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Chicken Ballotine with Sage and Onion Stuffing

Chicken ballotine filled with sage and onion stuffing and poached before being browned and served with a simple chicken and bacon gravy.

My version uses a flattened chicken breast to create a stunning-looking and delicious centrepiece to a meal!

Sage and onion stuffed chicken ballotine served with gravy, sprouts and Yorkshire pudding.

Sage and Onion Stuffed Chicken Breast

Chicken ballotine sounds and looks all sorts of fancy, and whilst it takes some time it is a delicious and pretty easy way of preparing chicken, or indeed many other meats.

The name derives from the French word for package “balle”, and the technique definitely falls into the classic French school of cooking.

However, the flavours here are most definitely British in influence and I love them. Sage and onion is a classic combination for roast chicken in the UK and this recipe definitely leans on that.

The stuffing for this poached and then pan-roasted chicken breast is a play on my sage and onion stuffing balls.

I love the flavours so much that I even have a chicken, sage and onion pasta recipe.

It’s a fantastic dish for a dinner party and it is just as easy to prepare for one as it is for twelve!

Overhead sage and onion stuffed chicken ballotine served with gravy, Yorkshire pudding & sprouts.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I use chicken thighs?

Yes, but you will likely not get as “nice” a shape and your serving size will be smaller. Asa result, you will need less of the stuffing mix.

Can this be prepared in advance?

Yes definitely!

The stuffing will be fine in the fridge for 4-5 days. The chicken can be flattened, stuffed and rolled then kept in the fridge for 2-3 days before cooking.

You could also poach the chicken immediately and keep it in the fridge for 2-3 days and then just pan roast it before serving.

You can even freeze the poached chicken breast for up to 3 months, then defrost it before pan roasting.

Can I use store-bought stuffing mix?

Sure, why not! But making your own is super simple too.

What is Marmite?

It’s a British “yeast” spread and it very much divides opinion. I personally do not like it as a spread but it adds a wonderfully umami richness to gravies. Feel free to omit it if you wish.

I use it in everything from my vegan onion gravy to my mushroom stroganoff!

Close up sage and onion stuffed chicken ballotine served with gravy and sprouts.

Serving Suggestions

I serve my chicken ballotine here with my foolproof Yorkshire puddings and miso glazed brussels sprouts, although I keep them whole this time.

But you can throw a host of different sides with this recipe and it will work wonderfully!

You could serve the ballotine on a bed of mash, mashed potatoes, swede and carrot mash and even celeriac mash would work perfectly.

Sticking with roots, potatoes are great served alongside this chicken! Parmentier potatoes would be great and if you are feeling indulgent how about some fondant potatoes?

If you want some greens, how about some braised cavolo nero or roasted tenderstem broccoli.

Chicken ballotine with sage and onion stuffing, bacon gravy, Yorkshire pudding & sprouts.

Equipment Used

I do not recommend specific brands of equipment unless I think that it makes a material difference to a recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.

  • Weighing scales and or measuring cups and spoons.
  • Sharp kitchen knife.
  • Chopping board.
  • Cling film.
  • 24cm or 9-10″ non-stick frying pan.
  • 28cm or 11″ frying pan, not non-stick.
  • Medium saucepan 20cm or 8″.
  • Stovetop.
  • Mixing bowl.
  • Jug for stock.
Chicken ballotine with sage and onion stuffing, bacon gravy, Yorkshire pudding & sprouts.
Yield: 2 Servings

Chicken Ballotine Recipe with Sage and Onion Stuffing

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

Chicken breast ballotine filled with sage and onion stuffing is a lightened-up take on an old-school British roast chicken dinner and comes with a gloriously simple bacon and chicken gravy.


For the Chicken:

  • 2 Small Chicken Breasts
  • 100g (⅔ Cup) Onion
  • 50g (⅓ Cup) Dried Breadcrumbs
  • 50g (3 Tbsp + 1 Tsp) Butter
  • ½ Tbsp Dried Sage
  • ½ Tsp Salt
  • ¼ Tsp Black Pepper

For the Gravy:

  • 375ml (1½ Cups) Chicken Stock
  • 200g (1⅓ Cups) Onion
  • 2 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 Tsp Dried Thyme
  • 1 Tbsp Cooking Oil
  • 1 Tsp Cornflour or Cornstarch
  • 1 Tsp Marmite
  • 100g (3.5oz) Bacon Lardons


