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A little time consuming but more than making up for in flavour, this dish has roughly four separate elements pan fried chicken breast then roasted in the oven, boned out leg ballotine stuffed with a chicken mousse and pancetta and garnished with small roasted shallots being brought together by a creamy madeira sauce. Well worth the time invested and giving a good visual impact, feel free to use the chicken wings in the sauce and the carcass to create a stock for the sauce.
1 small to medium whole chicken, preferably free range
125ml double cream
3-4 rashers pancetta, diced
10-12 baby shallots peeled
1 carrot, diced
1 stick celery, diced
3-4 sprigs of thyme
1 bay leaf
200ml Madeira plus 50ml for the sauce
400ml chicken stock
1 egg, white only
75g unsalted butter
1 ball of string
1.Preheat the oven to 200C. For the chicken, remove the breasts (skin on) and legs carefully and set aside. Slice off the wings and roast the wings and carcass in a touch of olive oil on a baking tray for 20-30 minutes until well browned, set aside.
2. To make the ballotine, carefully remove the meat from the bone taking care not to pierce the flesh, lay out a 30cm x 30cm stretch of cling film and lay the meat flat on top, cover the meat with another piece of cling film of the same measurements and pound out the meat with a rolling pin or flat side of a meat mallet until 2-3cm larger in width. Wrap in the cling film and place in the fridge until needed.
3. For the mousse, place the pancetta cubes in a dry non-stick pan over a low heat and slowly brown until crispy, drain on kitchen paper and leave to cool completely. Meanwhile using one of the chicken breasts in a food processor, add the egg white and puree until smooth, pass through a sieve into a clean bowl and using a spatula gradually whip in the double cream until you are left with a smooth paste, add the pancetta, mix and place into the fridge for 20-30 minutes to firm up.
4. For the sauce, add the chicken wings, half the shallots finely chopped along with the carrot, celery, two sprigs of thyme and the bay leaf along with a touch of olive oil to a deep pan and fry until coloured slightly. Add the Madeira and reduce by two-thirds. Add the chicken stock and reduce again by around two-thirds until the sauce begins to thicken. Sieve the sauce into a clean pan and add the double cream, check for seasoning and keep warm.
5. For the shallots, preheat the oven to 200C and bring a pan of salted water to the boil, place the remaining shallots in and simmer for around 10-12 minutes until a skewer pierces easily. Heat a pan of foaming butter and olive oil, season the shallots and add to the pan, toss to coat and place in the oven for around 8-10 minutes, basting often and taking care to ensure the shallots don't burn.
6. For the ballotines, unwrap the chicken thighs and place flat on a fresh 30cm x 30cm of cling film and add 1 tablespoon of the chicken mousse to the top of the chicken, allowing a 4cm gap towards the bottom. Using the cling film, roll the leg into a sausage shape and twist the ends to secure. Tie with string at either end and around the middle to ensure the ballotine maintains its shape during cooking. Place in a pan of simmering water for 10-12 minutes, keep warm once cooked.
7. Preheat the oven to 200C. In a large ovenproof frying pan heat a tablespoon of olive oil over a high heat, season the chicken and place skin-side down in the pan and colour for 2-3 minutes, flip onto the flesh side and seal for 30 seconds then back again onto the skin side. Place in the oven for 20 minutes and once cooked, rest the chicken for 10 minutes.
8. Flash the ballotines quickly in pan that the chicken breast was cooked in to give it some colour and set aside. To serve, slice the ballotines into three slice the chicken breast into four and layer in the centre of the plate, add three pieces of the ballotine and garnish with the shallots, pour over the sauce and garnish with fresh thyme leaves.