Crispy Chicken Ballotine with an Asian Twist

This recipe was inspired by this excellent recipe by Michael Ruhlman. The spice mixture in these is very similar to my Asian pork meatballs which you should also try!
Course Main Course
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 people


  • 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!