If you follow me on social media you have probably seen it: last weekend I cooked during a bachelorette party. The ingredients? A lovely location in the east of the country, a long, beautifully set table in the garden, 11 girls, a great kitchen, customised aprons, a dear brother to help me and a van full of coolers because it was hot outside!
My friend Ireen organised the bachelorette party and asked me a while ago if I wanted to cook the ladies a nice dinner. From the preparations to the evening itself, I have enjoyed it immensely! As a “theme” for the evening I chose light summer dishes with lots of colour. The past weeks I have tested many dishes: can I make it for a large group of people? I can prepare it in advance? And of course, most importantly, is the taste good? Eventually it became a colourful 5-course menu, which I mostly prepared the day before:
As a starter I chose a recipe from fellow food blogger Cravings in Amsterdam: a delicious (pink!) tartare of roasted beets with goat cheese cream and balsamic and roasted strawberries vinaigrette. Especially the vinaigrette: delicious!
Then a (green!) soup of peas and fennel, with an orange dressing and some Turkish yogurt: tastes like summer.
As mentioned: it was hot that day! So after the soup we had a refreshing spoom made of basil ice cream with some fresh strawberry puree and prosecco. Also great for my brother and me so we could cool down in the hot kitchen ;-).
The main course: a chicken ballotine stuffed with sundried tomatoes and lots of fresh green Italian herbs. We served it with light mashed potatoes with roasted garlic and basil and (colourful!) tomato salad with beans and balsamic dressing.
I found it quite exciting: will we get everything ready on time? Will the taste be good? Good preparation is half the battle but you never know… Luckily it all turned out just fine!
As I write this I relive the evening … I knew I love to cook, but evenings like this; I loved it! So if you have something to celebrate or just do not feel to cook yourself during a party? “Miss Gingerish Cooks” and thinks along!
What I’m definitely going to make again is the chicken ballotine. How to make an ordinary piece of chicken into a tasteful and beautiful looking dish? Well stuff and roll it ;-). In addition, it is an ideal recipe for a larger group: almost everybody likes and eats chicken (for example: in the case of this bachelorette party there were a few pregnant women), and you can prepare most of this recipe well in advance.
Chicken ballotine with sundried tomatoes and fresh Italian herbs
- 4 good quality chicken breasts
- 150 g extra chicken for the filling, finely chopped
- 8-10 sundried tomatoes, chopped
- 20 g fresh Italian herbs (thyme, rosemary, sage, basil)
- 1 egg
- 50 ml cream
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Olive oil for frying
- Some butter
- Cling film
Making a ballotine, or roulade, is not difficult, but maybe this video is useful to check before you start with the recipe: it shows how to butterfly chicken breast and tightly roll and pack the ballotine in cling film
- Put a large pan of boiled water over a low heat so that the water remains below the boiling point; for the ballotine water should be about 80 degrees
- First make the stuffing: mix the 150g chicken with fresh herbs and sundried tomatoes in a food processor
- Lightly beat the egg and mix into the chicken mixture, together with the cold cream
- Season the stuffing to taste with salt and pepper and set aside
- Butterfly the 4 chicken breasts
- Place a long piece of cling film lengthwise in front of you, lay a chicken breast at the bottom centre of the cling film
- Spoon some of the stuffing on the fillet and tightly roll it into a sausage using the foil
- Roll the ends of the foil tightly and knot the ends together (that’s why you needed such a long piece of foil ;-). Repeat with all the chicken breasts
- Put the wrapped ballotines in the water (which should not cook!) and let them slowly cook. This will take about 20-30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts
- After 20-30 minutes remove the chicken from the water and remove the foil. It’s okay if some water got inside the foil. Do not cut or prick the chicken so it stays nice and juicy
- Heat a little oil and butter in a large frying pan and bake the ballotines on all sides until golden brown
- Let the chicken rest for a few minutes and cut it into thick slices to serve
Serve with creamy but light mashed potatoes with roasted garlic and basil and a fresh salad. I made a salad with a mix of cherry tomatoes, briefly blanched green beans, rocket, basil and a dressing of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Want a more intense tomato taste? Then try these tomatoes from the oven.
Are you curious what it takes to organise such a dinner? I will tell you all about it soon!