Ingredients (to serve 6):
For the Ballotine
6 Chicken Breasts
200g Goat Cheese
200ml Double Cream
1 Red Pepper
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
The leaves of 3 Sprigs of Thyme
Salt and Pepper to season
50g plain flour
90g *Panko Breadcrumbs (for stuffing in the ballotines) – note you may need less or more breadcrumbs in the stuffing, depending on how dry the goat cheese brand is. We had a fairly young cheese so needed more panic. You want a thick stuffing type consistency.
90g *Panko Breadcrumbs (for coating the ballotines)
*Panko breadcrumbs are a Japanese type of breadcrumb. They are lighter, crisper and less fatty than conventional shop bought breadcrumbs. You can get them from Waitrose or ethnic food shops. You could use normal breadcrumbs if unable to source Panko (or better still home made breadcrumbs).
For the Butternut Squash Veloute
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small butternut squash
500 ml Vegetable Stock
2 Tablespoons of double cream
For the Honey Roasted Walnuts
20g Walnut pieces
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 teaspoons honey
dash of Sea Salt
Quarter teaspoon powdered cinnamon
Quarter teaspoon powdered star anise
Prepare the honey roasted walnuts.
Preheat the oven to 200DegC.
Mix the oil, honey, salt and spices in a bowl, then pour over the walnuts and ensure they are well coated.
Place the walnuts in an ovenproof dish and roast for 5 or 10 minutes keeping a close eye on them and remove when the walnuts start to brown.
Prepare the butternut veloute.
Peel and chop the butternut squash and carrots.
Heat the oil in a saucepan and then gently fry the vegetables for a few minutes then add the stock and allow to boil until the gegetables are completely soft.
Puree the soup in a blender and then pass it through a sieve to remove the pulp. You will have a velvety smoouth veloute.
Place this in a clean saucepan, add the cream and bring to the boil. Allow to cool and store till needed.
Prepare the ballotines.
Preheat oven to 200DegC
Slice the red peppers and coat in olive oil
Place the peppers in an ovenproof dish and roast them 10 minutes until the skin is blackening.
Remove from oven an peel the skin off.
Chop the peppers into small pieces and put to one side.
Whip the cream in a stand mixer to soft peaks, and then add the goat cheese, 90g Panko breadcrumbs and the seasoning, mixing till completely incorporated.
Then fold in the thyme leaves and finally the peppers.
Flatten the breast of chicken and spoon the goat cheese filling along the centre.
Roll the meat tightly and wrap it in clingfilm, sealing it carefully particularly at the ends. Wrap them up like sweet wrappers, folding the edges over onto the roll of meat. Use plenty of cling film and take care to avoid air bubbles to be sure to make this watertight.
Fill a frying pan with water and bring it to a simmering heat. Poach the cling-film wrapped chicken for 15 minutes.
Once the meat is just cooked, remove from the pan, allow to cool a little and remove the clingfilm
Place the meat in the fridge to cool completely (we left them overnight).
Beat an egg and place in a wde shallow bowl.
In another place the flour and in the third the breadcrumbs
Roll each ballotine in flour, then egg then breadcrumbs.
When ready to cook, fry them in a non stick pan with plenty of oil to minimise the need to move them.
When browned, remove from heat and place on kitchen roll to absorb excess oil.
Slice them carefully at an angle and prepare to serve
Prepare the polenta
Cook the polenta according to packet instructions and allow to set in a rectangular dish (or use precooked polenta)
Slice the set polenta and pan fry in shallow oil
Heat the veloute and spoon some onto a plate.
Place a slice of pan fried polenta in the middle of the plate
Place the sliced ballotine on the polenta and then scatter the walnuts over the dish
Add a garnish of watercress.