Ballottine of Chicken with Spinach Mushroom Filling Recipe

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About a month ago, I walked into the room while my sister was watching Jacques Pepin on PBS.  He was doing an episode with chicken dishes.  I was a bit distracted at the time because I was busy doing my grilling for my Sears class.  What did catch my attention is when I saw him start to completely debone a chicken.  I’d never seen anyone do that before and thought, hey I could do that.  I stopped what I was doing to sit down and watch.  He made a simple filling tied up the stuffed chicken and roasted it in the oven.  Simple, right?

I went online and pinned the recipe thinking I’d have a chance to try it out this fall.  Wednesday I was at the Jewel and they had five pound chickens marked down to about $3.  What a steal!!  Decision made on what to make with it.

Let me tell you that I’ve never bought or worked with a whole chicken before.  NEVER!  I’ve cooked turkeys but never a chicken.  I’m telling you this to show you that you can do this too.  Make sure to check out the video here as it shows Pepin deboning the entire chicken.  I referenced it several times while working on mine.

Pepin stated that it only takes him about 45 seconds to debone an entire chicken.  I’m not that fast at it, but I definitely think after doing it once I’ll be able to do it much quicker next time.  I definitely can see making this in the future with all kinds of stuffing.  I’d also consider doing a small turkey.

I’ve changed the filling and the sauce because we love mushrooms and get migraines from red wine.  I also used a larger chicken.

Ballottine of Chicken with Spinach and Mushroom Filling

1 chicken (5 lb), boned
Spinach & Mushroom Stuffing

Spinach, Mushroom, Cheese and Bread Stuffing

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
5 ounces spinach leaves
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups cubed (1/2 inch) bread

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or skillet.  Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook till mushrooms release their liquid.  Add spinach and cook for 1 minute to wilt the spinach.  Set aside to cool.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Lay the deboned chicken skin side down on the work surface and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Spread the spinach mixture evenly over chicken, making sure to stuff legs and wings.  Spread with bread and cheese, also stuffing into legs and wings.  Roll the chicken up, tie it with kitchen string, and place it in a roasting pan.  Tent with tinfoil.  (Don’t forget the tinfoil, the chicken spits a lot and you’ll just end up with a greasy oven)

Roast for 1 hour.  Lift it from the pan and place it on a platter.


1/3 cup water
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 celery stalk, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice (1/3 cup)
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Skim off and discard most of the fat from the drippings in the pan.  Add the water and wine to the drippings to deglaze the pan, and heat over medium heat, stirring to loosen and melt the solidified juices.

Strain the juices into a saucepan.  Add the celery, onion and carrot and bring to a boil over high heat.  Cover, reduce the heat to low, and boil gently for 5 minutes.  Stir in the dissolved cornstarch and soy sauce and bring the mixture back to a boil, stirring, to thicken it.  Remove from the heat.

Transfer the ballottine to a cutting board and remove the string.  Cut half of it into 4 or 5 slices, each about 1 inch thick.  Return the uncut half of the ballottine to the serving platter and arrange the cut slices in front of it. Pour the sauce over and around the ballottine, garnish with parsley, and serve.

Susie Savors: While this dish looks a bit different, almost like a loaf of bread when sliced, it is anything but strange.  Classic flavors from any roasted chicken dish.  This version was enjoyed warm and cold.  I wished there were more of the sauce to pour over noodles.  The savory mix of carrots and onions and celery pair well with any stuffing.  Not to mention this dish is quite healthy.  Especially if you’re like me and take the skin off, but when cooking that skin packs in the moisture and flavors.

*This recipe is adapted from Jacques Pepin*

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