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Slow poached chicken, sweetcorn egg, spinach with bacon and peas

For this dish you will need: 4 metal mousse rings (roughly 10cm x 4.5cm/4in x 1¾ in), two A4 acetate sheets and a juicer.


For the sweetcorn juice
For the steamed, truffled egg white
For the sweetcorn jelly
  • 220ml/7½fl oz sweetcorn juice (from above)

  • salt

  • 13g vegetarian setting agent

For the chicken liver parfait – this makes a large batch (any smaller and the food processor won’t blend it properly)
For the chicken sauce
For the chicken ballotine
For the chicken wings
For the chicken skin
  • 4 chicken skins from the breasts (above)

For the pea purée
For the spinach with chicken and peas
For the popcorn

Preparation method

  1. For the sweetcorn juice, pour the entire contents of the tins into the juicer and juice. Keep the juice.

  2. For the steamed, truffled egg white, cut acetate to line four mousse moulds and place inside each one. Using cling film, seal one end of the moulds. Whisk the egg whites with the chopped truffle, being careful not to break it down or fluff it up too much (you’re not trying to make meringue), season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  3. Fill each lined mould with the egg white. Bring a steamer to the boil, or if using an electric steamer get it to 100C/210F. Place the moulds in the steamer and cook for 15 minutes.

  4. Remove the mould from the steamer and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

  5. With an apple corer remove the centre of the whites to create a hole all the way through, this is where the sweetcorn jelly ‘yolk’ will go.

  6. For the sweetcorn jelly, place 220ml/7½fl oz of sweetcorn juice in a pan, season with a little salt, add the vegetarian setting agent, bring to the boil. Pour into the holes in the egg whites and leave to set in the fridge for four hours.

  7. For the chicken liver parfait, preheat an oven to 50C/120F (or its lowest setting). Create a bain-marie by filling a large tray with water and placing it into the oven to get it up to temperature.

  8. Heat a frying pan with a little oil, fry the shallots gently with the thyme until soft, then add the port. Reduce all the way down to a sticky consistency.

  9. Add the Madeira and again reduce all the way down to a sticky consistency, then pick out the thyme.

  10. Place the chicken livers, butter and shallot reduction into a food processor and blend, for 1½ minutes, then add the whole egg and egg yolk and continue to blend through for 5-10 seconds.

  11. Grease a terrine mould or small loaf tin with butter and pour the parfait in, cling film across the terrine mould very tightly.

  12. Place the parfait into the bain marie, the water should come two-thirds of the way up the terrine mould, and place into the oven for one hour or until cooked through.

  13. Remove the parfait from the oven, and from the bain marie, and leave to rest at room temperature for 25 minutes, then refrigerate for two hours or until set.

  14. For the chicken sauce, heat a pan with a little olive oil, add the shallots and cook until soft, then add the celery and mushrooms and continue to cook until everything is golden-brown. Drain everything off and leave to one side.

  15. Heat a large pan with a little oil and add the chicken wings, cook on a high heat until the chicken wings are really crisp on all sides, the crisper the better.

  16. Remove the chicken wings and deglaze the pan with the white wine, then add the shallot, celery and mushrooms and chicken back into the pan.

  17. Cook for 10 seconds and add all of the chicken stock, bring to the boil, skim off any froth that has formed on the top and add in the tarragon, bay leaf and peppercorns.

  18. Place everything into a pressure cooker and bring back to the boil, skim again, place the lid on and cook for 15 minutes.

  19. Strain through a fine sieve into a large pan and reduce down to a fairly thick gravy consistency.

  20. Finally stir in the whipping cream and season with the lemon juice and salt.

  21. For the chicken ballotine, remove the skin from the breasts and reserve. Remove any sinew and fat from the breasts.

  22. Remove the small fillet (usually found on the underside of the breast) and reserve, butterfly the breasts by making a sideways incision on the fatter side of the breast and opening like a book, season the inside of the breast with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  23. Take the sweetcorn eggs out of the moulds and remove the acetate, trim the edges to neaten. Wrap the sweetcorn eggs in spinach until completely covered.

  24. Place a spinach covered sweetcorn egg in the centre of each of the butterflied chicken breasts. Wrap the chicken tightly around the egg.

  25. If the breast doesn’t wrap all the way around the egg, take the mini fillet and place in between two sheets of cling film and flatten out with a meat hammer or rolling pan, use this to cover any exposed egg. Roll each breast tightly in cling film and tie both ends to make them airtight.

