The southern region of Gascony in France is known for its culinary prestige and traditions, in no small part due to the abundance of duck foie gras as well as roquefort cheese (“the king of cheeses”).
But duck isn’t the only poultry on the menu. Chicken is also a part of their diet, and during our Cooking in Gascony culinary vacation, guests will have the chance to learn about boning a chicken, as well as learning firsthand on how to make this dish, ballotine de poulet, along with the sauce that traditionally goes with it.
If you’d like to give this delicious dish a try before heading to Gascony for a cooking class, here’s a recipe from Chefs David and Bernard.
Ballotine de Poulet (Chicken Ballotine)
Prep time: 240 minutes
Cook time: 90 minutes
Cook method: Simmer, Roast
- 1 oven-ready chicken (about 3 1/3 lbs)
- 170 grams (about 3/4 cup) onion
- 200 grams (just over 7 ounces) pork, minced
- Sage, chopped (to taste)
- Parsley, chopped (to taste)
- 40 grams (just under 1.5 ounces) breadcrumbs
- Egg, to bind
- 300 ml demi glace (see below)
- 100 grams mushrooms, chopped
- 200 grams carrot, chopped
- 2 celery sticks, chopped
- 1 teaspoon tomato puree
- 140 ml red wine
- 100 ml port
- 1 garlic clove, chopped
- 200 grams onion, chopped
- 25 grams dried wild mushrooms, chopped
- 80 grams fresh wild mushrooms
- Bay leaf
- Olive oil
1. Start by boning out the whole chicken (or ask your butcher to bone it for you but be sure to ask for the bones).
2. Make the demi-glace sauce as follows: Brown the chicken bones in a 425 degree oven until browned, about 30 minutes. Brown 100 gr onion, 100 gr carrots, and 1 celery rib in 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbps oil, then add the bones, water to cover, and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 2 hours, straining off any foam and adding more water if needed. Strain the brown stock through a fine sieve, then return to the pan and cook until reduced by 3/4, skimming as needed. Season and reserve for later.
3. In them meantime, put the dried wild mushrooms in a bowl, and cover them with hot water. Once they’ve softened, strain the mushrooms and reserved the stock (as it’ll be a soaking liquid). Chop the fresh mushrooms.
4. Start making the stuffing. To do this, chop the onions and then cook them until they soften. Mix in the pork, herbs, crumbs, and seasoning. To this mixture, add the egg to bind. This meaty mixture is called a ‘farce.’ Spread the farce on the chicken, and then roll and tie the chicken.
5. Roast the chicken at 180°C (350°F) for about 90 minutes, basting the chicken occasionally.
6. Return to the sauce, sauté the rest of the onions, carrots, and celery, add the garlic, mushrooms, and the softened dried wild mushrooms until everything is soft. Then add in the tomato puree.
7. Next pour the wine, port, and mushroom stock into the sauce, and reduce by half.
8. Add 300 ml demi glace (reserving the rest for later use), bay leaf, and thyme, and cook it well.
9. Strain the sauce and return it to the pan. Add the fresh wild mushrooms and season.
10. Continue cooking the sauce until the correct consistency is achieved. Serve the ballotine sliced with a side of roasted vegetables or potatoes, some of the wild mushrooms, and the sauce.
The cooking vacation to Gascony includes hands-on cooking classes as well as visits to local producers. Contact us to start planning!
By Peg Kern
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