TRUFFLED CHICKEN BALLOTINE
This is the winning recipe in our truffle competition. It was submitted by Stewart Roberts, of Macquarie. You can watch him cook it on Saturday, June 23, at the Exhibition Park markets.
This recipe is a bit of a fiddle; but I figure anyone foodie enough to buy fresh truffles is up for some serious cooking. You can take care of the first five or six steps the day before if you like.
1.5kg free range chicken
1-2 red shallots, finely chopped
clove garlic, finely chopped
250-300g of pork mince
1/4 cup of pistachio nuts
1/4 cup of dried apple, finely chopped
small pinch thyme leaves
6-8 very thin slices of black truffle
1 teaspoon of finely chopped black truffle (use ends and rough bits of a whole truffle).
Debone the chicken, leaving the skin intact. This will take a while. Turn off your phone and put some music on. Season the inside with salt and pepper and set aside.
Sweat the shallots in a small pan for around 5-10 minutes until transparent. Add garlic and allow to brown slightly. Deglaze the pan with Calvados and allow to cool.
In a bowl, combine the pork mince, pistachios, dried apple, thyme and cooled shallots/garlic; and season liberally with salt and pepper. Work the mixture slightly by slapping it about in a bowl - you want to make it bind a little bit without getting tough. Set aside.
Take the deboned chicken and gently break the skin away from the breast meat by sliding your fingers in underneath the skin. Carefully insert the slices of truffle under the skin, trying not to break them up. If you do, it's not the end of the world, but it won't look as pretty.
Lay the chicken skin side down on a double layer of clingwrap. Lay the pork mince mixture in the body cavity and fold the chicken up around it. Try to keep the meat inside the skin as much as possible. Wrap the clingwrap around the chicken and roll up into a sort-of sausage. Pop in the fridge to set for an hour or two (this will make the next step easier).
Take the "sausage" out of the fridge and truss it up with string or sillicone ties. You don't have to do this, but the end result will be so much prettier if you do.
Pop on a trivet in an casserole pot/dutch oven with about 1cm of water under it. Put into the oven at 180. When it's cooked, lift the lid and crank the heat up to 200C to crisp the skin. Take out of the oven and let it rest for at least five minutes (preferably 10).
While that's happening, pour the water from the bottom of the pot into a saucepan. Thicken with a little flour to make a thin gravy. If you need to, add some chicken stock for a little more volume. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly and whisk in the chopped truffle.
Cut the ballotine into thick slices (Carve it at the table. Show a little class, ferchrissakes) and pour a little of the gravy over. Serve with seasonal roast veggies (Spuds, parsnips and pumpkin are all dead good at the mo').
TRUFFLED POACHED PEARS WITH RICH TRUFFLED ICE CREAM
This recipe was runner-up in our truffle competition. It comes from Christine Joannides, of Narrabundah, who wins truffle.
Truffled poached pears
5 near-ripe Beurre Bosc pears, peeled, cored and quartered
500ml desert wine or moscato
1 ¾ cups sugar
fresh ginger - 5 thin (potato peeler) slices
½ lemon cut into 4 sectors
Place water, wine and sugar in large saucepan and heat until dissolved. Place the ginger and lemon into the syrup and keep it just sub-simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the ginger and lemon and discard. Add the pears, ensuring they are submerged.
Grate 10g of the truffle into a medium-sized, fine-meshed sieve, and sit into the syrup among the pears. Simmer (just barely) for 25 minutes, agitating the sieve occasionally to allow syrup and truffle flavours to mingle. Turn off the heat and allow the pears and syrup to cool for 30 minutes.
Remove the pears (using a slotted spoon) to a square (ice-cream-bucket/lunch-box-sized) container (that will later comfortably take loosely packed pears and sieve with truffle shavings). Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Reduce the syrup in the pan to about 50 per cent its original quantity. Cool and tip it over the pears. Place sieve with truffle shavings among pears and syrup, then shave the remaining 5g of truffle and add to the sieve. Stir the syrup and shavings in the sieve for five minutes, then seal everything in (pears, syrup and sieve of shavings) with plastic wrap. Leave overnight in the refrigerator.
To reheat, remove the sieve of shavings and reheat the pears and syrup gently to about 40 degrees.
Speedy rich truffled ice cream
1 litre high-quality ice cream
2 tbsp caster sugar
Remove the ice cream from the freezer to soften. Chill four or five small bowls in the freezer.
Melt the butter over low heat. In a jug, combine the milk, egg and shaved truffle. Tip in the melted butter and whiz with a hand-wand to produce a smooth and fluffy “truffle custard”. Place the custard in a saucepan and stir over low heat (just-sub-simmer, or use a water bath), stirring continuously for five minutes. Cool the saucepan in water then place in the freezer to cool further (until slightly lumpy).
Divide the ice cream into four or five serves, fold the truffle custard into each serve and place into the chilled bowls. Freeze again.
Heat the pears (to body temperature) and gently place three to four quarters in each bowl. Warm the small bowls of ice cream so that it slides out easily. Place a dome of truffled ice cream over the pears and pour warm syrup over top (so the pears are covered). Grate the last 5g of truffle over top of ice-cream domes. Serve with disclaimer form.