Ballantine of Chicken Leg
2 Chicken Legs (i.e. thigh and drumstick attached)
30mL Vegetable Oil
½ bunch Spinach, fresh, cleaned
½ clove Garlic, pureed*
30mL Olive Oil
30g Pine Nuts, toasted, chopped
60g Goat Cheese
Nutmeg, Salt and Pepper
*to puree garlic, chop it up finely, and then add a small amount of salt. Use your knife blade to squish the garlic by running it over the chopped garlic, blade down. Here is a video to use as a reference.
How to do it:
Preheat the oven to 425F
1. Heat oil in saute pan, add spinach and garlic.
2. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook for approx. 30 seconds until the spinach has wilted. Cool slightly and squeeze excess liquid out if necessary (I used a slotted spoon). Allow to cool slightly.
3. While waiting for the spinach to cool, using a clean, unoiled saute pan, toast your pine nuts by dropping them in the pan and continually moving them. You want them to be brown, not black. This will not take very long, so keep an eye on them.Once brown, remove them, and chop them up so that they are just a little larger than breadcrumbs.
5. Once you’ve done that and the spinach is cool, chop the spinach so that rather than large pieces, you have bite-sized bits. With cooked spinach, it will be hard to tell the size. Essentially you’re looking for pieces large enough to hold together, but small enough that it will be easy to eat. Add the goat cheese, chopped pine nuts and chill.
6. Put the filling to one side, and debone your chicken thighs. Then, using the flat head of a tenderizer, flatten the chicken skin-side down so that it is large enough to wrap around a 2″ ball of filling.
7. Skin-side down, place a 2″ ball of filling in the middle of your now-flat chicken meat and wrap the edges of the meat around the ball. Place open-end-down in a baking pan (preferably on parchment paper) and either tie with string or use receipt paper (the plain white roll you see in retail shops) to hold it together. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. To make it extra juicy, before you put it in the oven, place a tablespoon square of butter on top. This will melt and not only add to the juices available for basting, but will help create a lovely golden-brown colour on the skin.Roast until the internal temperature is 74°F/165°F. As it’s cooking, baste it with the juices that result.