How to keep a roughly shredded confit chicken leg ballottine together when cooking (to achieve large sausage to slice portions per person)

Confit the legs, mix but don't mince so it's still viewable as leg meat. Cling wrap and chill, clice and cook, but it falls apart. Served hot can't add aspic and can't add egg (allergy) so perhaps another binder? Wrap in chicken skin then crisp? Caul?

  • Posted by: Mark
  • November 24, 2015


702551 November 24, 2015
I think this is a two-step challenge. You need some sort of binder to hold the roughly shredded confit chicken meat together without egg, plus the meat might need some moisture.

I suggest some sort of blanched diced vegetable mix and/or duxelles, combined with cheese, like mozzarella or cream cheese as the primary binding ingredient.

A mixture like this might be wrapped in plastic wrap, steamed and sliced. Phyllo and puff dough would seem to be good alternatives as well, for baking.

However, I think you touched on the best solution: caul fat. You might be able to use sausage casings, but you'd need the right equipment to fill them up. Caul fat removes the equipment requirements.

With the exception of your pre-cooked chicken confit, you are basically making crepinettes.

Here's a Food52 recipe for crepinettes:

It's your choice whether you want to make a log or individual crepinette-style portions. I like the caul fat approach since it gives you the ability to brown your "sausage" versus steaming it. After all, you went through all the trouble of making chicken confit, wouldn't it be nice to have some brown crust to enjoy?
Mark November 25, 2015
Crepinettes - yes perhaps that's a better description than before thank you. Adding cheese would unbalance the other flavours on the plate although yes could well work. Will try to hunt down some caul, although seems the consensus is a pastry wrap around.
Nancy November 24, 2015
Two suggestions which change the dish a bit, but may help in your "holding everything together" dilemma.
First, there are bunches of recipes out there suggesting wrapping the ballotine in bacon or pancetta or sliced ham...
Second, haven't made this in a while, but I've found a thin layer of pastry works. Whether puff or the pastry used to wrap a brick pastry, they work nicely. Makes it into a sort of Chicken Wellington, however.
Mark November 25, 2015
Hi - I do like the idea of wrapping in pastry, it would add a crispness to them which would be interesting. Tricky to slice each round though. Perhaps would slice when pastry is uncooked, and cook then.
Nancy November 25, 2015
Mark...beg to reassure you, the pastry doesn't impede the slicing: it even helps keep the slice together.
True, you might have to make the ballotine diameter a bit smaller than originally planned to achieve this.
Also, take care when removing individual slice from the main platter to diner's dish. E.g., have a pie server on hand, use it and the carving knife to sort-of cradle the slice as it's being cut, then ease off the platter to the individual diner's dish.
Whatever you choose to do, hope it works out...ballotine is complex, special, worth the journey.
Leslie S. November 24, 2015
I've always seen chicken ballottine served wrapped with twin, like this:

Are you using twine to hold it together? (Let me know if I'm misunderstanding the question!)
Mark November 24, 2015
Thanks. I take the roughly shredded confit leg and use seran wrap/cling film to form into large sausage shape. Chill, then slice into rounds. This way each person gets some dark meat. But the rounds once sliced fall apart easily so need some kind of binding agent perhaps or could wrap them in thin bacon or chicken skin.
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