Sunday, August 31, 2014

chicken thigh roulade

Well as I usually do when I buy a chicken without the express purpose of roasting it, and sometimes even then, I break it down. If I'm roasting it I'll leave the breasts on the bone but disassemble the other parts, after all there are usually only 2 mouths to feed. Otherwise the breasts come off and separated for 2 meals, the wings off for stock or a quick snack, the thighs usually kept on with the drum and are a portion each, and then finally the carcass is set aside, usually in the freezer ready for stock. I usually view the whole procedure as practice, for what I'm not quite sure, but I have the process down, these days I can break-down, debone and skin a chicken quicker than you can say it.

As with most things repetition makes you look for a break in the usual, so with this latest chicken I broke it down pretty much as normal but took the skin off whole and deboned the thighs, I wanted to do a roulade, I knew I was going to stuff it with ricotta and hazelnuts, heck I knew that when I bought the ricotta well before I bought the chicken, I knew pretty much how I was going to cook it, sous vide for an hour at 65°C (fry it to crisp the skin after), but looking at what I had to work with I wasn't quite sure how it was going to happen. That was until I remembered a certain little package that was sitting hidden in the bottom of the freezer, probably past its usable date, a packet of transglutaminase, activa rm, or commonly named meat glue, I had been thinking of a reason to use it for quite some time but most everything seemed convoluted, not tonight though, I needed something to hold these disparate pieces together.

A trusty small sieve was loaded with the white powder, skin laid down on a sheet of cling film, a dusting of the powder, thigh meat arranged in an even layer—leaving an edge with some skin uncovered—another coating of the powder, the filling shaped down the middle, the edge bought up and rolled tightly with the cling film, using a skewer, holes poked to release air bubbles, another layer of cling film down and used to roll it tighter, holes poked again, another layer rolled tighter, the ends rolled in opposite directions (like a Candy wrapper) tied with string and left to set in the fridge overnight.

The inside of the roulade was seasoned with smoked salt and pepper and the stuffing was made by equal volumes (by eye) of hazelnuts blitzed in the blender and ricotta (with salt and parsley).

Well most of the hard work done, the next day a large pot of water is heated to slightly higher than 65°C and the wrapped chicken removed from the fridge. A few more holes are pierced through the cling film to get rid of any pesky air pockets and the chicken is wrapped tightly again and tied to form a watertight seal. The wrapped chicken is placed in the water bath for about an hour or until the internal temperature reaches 65°C, remove the chicken from the water and carefully unwrap, use a clean tea towel to carefully dry the outside of the roulade, I find rolling it up in the towel to rest while I prep the rest worked best.

Heat about a centimeter of olive oil in a heavy based pan and get it to frying temperature, carefully brown the roulade all over, it will spit like crazy so be careful not to burn yourself. When fully browned place on some paper towels and cover, leave to rest while you sauté some cavolo nero.

Slice the roulade and serve on a bed of the sautéed greens.

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