Apricot & Cashew Chicken Ballotine with Cumin Fondant Potatoes

Served with roasted Cauliflower florets, crispy Chicken skin, Asparagus & spicy Gravy

The idea behind my new recipe was to mix together two of my favourite dishes; the classic roast dinner and a good old curry. I’ve made this dish twice now, experimenting on my ever willing friends & family. I like the combination of the sweet apricots, gravy infused with chilli and cinnamon, and the earthy flavours of potato and cauliflower.

The crispy chicken skin is deliciously tasty. Think of it like a slightly healthier alternative to pork scratching’s! 

In the gravy, I used dried Kashmiri chillies, as I love the gradual heat that you get from these. You can buy them in most Indian supermarkets but other types of chillies would also work. 

The most difficult part of this recipe is flattening out the chicken breasts. If the breast is too thick, it is difficult to roll. If it has been flattened too much, the chicken can disintegrate. My advice is to use a wooden rolling pin, put the breast in-between 2 layers of cling film and keep checking the thickness as you go along. The chicken should be around ½ cm thick.

Ingredients (Serves 4):            

For the Chicken:                    

4 good size Chicken Breasts

100g dried Apricots

100g Cashew Nuts

½ Onion finely chopped 

Cumin Fondant Potatoes:

4 good size potatoes (Peeled & cut into 1 inch slices, discard the ends)

50g unsalted Butter

1 litre of veg stock

1 tbsp. Cumin seeds

For the Spicy Gravy:                         

1/2 Onion

4 roughly chopped Tomatoes

1tbsp grated ginger

1 dried Kashmiri chilli finely chopped (with the seeds -unless you prefer it milder!)

Cinnamon stick (halfed)

½ tsp. Cayenne Pepper

½ tsp. Turmeric

1 litre of Chicken stock (I use Oxo or Bisto)

Handful of Coriander

Roasted Cauliflower Floret:   

1 small Cauliflower (Cut into small florets approx. 1-2 cm wide)

1/3 cup of Olive Oil

Salt & Pepper

Extras:

Skin of 4 Chicken Thighs

Bunch of fresh Asparagus

Extra Olive Oil, Salt & Pepper and Coriander

Method:

Prepare the chicken breasts as described above.

Blend together the apricots and cashew nuts in a food processor until they have broken down. Heat up a little olive oil and fry the onion until soften. Add the blended apricots and cashew mix, salt, pepper and mix together well for a few minutes.

Spoon approx. 2 tbsps of the mixture onto each flattened chicken breast and spread out evenly. Roll up the each chicken breast so it looks like a sausage (as in the picture above).

Immediately wrap up each breast tightly in cling film. Ensure that the ends are secured by tying in a knot to prevent any water getting in during cooking. Leave to chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

Cut the skin off the chicken thighs, season with salt & pepper and place in-between 2 layers of baking paper on top off a baking tray. Add the cauliflower florets to an oven-proof dish and mix with the oil, salt & pepper.

Pre-heat the oven to 200oC, bring a large pan of water to the boil and carefully add the chicken to the pan. Turn the heat down slightly and simmer the chicken for 30 minutes.

In a large flat flying pan, melt the butter and add the cumin seeds. When the butter has melted add the potatoes slices, depending on the size of the pan you may need a second pan. There should be 12 slices in total (3 per person). Turn the potatoes over after approx. 5 minutes or when they have turned golden brown. Repeat the same for the other side.

Add the stock to the pan (if you’re using 2 pans split the butter and stock between the 2 pans. You may need a bit extra stock. The potatoes must be covered in the stock). Bring to the boil then turn down the heat. Put a lid on the pan and simmer for approx. 40 minutes or until soften.

Remove the chicken from the pan carefully with a large spoon. Cut off the ends and unwrap the chicken from the cling film. Make sure all the cling film has been removed. Place the chicken onto a baking tray and add to the oven for 15 mins, along with the chicken skin and cauliflower.

Heat up a little oil and add the onion, once soften add the tomatoes and spices. After a few minutes of stirring, add the chicken gravy and simmer on a low heat for around 15mins. Turn the heat off and put a lid on the pan. When ready for serving strain the gravy using a sieve.

Put the asparagus in a pan, add boiling water, and heat on a medium heat for 5 minutes.

To serve, place 3 fondant potatoes on each plate. Cut the chicken up into approximately 1 inch slices. On top of each potato add a slice of the chicken. Put the crispy chicken skin in between 2 of the potatoes and place the asparagus and cauliflower onto the plate as desired.

Finnish off by pouring the spicy gravy over the dish. Place any left-over chicken or potato on the table, as people will want to go back for more!

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