Daring Cooks April 2013 Challenge - Make No Bones About It!

Sometimes I surprise myself - in a good way - and take stock and think that I'm maybe not too bad at this cooking lark! This month's Daring Cooks' Challenge - to debone a chicken and make a ballotine - was one such occasion. But then I go and demonstrate my true culinary level by making quiche with puff pastry rather than shortcrust - oops! Puff-quiche is still in the oven, however I'm fairly sure it will have a bad case of soggy bottom.

In the meantime I shall get on with my challenge post.

For the April Daring Cooks Challenge, Lisa from Parsley, Sage and Sweet has challenged us to debone a whole chicken, using this video by Jacques Pepin as our guide; then stuff it, tie it and roast it, to create a Chicken Ballotine.

This was a challenge of the most challenging type - it essentially involved hacking apart a chicken, breaking bones, using very sharp knives, a fair amount of brute strength and some Girl Guide style knot tying to finish it all off!

However... I was so proud of the result - undeniably disproportionately proud, but proud nonetheless.

Once the amateur chicken butchery was completed (and if you fancy giving it a go, I wholeheartedly recommend the video, along with the exhortation that it really isn't as hard as you think it is going to be - just a little bit more icky!) I stuffed it with a mixture of couscous, spicy tomato paste, salami and dried apricots. No recipe - just lots of photos this time...

First step - clingfilm your laptop so you can pause / rewind the tutorial video without contaminating it with chicken goop.
My unsuspecting chicken nemesis
I've spared everyone the gory deboning-in-process shots - but here's a boneless chicken 'jacket'!
Spare stuffing
Spare stuffing converted into mini couscous crustless quiches with the help of a couple of beaten eggs
... and then true to form, I had to go and spoil it by 'serving' it fallen apart and dropped upside down on the plate!
Thanks for a very adventurous but equally satisfying challenge.

Incidentally, this is Mr E's first month participating in the Daring Cooks challenge. We're currently blogging in tandem from opposite sides of the living room. We ate the ballotine he made today for dinner - also awesome, and I hate to admit it, but neater, prettier and better carved than mine! And only using 4 ingredients (as all of his recipes do). He blogs at Hell Yeah Four Ingredient Recipes.