FAQ - What does the term ballottine mean?
Ballottine is a french term for meat that has been rolled into a cylindrical shape and filled with a stuffing which enhnces the meat being prepared. You can read more information by clicking this link.
Ballottine MasterclassThis is an example of a duck ballottine. If you are squeamish look away now.
The duck is turned over, breast side down, then the breast meat is taken off the bone, while keeping the skin in tact. This is like jointing a duck or chicken for saute, but in reverse. On the right below you have the boned out carcass, on the left, the duck remains whole skin side down. Next the leg and wing bones are taken out. You run the knife around the knuckles and bones literally removing the meat from the bone, then pulling the bone free.....
..... leaving just the meat. The bones can be roasted then boiled up to make a stock to use for the sauce.
The meat is then removed.
You will notice that the duck breasts have a thick and a thin end - thick at the neck and thin at the wing. If you roll them up like this when you serve your guests a slice of ballottine, some of them will have a nice portion of breast meat, whilst others will get short shrift. To avoid this, ease one of the duck breasts from the skin, first by hand, then finishing off with the knife, and turn it round so you have a thick end to a thin end.
You now also have a chance to trim up the inside of the skin, much like you do for a saddle of lamb - like shaving off layers of the inside of the skin so it's renders down better goes crispy, and you can really enjoy it at its best - but be careful if you go too far you can cut a hole in the skin which makes the ballottine burst during cooking.
The leg meat is put on top of the stuffing, and the duck is rolled up and tied with string for roasting, removing excess skin, so the skin remaining crisps up nicely.