Chicken Ballotine is a delicious and different way of preparing chicken thighs. It is pretty enough to serve at a dinner party, but it is also easy enough to serve as a week-night meal. I prepared the filling and the ballotines the day before cooking only because I had time and had made an easy dish for dinner this particular night. I just roasted the chicken ballotine the next day and served it with a shaved fennel, baby arugula and radish salad and it was perfect.

Chicken Ballotine

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Course: Dinner
Cuisine: French
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Degree of Difficulty : Moderately difficult
Servings: 4 people
Tip : Try to make the meatballs from the remaining filling quite a bit smaller than the ballotines. I found that they expand while cooking so it just looks better if the ballotines are larger than the remaining filling formed into meatballs.


  • 4 large skin on chicken thighs


  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 medium shallot finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • panko crumbs for dredging left over filling into little balls, optional


  • Gather all ingredients before starting the recipe.
  • Pre heat oven to 425°F.
  • Peel and finely chop one medium shallot and carrot, set aside.
  • Heat butter over medium high heat in a medium sized skillet and add carrots and shallots. Season with kosher salt and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add grated garlic and cook for another minute or until the garlic becomes fragrant. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
  • Carefully remove the chicken skin from the thighs and set aside until ready to use.
  • Remove meat from chicken bone and dice into 1" pieces, discard the bones.
  • Transfer the sautéed vegetables and chicken pieces into food processor. Season well with kosher salt and black pepper, pulse until you get a fine consistency, but not a paste.
  • Fill each reserved chicken skin with a tablespoon or two of the filling mixture. Roll each bundle into a round ball, tucking in the edges under and around the stuffing.
  • Place bundles on a non-stick sheet of aluminum foil lined baking sheet with good side up.
  • If you have extra filling, form small balls and toss in panko and transfer to the baking sheet.
  • Transfer chicken ballotines, good side up, and any remaining filling formed into little balls to a pre heated 425°F oven. After 20 minutes, check the filling balls and turn over so that they brown evenly. Check the underside of the chicken bundles to make sure that the bottom is roasting evenly. If one side of the chicken is a little pale, try to stand it on its side for 5 to 10 minutes, or until all sides are golden brown, repeat with any other sides.
  • Allow chicken to rest for 5-10 minutes and serve with a green salad, Lyonnaise Potatoes or Fancy Fondant Potatoes.

Author Notes

Two or three things come to mind with this recipe.
First, make the meatballs as tiny as you can otherwise, they overwhelm the ballotine. I think that the ballotine needs to be the star of the show, but because each ballotine is quite small, a meatball or two on the side would be a nice addition.
Second, there will be leftovers, unless you are serving more than two.
That means both cold ballotines and meat balls. Having tried them the next day, I liked the stuffing for the ballotines, and the meatballs were quite delicious with a chutney. I happened to have mango chutney, but any chutney would be delicious.
Lastly, it seems to me that skinless, boneless chicken thighs would be a good candidate for chicken sliders using the same carrot, shallot and garlic sauté, all combined in a food processor. You might try some freshly shredded iceberg lettuce and a good chutney to complete the dish.

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