Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Chicken Ballotine with Onion and Olives, Ras-el-hanout Sweet Potato Mash, Coriander & Pine Nuts

I once made a chicken ballotine stuffed with a mixture of nuts, honey and thyme for an ex- boyfriend, however, it was a bit on the pink side and it was not well received.  I had thought about recreating that dish, perhaps with a blue cheese sauce and some sauteed apples but then I had a craving for sweet potatoes.
This reminds me, some men are only attracted to my cooking abilities.  I was once on a date with a guy who in the middle of dinner said, "oh it's my last year of university, I really just want to settle down with a nice a girl who cooks".  Yup.  And then apparently he told our mutual friend that he was quite upset that I had not yet cooked for him like three days after our first date.  Don't worry, I didn't keep seeing him.  Maybe that's why I serve raw chicken to guys, as it forces them to explore my other lovely qualities  #singleforever
 So the main flavors you're getting in this dish are the green olives stuffed in the chicken, ras-el-hanout spiced sweet potato, pine nuts, lemon zest, coriander and olive oil.  I think it all tasted quite nice together, if I may humbly say so myself.  And yay it was cooked through this time!  They'd be really nice rolled in like pancetta so that it keeps it moist, because or else there's that risk of overcooking the chicken and making it dry.  Next time.

Ballotines are a bit cumbersome, but I've written a post about it before with step-by-step photos that you can check out here .  It's great for making it ahead of time, you can just make the chicken ballotine and leave it in the fridge, then poach it and fry it.  Or poach it ahead of time and then just fry it.  Same goes for the sweet potato puree, you can just heat it up before serving. 

Serves 2
Chicken ballotine
2 chicken breasts
1 white onion, finely chopped
about 10 green olives, pitted and finely chopped
zest of 1/2 lemon

Sweet potato mash
2 tsp ras-el-hanout
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
large knob of butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp honey

1 tbsp pine nuts
coriander leaves
extra virgin olive oil
lemon zest

Make the sweet potato puree
Toss the sweet potato with the ras-el-hanout, olive oil and salt.  Spread on an even layer and roast in an oven at 200C for about 30 minutes.

When they are cooked ans soft, puree in a blender with some butter, honey and salt.

Make the chicken ballotine
Melt some olive oil in a pan and then add the onion.  Fry until translucent and turn the heat down, stirring often until very soft.  Add the olives and lemon zest. 

Butterfly your chicken breast:  lay your chicken breast down on a cutting board and remove the small inner fillet (it's the bit that's not fully attached to the breast).  Season lightly.  With the edge of your knife parallel to the cutting board, cut through the middle of the breast, and slice to the other end, but don't cut through. Open it up.

Put the breast in between two sheets of cling film. Get something heavy, like a pot, and flatten the chicken breast by banging it gently, not too hard.

Place half of your onion mixture (or maybe a bit less depending on how large your chicken breasts are).  And roll it like a maki sushi.  Roll with the cling film and roll it very tightly, make sure it's as tight as possible.  Then wrap the whole thing with the cling film -- again, as tightly as possible, then tie each end with a knot.  It should not feel soft, it should feel really tight.

Boil a large pot of water, and place the chicken in, poach for about 10 minutes then plunge in a bowl of cold water.

Unwrap them from the cling film, heat some oil and a large knob of butter in a pan and then fry these until caramelized all around.

Slice diagonally in half and cut off the ends so they can stand.

Toast the pine nuts on a hot pan until colored and fragrant.

Spoon the sweet potato mixture onto the middle of the plate, lay the chicken pieces on top.  Add more lemon zest, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with coriander leaves and some toasted pine nuts. 


  1. Maria, thanks for stopping by my blog G'day Souffle.' I've made Chicken Ballotine before, but I de-boned the entire chicken. So, I'm glad there's an easier method by just using the chicken breast! I've never heard of ras el hanout before, (I looked it up on Google), so I learned something new from you!

    1. aw I'm glad, thank you for visiting Happy Belly too :) And I've actually been meaning to debone the entire chicken and do that but I need to then organize a dinner party haha


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