When last we left, Our Hero was shaking his fist at The Injustice Of It All and proclaiming long and loud for all to hear that he was going to reproduce a certain chicken dish as a show of solidarity with the long suffering denizens of Syria. As if that might help.
Change of plans.
Dates are not on sale this week.
Sorry, Syria. I feel bad for you. But not 12-dollars-a-pound bad.
However I already thawed the bird, so I had to do something with it. I kicked around various ideas, like tea smoking it or maybe making another super concentrated stock.
But as I was surfing around the food sites here at WP, I came across a really cool food blogger who posted a pretty inventive recipe for “Chicken and Celery”. Infused oils are all the rage these days, and he makes a particularly toothsome looking one from tarragon that seems worth trying.
Now, he calls the chicken portion of his plate a “ballotine”. I take slight exception to that, but only slight. Technically (and I turn to my 1963 edition of “Larousse Gastronomique” for this) if this dish is made with chicken it’s “galantine”. If it’s made with any other meat, it’s ‘ballontine”. We made that distinction when I was a chef, and I still do today. However, that may be a bit of pedantry on my part, as Prosper Montagne, the author of “Larousse”, also notes that the distinction was becoming blurred even in 1963, and they were for all practical purposes interchangeable terms now.
But dammit, I’m gonna tenaciously carry that torch anyway! It makes me feel smart. Ish.
Oh, and I have to say we only called it “galantine” if it used the entire fowl. Boned and rolled parts were given individual names. Still, what M. Suresh posted to his site looks gorgeous, so I don’t care what it’s called.
(BTW, I also note that “Larousse” lists 13 different recipes for celery, and my copy of Escoffier’s magnum opus lists 11. Hardly an unappreciated veg, at least at one time!)
Anyway, I had this thawed chicken that was dateless and needed to get busy. So galantine it was!
Prep for this dish actually does involve just a tad bit of knife skill. It’s not impossible by any means, but if you’re not comfortable working your knife around in slippery conditions…maybe get your mommy to do it for you. Or practice more, dummy.
Ok, so the basic premise of a galantine is this: a whole chicken has all its bones ripped out without cutting the meat into pieces or tearing the skin. Then you can either stuff it or not, after which you roll it into a fowl cylinder, and either bake it off or braise it. When it’s done you’ve got this tube of meat that you just slice into rounds and blah blah blah. It’s easy, but again, it does take some doing.
Here’s my step-by-step for tonight’s dish:
No mise en place shot. (Oops.) But it’s simple: a chicken, some twine, salt, pepper, jam, and a few other things I’ll get to as we go along.
I decided not to stuff the roll, just flavor it, and braise rather than roast.
Here’s the bird splayed out with it’s skeleton cruelly yanked and laid to the side. I removed the backbone first then used the boning knife to scrape the meat away from the rest of the carcass. I like leaving the last wing joint in, because it looks like my loaf has an erection when it’s finished:
Next I flipped the bird over, salt and peppered it, and spread a paste of Trappist fig jam mixed with a little lemon preserve and Maille mustard. Then a sprinkle of thyme over that:
Then you just close it up and tie it:
(See what I mean about the erection? Who can resist??)
Once that was done I heated some rendered chicken fat in a dutch oven and started browning it. Er…ignore the twine trying to escape at the ass end:
When it was browned all over I added some very rich stock that I’d simmered with a garlic clove and a little white wine, and dotted the top with butter:
(That erection’s looking better and better, huh? I’m actually kinda jealous….)
Then cover and into a slow oven (~300) until it’s done. (Uhhhh…165? Yeah, that sounds good.)
When done, remove the tube-o-bird to a cutting board to rest, while you cook down the braising liquor and turn it into sauce/gravy by waving your magic spatula (and thickening with a starch slurry, a shot of heavy cream, a little Sherry vinegar, a scrape of nutmeg, and sprinkle of cheyenne pepper).
Then cut the loaf open and trim away the piece that falls apart so people who see it on the interwebs won’t think you’re a poser, and set it on a stupidly fancy plate that you’ve first poured some sauce/gravy in because you saw them do that once in Hell’s Kitchen, and the guy won! Musta been that gravy on the plate:
I have to say, stuffed galantines look prettier (Google it), but I personally prefer unstuffed. Besides: look at that erection!
Speaking of erections, gotta go serve this to NewWifey(tm) now, and I just know she’s gonna be very very appreciative afterwards. Especially since there will be wine involved.
And, uh, sorry again, Syria. I hope this doesn’t hurt your chances for peace. But, y’know, 12 bucks a pound. That’s just wrong….