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.