, Step by step

Chicken ballotine on Puy lentils

Perfect for friends and an informal dinner party.

Mark Stower, Director of Food and Service.

Preparation Time: 15 mins

Cooking Time: 30 mins

Serves: 6


  • Step 1

    In a large saucepan heat the 25ml of oil and add the half the shallots. Now add the garlic and leeks. Cover with a lid and soften without colour over a medium heat.

  • Step 2

    Now add the spinach and season with salt and pepper.

  • Step 3

    Season the inside of the boneless chicken legs and divide the cooked spinach mix between them. Roll the chicken legs up and wrap in tinfoil. Leave in the fridge for later.

  • Step 4

    When ready to cook, place the chicken in the oven and cook on a high heat – 170°C, until the chicken is fully cooked approximately 25 minutes.

  • Step 5

    Heat the rest of the oil and add the shallots then cooked carrots. Cook for 1 minute without colour and then add the lentils to reheat them. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Step 6

    Remove the foil from the legs and place them under a grill to crisp up the skin. Divide the lentils between the plates and then slice each leg into four and arrange on the plate with the drumstick whole.

  • Step 7

    Drizzle some balsamic glaze over the chicken and serve.


This month Mark has taken a classic dish – chicken ballotine – and given it a healthy twist by making a vegetable stuffing – rather than using the traditional meat or creamy mousses – making this a much lighter and healthier dish.

The ballotine is served on a bed of puy lentils. These dark blue-green, speckled lentils are slightly peppery and hold their shape on cooking. They don’t need to be pre-soaked and are easy to cook – just simmer for 20-25 minutes in water or stock and add some fresh herbs for extra flavour.

Lentils are legumes – believed to be one of the first foods ever cultivated and thought to have originated in Central Asia. They grow in pods like peas and there are dozens of different varieties. Puy lentils take there name from the Le Puy-en-Velay area in France where they are grown.

Lentils are particularly rich in protein, and also provide lots of fibre, vitamin B1, folate and minerals including zinc and iron.

The puy lentils in this dish count as one of the daily 5 portions of vegetables/fruit and the vegetable stuffing provides another half a portion. Serve the chicken with a green vegetable and there’s another! Who said eating more vegetables was difficult?