Springtime eating doesn’t always have to involve goat cheese, microgreens and ramps. It can also involve delicious carnivourous meals that when you put the food in your mouth, it makes you want to stand in a field of sunflowers in the south of France singing showtunes about bicycles. Or something like that.
Regardless, this dish is a bright, sunny, sweet, savory, warm-weather treat – that still tastes like you got a nice plateful of meat. And don’t be afraid of the “ballotine” – it’s just French for “meat roll”.
Lemon Chicken Ballotine Stuffed with Ricotta and Fennel Confit
4 thin chicken fillets
Salt and pepper
1 cup ricotta
1 cup Fennel, Lemon & Garlic Confit (below)
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup white wine
Place the chicken fillets between two pieces of plastic wrap and flatten with a mallet or a heavy frying pan until they are about 1/4 inch thick. Be careful – its easy to tear the chicken if you flatten it too roughly. Season lightly with salt, pepper and a little olive oil or the leftover, strained lemon oil from the confit. Refrigerate overnight or for a few hours.
Mix the ricotta with the confit. Use a good ricotta. Spread a quarter on each fillet and roll tightly. Seal with toothpicks. This part can get messy – the ricotta/confit goo likes to squirt out the sides of the chicken roll.
Heat a large saute pan over high heat with the butter and any more oil strained off the chicken. Sear the chicken rolls, flipping with tongs, for about two minutes or until dark golden on each side. Pour in the white wine and turn the heat down to low. Cover and simmer for about twenty minutes.
Remove the toothpicks before serving. Serve with extra fennel confit.
Fennel, Lemon and Garlic Confit
1 large bulb of fennel, with stalks and tops
1 small lemon
6 large cloves of garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
Wash the fennel and lemon. Chop the fennel stalks into 3-4 inch pieces. Chop about half the fronds into bite size pieces – reserve the other half for garnish. Cut the lemon into quarters, removing seeds. Sliver the garlic.
Melt olive oil & butter over medium heat in a heavy saute pan. Add the fennel, lemon, and garlic. Season with black pepper, salt and red pepper flakes. Cover and cook on low heat for about 45 minutes, or until soft and tender.
Blend with a food processor or stick blender to a chunky consistency. Its keeps in the frdige for about two weeks, supposedly. I eat it up way before then so I’ve never found out. There’s something about whole lemon pieces stewed with garlic and then pureed up that is soooooooo goood.
Recipe couresy of Apartment Therapy.