Chicken ballotine with wild mushroom sauce

I realised the other day that I’d not posted anything on here in ages and the reason is that I’ve, once again, been eating things that I cook all the time and which I have blogged already.

Anyway, last night I cooked something pretty special because we had a friend over for dinner.

A ballotine is a dish made from boned,stuffed and rolled poultry. These were traditionally tied with butcher’s string but nowadays clingfilm is common, particularly if you are poaching the meat. They are similar to paupiettes.

I used boned and skinned chicken breasts which I cut open with a filleting knife and then beat out thinly with a meat hammer, with the meat between two pieces of clingfilm.

The stuffing was made from pork and wild mushroom sausages, with the meat removed from the sausage skins, and cubes of black pudding.

The ballotines were rolled up in clingfilm into a nice tight sausage shape, with the ends firmly twisted as tight as possible and chilled until it was time to cook them.

I soaked some dried morels and ceps in boiling water to extract the rich mushroom flavours. I removed the soaked mushrooms from the water, cutting the morels in half and chopping the ceps into pieces The saved soaking water would be the basis of the stock for the sauce.

The sauce was made by sautéeing the soaked mushroom pieces in butter and adding a glass of dry white wine, which was allowed to boil and reduce a bit before the mushroom water was added, taking care not to add the gritty sediment which you always get with dried mushrooms. I also added a small amount of jellied chicken stock for more flavour. This was further reduced and then seasoned with a little salt and pepper. It was quite thick at this point but it could have been thickened with some potato flour or corn flour mixed with cold water, if desired.

The ballotines were poached in boiled water for about 20 minutes and left in the water to keep warm while the dish was finished off.

I served the ballotines cut into three pieces, with carrots and green beans and with the wild mushroom sauce poured over the plate.

I also fried some cubes of potato, which were added last of all at the table.

The wine we drank with this was a classic red Burgundy, a 2008 Savigny lès Beaune from the Cave de Nolay, a lovely rich example of classic Burgundian Pinot Noir, with a nice depth of flavour, good tannins and that classic whiff of the farmyard on the nose.