  1. Peel the onion for the gravy and cut it into a 1.5cm (½") dice.
  2. Bash the garlic cloves with the side of a knife, don't bother peeling them.
  3. Heat a 28cm or 11" reactive (not non-stick) frying pan over a low-medium heat and when it is hot add the oil for the gravy followed by the diced onion and garlic cloves and cook for 20 minutes stirring every 5-7 minutes.
  4. Melt the butter for the stuffing and pour it into a mixing bowl with the breadcrumbs.
  5. Peel the onion for the stuffing and grate it on the coarse side of a box grater and add it to the breadcrumbs and butter followed by the sage and salt and pepper, then mix well and set aside.
  6. Butterfly the chicken breasts by cutting them in half along the length without going all of the way through, then open them up like a book. Sandwich each chicken breast between two pieces of cling film then flatten them with a meat mallet or rolling pin until they are around 10-12mm (½") thick.
  7. Take another piece of cling film and lay it on your work surface and add the chicken breast, presentation side down. Take half of the stuffing mix, form a sausage, lay it into the middle of the chicken, and then roll the chicken around the stuffing.
  8. Wrap the cling film around your "sausage" of chicken, and then seal the edges like a Christmas cracker taking care to remove any air, then roll to tighten. The best method is to hold the ends, and roll forwards, lift it from the work surface, bring it back to you and roll again, repeating until you have a nice tight chicken package, then repeat with the other piece of chicken.
  9. Bring a medium (20cm or 8") saucepan of water to a gentle bubble, and add the chicken parcels and simmer for 15 minutes.
  10. Whilst the chicken is cooking pour the chicken stock into the onions and garlic and turn the heat up to medium, and cook until reduced by half (this will take around 10-15 minutes), then mix the cornflour with 1 tablespoon of water, stir it through the stock until it begins to thicken, then set aside.
  11. Heat a medium (24cm or 10") frying pan over a medium heat and add the bacon lardons after the chicken parcels have been poaching for 5 minutes, and gently cook until it renders out some fat which will take around 10 minutes. If they start to burn reduce the heat.
  12. Remove the chicken parcels from the boiling water and cut off the cling film, then dry them on some kitchen paper.
  13. Turn the heat up under the bacon to medium-high and add the chicken parcels and cook on all sides to get a nice colour, this will take 3-4 minutes.
  14. Stir the marmite through the gravy, then strain it into the frying pan with the chicken breast and reheat for 60 seconds.
  15. Finally, remove the chicken and slice it to your liking, I trim the top and bottom so that it will stand up, then cut it in half at an angle.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 926Total Fat: 53gSaturated Fat: 22gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 28gCholesterol: 211mgSodium: 2235mgCarbohydrates: 45gFiber: 4gSugar: 12gProtein: 66g

Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.

Did you make this recipe?

If you made this recipe, I'd love to see what you did and what I can do better, share a picture with me on Instagram and tag me @krumplibrian and tell me how it went!


Tuesday 10th of April 2018

Beautiful recipe, and since here it is raining cats and dogs, it feels like a very British weather and it is a great option also for Spring. When you say onions, sage and butter, I cannot miss it.

Brian Jones

Wednesday 11th of April 2018

Totally with you on sage an onion, a perfect combination and so very British :D

Michelle Barsness

Monday 9th of April 2018

Wow the herbs and flavors used in your dish sound like they'd be just perfect with the chicken. Love it! And that beautiful Yorkshire pudding. What a great dinner. I'm drooling.

Brian Jones

Tuesday 10th of April 2018

Thanks Michelle.

Marisa Franca

Monday 9th of April 2018

Although it's spring here, we might as well be trudging toward Christmas as cold as it is. Heavens, it's April and the poor flowers don't know what to do. I haven't done much with poaching food, eggs are about it, but you've piqued my interest. The chicken sounds delicious and by using your method, the dish would be incredibly flavorful!! Will certainly have to give this a go.

Brian Jones

Tuesday 10th of April 2018

Spring seems to be springing here in all sorts of ways. This technique is properly old school and I love it and use it all the time you can stuff the chicken with anything you like.

Platter Talk

Friday 23rd of December 2016

What a lovely departure from the "normal" Christmas meals served in the US. Your chicken looks sublime and those popovers are towering! Love the brussels sprouts recipe, too. Will you do a popover recipe some time? Mine never get that tall.

Brian Jones

Saturday 24th of December 2016

Cheers Dan... I'm not sure it is a popover but a Yorkshire pudding most of the recipes I have seen are very similar, I do have my Yorkshire pudding recipe here:

Amanda | The Kitcheneer

Friday 23rd of December 2016

This dish looks STUNNING! I would be so excited to go to your house if I knew this was for Christmas dinner! Yum!

Brian Jones

Saturday 24th of December 2016

Thanks Amanda, I'm keeping this as a simple midweek winter dinner party dish ;)

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