challenges that the Daring Cooks have done so far.

The Garlic Press said...

Both of your ballotines are lovely! Was the quail much harder because it's so much smaller?

Aisha said...

You chicken looks stunning!! Love it!!

Don't Make Me Call My Flying Monkeys! said...

Go big or go home is how the saying goes and you traveled from big to small and back again! Love your quail. I did cornish hens and they were no more difficult than a big chicken. As always, I will be borrowing some of your stuffings. Wonderful!!

Monkeyshines in the Kitchen said...

They look wonderful, Audax... it's great that you were able to make such beautiful dishes at both ends of the poultry size spectrum! Ballotine of quail sounds perfect, they are otherwise a bit fiddly to eat with all those little bones... Great work!

Renata said...

Wow, Audax, from huge turkey to mini quail, you're fantastic! Your stuffings sound delicious and your birds so golden and amazing looking. 3 minutes deboning the second turkey... I'm in awe! As always, a wonderul job on the challenge. Thanks for your lovely comment on mine :)

Lisa Del Villardo said...

Is it an egg in the quail ?? amazing...

Ruth Ellis said...

Deboning at opposite ends of the poultry spectrum - love it! Delicious sounding stuffings too - and you're right - it was a fantastic challenge.

Joanne T Ferguson said...

G'day! WOW done in three minutes now, TRUE!
I only have 40 something minutes to reduce to catch up to you lol
Well done and loved the quail and flavor combination too!
I too was curious was it easier on a smaller bird or a larger bird, TRUE!
Cheers! Joanne
What's On The List?

Sawsan@chef in disguise said...

Hats off to you Audax for doing so many different variations and finishing the deboning in so little time. It takes me 10 minutes to debone a chicken, I only did two this month but I can't wait to make this again. Love all the flavor combinations in your fillings too.
Beautiful job as always on the challenge

Lothluin said...

Wow, 3 ballotines!! They look great, I love the one with the egg inside. Must try it next time.

barb said...

Beautiful job! I was wondering about larger and smaller birds, and you hit both ends of the scale and with some really amazing-sounding stuffings. The quail egg is visually stunning, too. Amazing and inspiring, as always.

Inma Miranda said...

Your orange molasses quail looks lovely, now it is in my "to do list"

Lisa said...

Dang..I was hoping to see some amazing and unique 'en croutes' from you, but I know how busy you've been, so I'll just wait cool my heels until next time ;D. Thanks so much for your comment about the Tourte Milanese. I've loved it since I first saw Michel Richard make it. I'd love to see what you make that is similar!

All Seasons Catering said...

What great dishes and the photos are also fabulous. Keep up the good work!