  26. Heat a large pan of water to 55C/130F using a thermometer and add the ballotines, poach for one hour.

  27. Remove the ballotines from the pan and place into a bowl of iced water for 10 minutes to chill.

  28. Once chilled, remove the cling film from the ballotines and set aside until ready to cook.

  29. For the chicken wings, using a serrated knife, cut through to the bone from one side and follow the bone down, taking the meat away from it, cut to just before the end of the bone on each side. Holding the wing with your hand, carefully push the bone out until it is released from the wing, reserve the small bone.

  30. Place a small nugget of truffle inside the wing meat, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Wrap each wing tightly in cling film and tie each end to form a sausage shape.

  31. Heat a pan of water to 60C/140F using a thermometer and poach the wings for one hour, keeping an eye on the temperature.

  32. Remove from the pan and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

  33. Meanwhile, fry the reserved small bones in a dry hot pan to colour, then place onto kitchen towel.

  34. Remove the cling film from around the wings.

  35. Add a little oil to the same pan and fry the wings on all sides until the skins are golden-brown.

  36. Trim one end of each wing to flatten so that they will stand up and carefully push the bones into the top to create small drumsticks.

  37. For the chicken skin, preheat the oven to 170C/325F/gas mark 3, place a layer of baking parchment over a flat tray and spread the chicken skins out as flat as possible. Place another sheet of baking parchment on top and then another flat tray, place into the oven with something to weight it down on top and bake for 14 minutes or until crisp.

  38. For the pea purée, bring the chicken stock to the boil in a pan and blanch the peas in it for two minutes.

  39. Make a beurre noisette by heating the butter in a non-stick pan, and cook until the butter begins to brown then take off the heat.

  40. Place the peas into a food processor and begin to blend, slowly add the chicken stock to let the mixture down until you get a nice purée consistency. Add the beurre noisette, blend until smooth. Pass through a fine sieve and season with salt.

  41. For the spinach with chicken and peas, make a brine by placing the sugar, salt, vinegar and 500ml/18fl oz water into a pan and bringing to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

  42. Place the chicken legs into the brine and leave for two hours. Remove the chicken legs from the brine and pat dry.

  43. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Place two A4 sheets of aluminium foil on top of each other and put the chicken legs on top. Drizzle well with olive oil and pull the edges of the foil up to form a parcel, making sure its airtight. Bake in the oven for 1½ hours, then remove from the oven and leave to cool.

  44. Once cooled, remove the chicken legs from the aluminium foil. Heat a frying pan over a high heat and add a little olive oil. Fry the chicken legs, skin side down, until the skin starts to crisp, then the meat starts to crisp too. Remove the chicken from the pan, and cut the leg meat into small dice.

  45. Heat a pan over a medium heat and add the butter. Wilt the spinach, which should take 2-3 minutes. Then add the peas and cook for another few minutes until the peas are cooked. Add the diced chicken, heat through and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  46. For the popcorn, place the popcorn into a large pan and fry on a medium heat with a lid on. Once fully popped remove from the heat.

  47. In a separate pan heat the caster sugar to a caramel over a medium heat, being careful not to burn. Add the butter then the popcorn and fold through until coated.

  48. Season the popcorn with salt and chopped truffle and leave to crystallise.

  49. To cook the chicken ballotines, place the eggs, flour and breadcrumbs onto separate plates.

  50. Roll each ballotine first in the egg, then the flour and finally the breadcrumbs making sure they are well coated in breadcrumb.

  51. Bring the duck fat up to 160C/320F using a thermometer and place the ballotines in, deep fry for 4 minutes, remove and leave to one side for five minutes for the residual heat to penetrate.

  52. Bring the oil up to 190C/375F and place the ballotines back in for another two minutes or until the breadcrumb is golden-brown and crisp.

  53. To serve, slice the chicken ballotine in half and place onto the plate with the chicken wing by the side. Place a quenelle of chicken liver parfait on the plate and garnish with popcorn and chicken skin. Finish with a spoonful of spinach, lardons and peas, a dollop of pea purée and a spoonful of chicken sauce.

Less than 30 mins preparation time

Over 2 hours cooking time

Serves 4

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This recipe is from...

Great British Menu 45. Banquet bbc_two Great British Menu

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