The French culinary term for a deboned stuffed chicken is a Galantine or a Ballotine, with a Galantine usually served cold, but both can be with any type of meat, not just chicken. Being a French dish preperation it is no surprise that it is popular in the South of the USA with the Cajuns. However I’m not sure what the French would think about some of their stuffing choices such as crawfish or boudin.
I’ve been wanting to learn how to debone a whole chicken for quite a while now, but have never had enough time to research how to do it. However just this week, by accident, I came across a video by Jacques Pepin for how to create a boneless stuffed chicken. Compared to other videos I had seen in the past, he made it look very easy and with a minimum of cuts and wastage.
I had read that it was easier to learn with a standard sized chicken than a capon, but once mastered, the technique can be applied just as easily to a turkey or a quail. I started with a 5lb chicken and followed the instructions in the video. First I removed the wings and turned them into ‘chicken lollipops’, then with a small (very sharp) knife I removed the wishbone and cut the skin of the back.
So far, so good. I had the tablet set up on the counter to pause and rewind the video at the tricky bits, but I made sure that I completely dis-infected it afterwards since my hands were a bit ‘chickeny’. Next I removed the wing joints from the carcass and then just using my hands removed most of the carcass from the meat, before removing most of the leg bones, but using the back of a knife I broke the leg bone close to the end, to help prevent the skin retracting during cooking. I removed the fillets from the carcass and re-arranged the meat roughly back in the right places.
I had made a broccoli cheese stuffing earlier in the day. I laid this over the meat and stuffed some into the legs. Next came the lacing of the bird, which took a few goes to get it right.
I massaged some olive oil into the chicken skin before covering it in my own ‘grub’ rub mixture. It went into a 195C (380F) oven and while it was cooking I took the chicken carcass and bones and made a chicken stock. The cooking time was roughly 1hr 15mins and I checked that the stuffing was at least 75C (165F) before removing the chicken and letting rest for a few moments before serving.
Wow! I don’t think I will ever cook a standard roast chicken again. Though it took about 15mins to debone the chicken, I’m sure I can get this down to about 5mins in the future, but it was well worth it, as it was one of the tastiest and moistest chickens I’ve ever had and there was hardly any wastage.
- 2 cups of broccoli florets
- 1 knob of butter
- 2 tbs plain flour
- 1.5 cups of milk
- 4oz of grated Cheddar cheese
- 1 cup of cooked white rice
Make a roux with the butter and flour. Once the flour has combined, add the milk and gently stir until it has thickened. Stir in the cheese until it has melted. Mix in the broccoli and rice. Pour the mixture into a oven proof dish and cook at 180C (355F) for about 25mins. Allow the mixture to cool and set aside in the refrigerator for later to stuff in to your deboned chicken as prepared above.