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For our G.O.A.T. (greatest of all time) episode, of course we had to have the greatest living chef on the planet as a guest—Jacques Pepin! And he chose this de-boned and stuffed whole chicken as his G.O.A.T. recipe. Why? "It's a good recipe for teaching people technique," he says. It also couldn't be more delicious (or economical) and isn't as difficult as it may seem. The hardest part is removing the bones from the chicken, which is totally doable. (You can also ask a butcher to do it.) Jacques likes to serve the ballotine with mashed potatoes and braised endive or sauteed string beans. 

"A ballotine is a whole chicken that has been de-boned and stuffed. Elegant enough for company, it can be prepared up to a day ahead. (Freeze the bones and the neck, gizzard and heart for later use in soup or stock). This bird is best cooked in a sturdy, preferably aluminum roasting pan, to ensure a good condensation of the cooking juices, which will be used to create the sauce. Here, I stuff the ballotine with sausage meat, bread and seasonings, but the filling can be changed to include any combination of ingredients you happen to have on hand. The ballotine is served with a sauce made of chicken drippings and thickened brown stock." —Jacques 

For more recipes from our G.O.A.T. episode, check out Rach's Italian Sausages with Sweet and Sour Peppers and Onions (Agrodolce) and John's Roman Holiday Cocktail


For the Chicken:
  • 1 chicken (about 3 ¾ pounds), de-boned
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the Stuffing:
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
  • ½ pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 1/3 cup chopped scallions
  • 1/3 cup chopped mushrooms
  • ¼ cup chopped celery
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
For the Sauce:
  • ½ cup thickened brown stock
To Garnish:
  • Chopped parsley


Serves: 6 to 8


Preheat the oven to 425°F. 

De-bone the chicken, reserving the bones for stock or soup. Lay the chicken skin-side down on a work surface, sprinkle with the salt and pepper and set aside. 

For the stuffing, thoroughly combine the ingredients in a large bowl. Spread the stuffing evenly over the chicken, including the inside of the legs. Roll up the chicken and tie with kitchen twine. 

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown the chicken for a few minutes. Transfer the skillet to the oven and roast for about 1 hour. Lift the chicken from the pan and place on a platter, reserving the pan. 

For the sauce, add the brown stock to the drippings in the pan and bring to a boil, stirring to mix in any solidified juices on the bottom of the pan.   

Transfer the ballotine to a cutting board and remove the twine. Cut half of it into 4 or 5 slices, each about 1 inch thick. Return the uncut half to the platter and arrange the cut slices in front of it. Pour the sauce over and around the ballotine, garnish with the parsley and serve. Cut additional slices of ballotine as needed at the table.