Thursday, September 30, 2010

Skin and Bones

Warning: If raw meat gives you the heebie-jeebies, ignore this post entirely. 'Boning' is not for the faint of heart, as I quickly learned.

Because misery really does love company, friends and I often gather to master complicated culinary techniques. In the past we've baked macaroons, home-cured salt pork and, most recently, boned chickens à la Chef Jacques Pepin. By the way, why isn't the term deboning?

The first round of gutting took an hour to complete and was filled with girly shrieks of both disgust and conquest. The second round was done in 25 minutes. We dubbed ourselves the Julia's of Malaysia; we may have gotten cocky.

After boning we made chicken ballotines by stuffing the birds with sausage, apples and sage. Cue more high-fiving and celebratory toasting because stuffing meat with more meat is downright thrilling.

The laborious process was worth every bit of the blood, sweat and near tears. And upon completion you forget having to 'pop' a spongy vein from the chicken's neck overzealously declare the next mission to be a Turduken. Who says being a lady of leisure is all sunbathing and cocktails? Well, maybe the cocktail part is true...

Sausage, Apple and Sage Stuffed Boneless Whole Chicken

1 chicken
1 lb (450 g) pork sausage meat [We made our own using this recipe.]
3 apples, peeled and chopped
2 onions, finely chopped
1 cup celery, finely chopped
1 tbsp sage, chopped
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
3 cups fresh breadcrumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
2 - 3 eggs
salt and pepper

Bone your chicken. Earn the right to curse and drink. A lot.

Heat oil in a large saucepan and cook sausage meat until it has browned, breaking the meat up with a fork while cooking. Drain the meat juices and fat, leaving ¼ of a cup of the juices in the pan to saute the vegetables in. Transfer the cooked sausage meat to a large mixing bowl.

Fry the chopped apples, celery and onion in saucepan with the sausage meat drippings for about 10 minutes or until ingredients are fairly soft. Remove from heat and add to the sausage meat along with the breadcrumbs, parsley, sage, salt and pepper. Mix all ingredients well. Add the two beaten eggs, mix thoroughly to bind and fill the bird's body cavity.

Truss boned and stuffed chicken and bake in a 350ºF oven for 1 hour 30 minutes until the internal temperature registers just under 180ºF. Baste often and keep an eye on the skin to make sure it doesn't burn; I placed foil over the pan for half of the cooking time.

[photos by Ann Kaufman.]


mrs boo radley said...

I love that you did this! Hooray for meat and poultry and knife skillz!

Sista said...

OK, I'm soooo glad you're my sister because: a) you are a rock star for all things you've accomplished, & b)results looked OH so damn tasty, buuut "popping of neck thingies" sounds so damn GROSS that I am just going to defer this lil "joy" to you & simply saddle up to said dinner table with my tabouli & kibbeh! DEAL?

Courtney said...

Deal. I'm always up for company and family saddling up to said dinner table! I wonder if Hen Man will like my chicken ballotine?

Ann said...

Ohh, such a fun day! Can't wait until the next crazy experiment.

Suzanne Peters said...

Hello Courtney,
It must have be divine intervention to have stumbled upon your blog in a search of Malaysia. My boyfriend has been offered a job in KL (he just flew in today) and we are to be moving the first of the year! He is originally from Houston, but we live in SW Florida now. I have been driving him crazy with questions, that will be better answered this week but.....some things just can't be googled....where will we live? do we ship over our cars? can we bring the dogs? will they be okay on the way over? etc...etc... You and your blog have made the transition look like a walk in the park! (My boyfriend thanks you) I would love to chat via email, I tried through your blog, but it would only go to a blank screen. Please email me back at It would be greatly appreciated!!!
Thank you! Suzanne

melissa davis said...

Wow- impressive!! Happy Thanksgiving Courtney!!

Sarah said...

Wonderful blog! What fun to practice so many dishes with another friend in the kitchen. I would love that! I'll have to scroll down to see if you posted photos and story about making macaroons. That sounds so difficult but my husband and I would love to try it.

cream suits said...

Oh nice looks like Delicious this is the most awesome chicken ballotines its boneless you don't need to worry to eat because it's boneless all you need is to eat and eat that was amazing.i will make this one for my wife thanks for the Recipes.great job!