Osso buco and roast lamb

We are going through the last weeks of Winter, so I decided to take the opportunity to make some comfort food before it gets too warm. Osso buco is such an easy cut of veal to prepare as it involves searing off the meat before letting it simmer in a tomato based stew until the meat falls off the bone. Delicious!

I also rolled out some homemade pappardelle as the perfect accompaniment. I was apprehensive as many people suggest using Tipo 00, but plain flour works just as well. . A classic gremolata of parsley, garlic and lemon was a nice touch to offset the richness of the dish.

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Lamb roast was something I haven’t made in a while. Sometimes the meat can be too gamey and dry, but this time it tasted alright. The addition of anchovies to the usual rosemary and garlic really does make a difference. I also tried making hasselback potatoes which crisped up nicely.

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Chicken Ballotine

Yesterday was mothers day in Australia…and for those regular readers, you know what that means… Another opportunity to cook up a storm!! It’s becoming quite a pattern now, every special occasion has been accompanied by an elaborate meal. I’ve always believed that cooking is better than buying a gift, but I have a feeling that soon any positive event will be an excuse to practice my culinary aspirations.

This time, I decided to go with a ballotine. I’ve been wanting to make it for a while. The medallion of meat and textural filling just looks so fancy and fit for a special occasion. Some of the websites even said that it wasn’t too hard……

o what lies…

This was the most technical dish I think I’ve ever attempted. What was supposed to be dinner ended up being a late night supper at 9:30….However, I have to say that it was quite delicious, but then again, I don’t have prosciutto wrapped chicken everyday.

Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 maryland cuts of chicken

Chicken mousse

  • 500g chicken breast chopped roughly into cubes
  • 5-6 button mushrooms sliced roughly
  • Knob of butter
  • 3 sprigs of thyme- leaves stripped off
  • 1/4 cup parsley leaves- chopped finely
  • Scant handful of shelled pistachio nuts
  • Thickened cream
  • Salt and pepper

To assemble

  • 6 prosciutto slices
  • Baby spinach leaves. Snip off the longer stems
  • Cling wrap
  • Cooking twine

To finish off

  • 2 Litres chicken stock
  • 2 Litre of water
  • Bowl of ice water
  • Knob of butter

Steps

  1. Debone the chicken. I had to learn this first and found this video quite helpful. Trim off the sinew and any fat. Save the latter for roasting your veges.
  2. Lay out the deboned chicken pieces and pound under some cling wrap until it is somewhat flattened.
  3. To start on the mousse, heat butter in pan on medium heat and saute mushrooms until browned and cooked through.
  4. Place mushrooms and chicken breast into blender and blend until really fine.
  5. Whilst blending on high, slowly add in cream until a thick paste is formed.
  6. Fold nuts and herbs into mousse mixture. Season with salt and pepper.
  7. Season the boned chicken then lay it out flat. Evenly place the baby spinach on top of the meat as the first layer of ballotine.
  8. Using your hands shape some of the mousse into a sausage shape and place it lengthwise on top of the spinach and chicken. Leave an inch of space between the mousse and the edge of the chicken.
  9. Roughly using your hands again, roll up the chicken into a log. Try to keep it as tight as possible without having the filling spill out. Do the same steps 7-9 for the other piece of chicken
  10. Stretch out three layers of cling wrap and lay out 3 slices of prosciutto lengthwise along cling wrap.
  11. Place one roll of chicken across the prosciutto near the bottom of the clinwrap.
  12. Slowly grab the cling wrap and roll the prosciutto around the chicken. Use your hands to squeeze tight the ballotine as you roll. Also, make sure the cling wrap doesn’t get wrapped into the ballotine and stays on the outside. Twist off the ends like they do in lollies. Repeat steps 10-12 for the other chicken roll.
  13. Using twine, tie off the ends tightly. You can also tie up the ballotine 2-3 times in the middle to make sure the glad wrap doesn’t come apart in the stock. However, make sure its not too tight as the ballotine expands while cooking.
  14. Bring stock  and water to boil in a pot large enough to fit ballotines. Place in ballotines and turn heat down to a simmer. Simmer for 45 min.
  15. Take out chicken after cooking and plunge into ice water.
  16. Remove chicken from cling wrap after cooled in water for a while.
  17. Heat butter in pan on medium heat until it stops foaming and has turned slightly nutty brown
  18. Place in ballotine and brown the outside, basting it with the butter as you turn them.
  19. After browned a bit, place on chopping board and cut into medallions for serving.

And that’s it. All that is left is to hope that the inside is cooked through…

As if that wasn’t complicated enough, I decided to bake a dauphinoise and roast off some turned carrots in chicken fat. Unfortunately, with the amount of cooking and tasting involved, by the end of it, I wasn’t really that hungry but at least they enjoyed it.

Here’s some evidence of my kitchen marathon

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