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How To Prepare a Chicken for a Ballotine

This technique involves boning out a chicken to leave only the breast meat to be stuffed. An extra couple of chicken breasts are required.

1. Carefully pulling the leg away from the skin.

2. Releasing the leg and thigh.

3. The chicken with an even layer of breast meat on the skin, ready for stuffing and rolling.


  1. Bone the chicken as described in our “how to” tutorial (link at the bottom of the page). Instead of tunnel boning the wings, legs and thighs, they are removed whole, with bones.
  2. For the leg/thighs, first cut off the lower knuckle through the joint, then carefully pull the leg/thigh away from the skin. You may need to use a knife to help release them, but take care not to cut through the skin. At the knuckle, keep pulling and the leg/thigh should be released from the skin.
  3. For the wings, cut off the last 2 pinions, then pull the pinion closest to the breast away from the skin on the inside. Use a knife if necessary to release the pinion.
  4. The wings can be used to make stocks and sauces and the leg and thigh meat used for stuffing the ballotine. The meat will need to be stripped from the leg and thigh bones and tendons trimmed away, leaving only the dark meat.
  5. Carefully pull away the chicken breasts from the skin and set aside. Scrape away any other meat and fat from the skin; you should be left with a rectangular piece of skin. Season it lightly. Then replace the breasts with an additional 2 breasts to cover the whole skin with breast meat. Pull the false fillets from the breasts and use these to fill in any gaps. The objective is to create an even layer of chicken breast meat on the skin, about 1.5–2 cm thick. You may need to cover the meat with cling film and pound the thicker ends of the breasts. Alternatively, trim a little of this meat off and use to fill in gaps as with the false fillets. Cut off any excess skin. The chicken is now ready for stuffing and rolling.