Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A chicken, pt 1: Rolled breast with bacon and mushroom

I was inspired by a recent pressure test elimination challenge on Masterchef Australia to buy a chicken the other day. I wanted to try the technique described in the recipe at the bottom of this post.

Cold, I thought, the chicken portion would make a nice dish to pack in my bento box for lunch. I modified the recipe considerably, using bacon to line the chicken skin, and a mushroom mixture to stuff the breasts, a) because I don't happen to have any truffles lying around in the kitchen, and b) because I can't actually taste truffles!

A couple of mushrooms and some of my home-cured bacon:

I sliced some of the bacon very thinly …

… and cooked it off in a warm frypan. I wanted them to stay soft.

While the bacon was cooking I chopped the mushroom sand some garlic …

… which I put in the bacon pan when it was cooked …

… leaving it to cook in the bacon fat.

I ventured out into the garden to find a nice bit of sage …

… which I chopped finely and added to the mushrooms.

The chicken:

Following the instructions in the recipe I started on one side …

… and then the other, until it was completely peeled:

Cutting off the breasts was a piece of cake.

I had some little rips by the wing-holes …

…  but I easily managed to cut a bit of whole skin into a rectangle of the proper size:

Next job was to cut pockets in the breasts …

… , season the skin and the chicken with salt, and stuff the breasts with the cooked and seasoned mushroom mixture:

I arranged the bacon slices on my chicken skin …

… then the chicken breasts on top of the bacon. I had removed the tenderloins from the breasts, and I used one of them to fill in the skinny bit where the two pointed ends of breast overlapped:

Rolling the breasts up tightly in the chicken skin was easier than I had expected, and I didn't do it quite the way the recipe suggested …

… I rolled it up in plastic wrap after I'd rolled the breasts in the skin instead of at the same time:

The chicken went into the 64°C waterbath in which I was also incubating some cottage cheese:

The recipe said 68°C, but my low temp sous-vide instructions recommend 64°C for chicken breast so that's what I used.

After 40 minutes I pulled it out:

And left it to rest and cool for half an hour or so before slicing it into eight portions …

… plus two funny-shaped end bits that went straight into my mouth. It's good. Beautifully moist and very flavourful. And rather professional looking too, I thought.

Recipe from Masterchef Australia:

Free Range Chicken cooked with Truffle and Early Spring vegetables
by Peter Gilmore

25g black winter truffle, scrubbed with a brush and cloth
100g unsalted butter
1 x No 16 free range chicken
6 baby leeks, trimmed
6 red marble onions, trimmed
6 spring onions, trimmed
12 small cherry bell radishes, trimmed
12 small French breakfast radishes, trimmed
2 pink turnips, trimmed
6 baby white turnips, trimmed
125g fresh peas, shelled
16 pea flower shoots
8 society garlic flowers
6 okra sprouts
Garlic cream

500ml milk
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
6gms agar agar powder

1. Set temperature controlled water bath to 68 degrees C. Preheat oven to 180 C.
2. Finely grate 10g of the truffle with a microplane and add 70g of unsalted butter. Season to taste with sea salt and set aside.
3. To prepare the chicken place the chicken on a chopping board with the backbone facing up. With a sharp knife cut the skin lengthways down the backbone. Using your hands gently ease the skin from the chicken, going around the legs first and pulling the skin to the top of each leg. With a sharp knife cut the skin from the leg leaving only the smallest hole. Continue to remove the skin using your fingers from around the breast and pull back the breast until you reach the wing tips. Pull the skin back over the wing tips as far as possible using a sharp knife to cut and release the skin from the wing tips. Reserve the skin then remove the breasts from the bird and reserve.
4. Trim the skin into a large oblong cutting off any rough edges. You should have an oblong approximately 30cm x 24cm. Remove any excess fat from the skin with a sharp knife being very careful not to break the skin surface. Remove the chicken skin from the board and spread out a long length of cling film on the work surface approximately 45 cm wide and 70 cm in length. Place the chicken skin on top of the plastic up from the bottom edge.
5. Place 8 thin slices of truffle across the top two thirds of the chicken skin. Place the two chicken breasts slightly overlapping in the centre with the two point ends meeting on the bottom third of the chicken skin. Open up the fillet on each breast and with a knife make a small incision down the length of each breast being careful not to cut through the breast. Place the softened truffle butter into a piping bag and pipe half of softened truffle butter down the length of each incision and fold the fillets over the butter.  Begin to roll the chicken breasts in its skin until it is rolled into a cylinder.
6. Roll the chicken in the prepared cling film sheet tightly to give you at least 5 layers of plastic around the chicken. Tighten each end of the excess plastic by holding as you roll to form a sausage shape. Now roll in a second layer of cling film just as you have done before. Tie a tight knot in each end of the plastic. Place in the fridge to rest. Submerge the chicken into the preheated water bath for about 40 minutes.
7.  To make the garlic cream, heat the milk in a small saucepan until simmering. Add the garlic and allow the milk to gently simmer for 1 minute, remove from the heat and allow to cool. Strain the garlic from the milk.  Bring the milk to a simmer and add  the agar agar. Whisk in well and simmer for a further 1 minute. Season to taste with sea salt and allow to cool completely on ice.
8. Remove the chicken from the water bath and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Meanwhile reheat the garlic cream by whisking over a low heat, add some additional milk if necessary and place in a squeeze bottle. Keep warm. Cook all the vegetables in boiling salted water starting with the leeks and onions, then add the radishes, turnips and peas. Cook until tender. Drain and dress with the remaining 30g of melted unsalted butter. Season with sea salt. Remove the chicken from its plastic wrap and slice into 4. If the chicken hasn't completely cooked through, place in the oven for a couple of minutes.
9. To serve, arrange two slices of chicken, vegetables and garlic cream on each serving plate. Garnish each chicken slice with 1 additional slice of truffle and garnish the plate with some pea and garlic flowers and okra sprouts. Serve immediately.


  1. The end product reminds me strongly of Maki's Torihamu, although yours didn't take 2 days to marinate. It looks great! I'm sure it tasted wonderful.


  2. Yes, the torihamu is cured first. I've cooked cured chicken in my waterbath before just like that. The tricky part of this was supposed to be the skinning and rolling of the chicken.

  3. How about picture of plated results?

    You are a fabulous cook!

  4. How about picture of plated results?

    You are a fabulous cook!

  5. I don't "plate" most of what I cook!

    This lot went in the fridge to become part of my bentos this week.