It was Keith who came across the spectacular recipe for Homestyle Chicken Ballotine by Michael Ruhlman. I love how inspiration (read: obsession) to make the dish came by a playful quip from his wife, Donna.
All told, Keith was the first to make this. And the second. And the third.
It’s that good.
Then one day I thought, “Why not give this an Asian twist?” – something similar to these Asian Pork Meatballs. And oh baby! I won’t say they’re better than the original recipe, but they are equally delicious.
As Ruhlman says, “It’s basically chicken sausage wrapped in chicken skin. How can you go wrong?” Exactly.
Here is Keith demonstrating how to wrap these like a boss.
I admit that this recipe may be too involved for a weeknight dinner (but these Crispy Chicken Thighs or Herb Roasted Chicken are!). But I also promise that it’s worth the effort on some evening when you’re feeling game.
Crispy Chicken Ballotine with an Asian Twist
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1/2 onion finely chopped
- 1 carrot finely chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 stalk lemongrass roughly chopped (just the tender white center - top, bottom and outer leaves removed)
- ½ ounce fresh Thai basil leaves a large handful
- 6 chicken thighs skin-on, bone-in
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium heat; add onion, carrot and a large pinch of salt. Cook and stir until onion begins to soften and become translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic; cook and stir 3 minutes more. Remove from heat.
- Meanwhile, with a food processor running, add ginger, lemon grass and basil. Process until minced. Leave mixture in the food processor, you'll be adding more to it.
- Preheat oven to 450°F.
- Lightly oil a large glass baking dish.
- Remove skin from chicken thighs, taking care to keep the skins in one piece (if the edges are stubborn, use a paring knife to release); reserve.
- Cut the meat from the bones (no need to be precise about this, you'll be grinding it in the food processor). (Freeze the bones to use later for stock.)
- To the minced herb mixture in the food processor, add meat, vegetables and remaining 5 ingredients (soy sauce through black pepper), pulse until meat is coarsely chopped and other ingredients are well distributed.
- Divide meat mixture into six portions. Lay the skin of one thigh flat on a work surface and add one of the meat portions to the center. Wrap the thigh skin around meat mixture, flip over so that the seam is down and place in baking dish. Repeat with remaining meat portions and skin. Season skin with salt and pepper. Roast until skin is crispy and interior temperature reaches 160°F.
- Serve hot!