Chicken Breasts Ballotine

When visiting my upstate friends on a snowboarding trip over the weekend, I made Chris Kimball’s version of Chicken Breast Ballotine. He calls the recipe Stuffed Chicken Breasts, because it is a streamlined version of the Ballotine. He uses boneless chicken breasts, eliminating the extra work of boning and entire chicken. He trims some of the breast meat to use as the forcemeat filling, where traditionally the leg meat is used.  Since he uses skinless chicken, he obviously cannot wrap the chicken rolls back in their own skin. The result of this recipe takes just over 2 hours and is a solid 4-1/2 stars. But reading over the differences I think I will also try the Julia Childs’ version of Ballotine too.

There is a problem with my computer and I haven’t been able to upload photos. Hopefully I can fix it soon so you can see the end result.


  1. Because I only needed one leak ($4), I substituted a combination of shallots, scallions and regular yellow onion (total of $1). I’m sure the leak would have been preferable, but just couldn’t bring myself to part with $4 for a single leak.
  2. Actually, I broke the recipe into two parts. I did steps 1 through 15 in my house, then finished up the cooking of the chicken bundles (steps 16 through 20) at my friend’s house. The only extra step was to pat the chicken dry before step 16, so that it would brown nicely.
  3. Another difference with the traditional Ballotine, the entire chicken forms one large bundle, instead of four small bundles.

Rating: 4-1/2 stars.
Cost: $10.
How much work? Medium.
How big of a mess?  Medium.
Start time 5:00 PM. Dinner time 7:15 PM.

Chris Kimball’s original is here.  The descriptions of how I cooked them today are given below:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
10-oz white mushrooms
1 small leek, white part (about 1 cup).
2 garlic cloves, presssed
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 lemon.
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
Table salt and ground black pepper
1 cup chicken broth
3/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons butter

  1. Trim the tenderloin from your chicken breasts, if present. Lay the chicken flat on a cutting board and freeze for 15 minutes to make the butterflying process easier. Meanwhile wipe mushrooms  clean, and slice them thin.
  2. Butterfly the chicken, start at thinnest end and stop 1/2″ from edge (the halves will remain attached).
  3. Open them up one breast at a time and put in large ziplock bag. Pound thin until it reaches a uniform 1/4-inch thickness.
  4. Slightly trim (perhaps 1/2″) from the long sides of cutlets to form rough 8″ by 5″ rectangles with one pointy end.
  5. Add trimmings to food processor and puree for 20 seconds until smooth. Place puree in medium bowl and set aside. (There is no need to wash out food processor bowl yet.)
  6. Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in 12″ skillet (regular, not non-stick) over medium-high heat. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are golden brown; about 10 minutes. Meanwhile cut the leaks in half lengthwise, and chopped the white part. Also chop thyme, parsley and peal the garlic.
  7. Push the mushrooms to the side of the skillet. Add another 1 tablespoon oil to the center of skillet, then add the leaks. Cook for 3 minutes.
  8. Add pressed garlic and thyme to the skillet, and cook for 30 seconds.
  9. Add juice from 1/2 of the lemon. Cook until all moisture has evaporated  from the skillet, then put mixture in food processor.
  10. Immediately return the pan to heat. Add the wine and deglaze the pan; only 1 minute. Transfer wine to small bowl and set aside. Rinse and dry skillet.
  11. Pulse mushroom mixture in food processor using five 1-second pulses.
  12. Switch to the plastic mixing blade in food processor and add pureed chicken. Mix well, then put mixture back into your medium bowl.
  13. Add half the chopped parsley, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Fold together with a spatula, and divide the mixture into four equal parts.
  14. Lay chicken cutlet flat with the narrowest ends pointing away from you. Evenly spread one-fourth of stuffing over each cutlet, leaving 3/4″ border on the top, pointy end, and 1/4″ border along the sides. Tightly roll the breasts (without squeezing filling). Place seam-side down and tie with three 10″ pieces of kitchen twine;  trimming away any excess twine.
  15. Season the exterior of each roll with salt and pepper.
  16. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken bundles and brown on all four sides, about 2-1/2 minutes per side (for a total of 10 minutes).
  17. Add the reserved wine plus 1-cup chicken broth to the pan, then bring to a boil. Cover the pan and reduce heat to low. Cook about 25 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  18. Place the chicken on cutting board and tent with aluminum foil while finishing the pan sauce.
  19. Meanwhile, whisk Dijon into cooking liquid. Increase burner to high. Scrap the pan to deglaze, and cook for 10 minutes until reduced to about 1/2 cup. Remove pan from heat, and whisk in butter, remaining 1-1/2 teaspoons chopped parsley and lemon juice from the other half lemon. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
  20. Remove twine. For best presentation you can slice each chicken bundle on bias into approximately 6 medallions and spoon sauce over chicken. Or for ease, I just served the chicken whole and let everybody slice their own chicken.

One Response to Chicken Breasts Ballotine

  1. Paul McLoughlin says:

    Leaks tend to spoil dry things.
    Leeks are delicious vegetables

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