Pan de pollo is possibly the most entertaining dish in this book. It is a wonderful cold cylinder of tender chicken, encasing a rich centre of soft jamón and olive-infused terrine. It can be the centre of attention on a buffet table, or you can slice it up and add it to a tapas plate. It is also very simple to make. If you can’t bone a whole chicken, ask your butcher to do it for you. Tell them you want the bones removed but the skin left on in one whole piece. A friend of a friend encourages special service from her butcher by bringing him little treats she has made from his meat. Although there could be something else going on there, I would encourage you to have a good professional relationship with your butcher so they’ll go the extra yards to look after you.
Put the bread in a bowl, cover with the milk and set aside for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the skin from the chicken thighs. Hand chop the skin into small pieces and then coarsely mince it in a food processor or mincer along with the thighs.
Make the stuffing by squeezing out all the milk from the bread and discarding the milk. Break the bread into small pieces in a large bowl. Add the minced chicken, olives, jamón, nutmeg, cloves, eggs, parsley, sea salt and
To make the ballotine, lay the boned chicken, skin side down, on a clean bench. Lay some plastic wrap over the chicken and, with a meat hammer, gently even out the flesh to form the bird into an approximate
Spoon the stuffing down the centre of the chicken and neaten it into a cylinder shape. Lift up the sides of the chicken around the stuffing and mould into an even-shaped cylinder, doing your best to cover all the stuffing.
Tightly wrap the pan de pollo in several layers of foil. Using kitchen string, truss the ballotine with even loops to hold it in shape while cooking. Put in a large saucepan or stockpot and add enough salted water to cover the chicken. Add the onion, garlic, carrot and bay leaves. Bring to simmering point over medium heat but do not boil. Reduce the heat to low and gently simmer for 90 minutes. Allow to cool in the stock for 20 minutes then remove. Remove the foil, wrap the pan de pollo in plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator overnight.
To serve, cut into 1 cm (½ inch) thick slices and serve with salad, crusty bread, gherkins and piquillo peppers.
© 2007 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.