Chicken Ballotines Stuffed with Rice and Sausage

A ballotine is an excellent dish to cook when you really want to stretch your meat. Made with poultry, game birds, or rabbit, a ballotine is just a boneless piece of the meat (I like the leg), stuffed with a filling (can be whatever you like, including traditional Thanksgiving turkey stuffing), then tied into a neat bundle before roasting. This recipe calls for Chinese Five Spice and brown sugar, which gives the dish a nice baking-spice element that is lovely this time of year. Enjoy with some roasted parsnips and a bright green salad.

Serves 4


1 cup                     short grained sticky rice
1 pc                       mild pork sausage (I like to use the small Chinese sausages found in Asian markets, but any fresh sausage will do. You need about 4-5 oz of sausage meat all together.)
1 pinch                 salt 
2 tbsp                   green onion, sliced thinly
2 tbsp                   Chinese Five Spice powder
1 tbsp                   brown sugar
1 tbsp                   salt 
2                           chicken legs, boneless but with the skin on (ask your butcher to do this, or see my method in Cooking Meat, my book available everywhere good books are sold, including here!)
2 tbsp                   vegetable or olive oil


  1. Cook the rice as per the package instructions. Add the raw sausage and the pinch of salt to the pot with the rice before starting to cook.
  2. Meanwhile, debone the chicken leg (if you are doing it yourself). Otherwise, mix the Five Spice, brown sugar, and tbsp of salt together on a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Once the rice is cooked and steamed, set aside to cool for 45 minutes or so, until it is cool enough to handle. Remove the sausage and chop it up into bite-sized pieces. Fluff the rice with a fork and mix in the green onion and the cut-up sausage.
  4. Lay each boneless chicken leg on your work surface, skin side down. Wet your fingers with warm water (this will help prevent rice from sticking to your fingers), then add about 2-3 tbsp of the sticky rice mixture on the chicken meat, and form it into a cylinder. Roll the chicken meat around the rice in tight roll, and secure the ballotine with at least three pieces of twine. Repeat with the second chicken leg.
  5. Season the chicken ballotines all over with the Five Spice mixture. Place in a fridge, uncovered, to marinate for one hour before cooking.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  7. Take the ballotines out of the fridge. Place a large oven-proof skillet or sauté pan over a medium high heat. Once hot, add the oil to the pan, then add the ballotines to the hot oil. Brown on all sides (about 1.5-2 minutes per side) before placing the pan in the oven to roast. Cook for about 12-15 minutes, or until an internal thermometer plunged into the center of the ballotines reads 165°F.
  8. Remove from the oven and cool slightly before removing the twine, slicing the ballotines, and serving.

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