Sorry, Syria.

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:

Galantine 1

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:

Galantine 2

Then you just close it up and tie it:

Galantine 3

(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:

Galantine 4

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:

Galantine 5

(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:

Galantine 6

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….




29 thoughts on “Sorry, Syria.

  1. Looks interesting. I like the sound of the ingredients, but here’s where your chef skills cross into the territory in which I would take the lazy way out. Not going to debone the bird. I’m already missing a couple of fingers (yes really) and no way I could perform that trick without slicing away a couple more. Ergo I’d probably stuff the ingredients and bake. I braise too often as it is, and baked chicken actually sounds pretty yummy, now that I think about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol. We used the same logic, just from different sides. I bake so often that I wanted to change things up. Ergo, my braise. But you go right ahead and bake, it’s a wonderful way to make this also. Just sprinkle the outside with salt, and cook it in a hotter oven (on a rack is my choice, also).

      Hah! I certainly understand, given your time constraints, why you’d take the shortcut method. The only thing I might add, if you want to get closer to galantine than just a stuffed roast chicken, is to slip the stuffing between the skin and the meat rather than just rammed into the body cavity.



      1. I was already thinking along those lines, so the flavors could really permeate the meat. I’ll definitely be trying it soon, if I can dredge up the time and the ingredients at the same time.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hmmmm…reminds me of a rolled pork tenderloin I cooked one Easter, slashing little holes in random intervals to insert rosemary, garlic or something. The way the roast had been strung, when it was cooked, it looked like — and was named — Cazzo di Cristo.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Cazzo di Cristo”! Lol, love it. Oh those wacky, Pope loving Italians 🙂

      I like doing rolled pork dishes also, as they’re particularly adaptable to almost any flavors. If it’s a larger cut than a tenderloin though I often either butterfly it or open it up into a sheet, then re-roll it around a filling. You can see my version of one here (again a braise, but that’s just a coincidence):


      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your rolled pork dish looks delicious! The pork tenderloin, as I cooked it, was Pietro Vasco’s recipe, he of the Focaccia fame. But his didn’t come out looking like, well, the nether-parts of a hopeful bull. When he was teaching me to cook something, I took photos of every step because, at that point, we didn’t really have a “normal” common language. We understood each other fine, but there’s no way to write down whatever patois that was. Italian, French, German, Spanish like the guy in Name of the Rose… Maybe I’ll write a post and put up the photos of the “recipe” sometime.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. He had lymphoma and wanted to be sure his three favorite recipes didn’t vanish. ❤
            The lymphoma is sad, but it awakened him to what he really cared about in life and the last five years were probably the happiest he lived. It's a story I'd tell you and (Newwifey tm) if I were ever in New Jersey. I think I will write the post about the pork tenderloin roast, though.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. That looks totally delicious. Way beyond my cooking ambitions though – I’m quite cack-handed and also lazy. Not too lazy to cook real food, but too lazy to spend that much time on it.


    1. Ha! You ain’t foolin’ no one, missy. I’ve seen some of the creations you’ve pumped out of that kitchen of yours, and they’re hardly unambitious. I mean, your last post featured TWO kinds of scones made from scratch! You’re either being overly modest, or you are blind to your own talents. Not to mention deluded about the meaning of the word “lazy”.

      FWIW, de-boning a chicken the way I described here does not take that much time. I’d bet you anything it took you longer to make those scones. If you can break down a whole chicken into pieces, which takes all of 30 seconds, it’s only one step further to be able to *scrape* the meat away from the bone instead of chopping the entire thing off. You have to believe me that this is one of those procedures that looks more impressive – and intimidating – than it is. I have absolute faith that if you turned your hand to it you would accomplish the feat both quickly and neatly.

      Although not as quickly and neatly as me, of course 😉


    1. Lol. Yeah, it’s a great way to cook a bird (turkey, too). But if the idea of putting something in your mouth with the word “cock” in it makes you blanche, you could always call it “butterflied” chicken. Same thing.

      One of my favorite ways to do chicken is actually spatchcocked…er, butterflied….on a rack over a bed of sliced potatoes. Very high heat – like, 500 degrees – crisps it up fast, with the rendering fat dripping down frying the potatoes at the same time. Good times…good times….


      Liked by 1 person

        1. Sorry for the delay. You caught me just as I was getting ready to leave work.

          Chicken under a brick is a great way to make the classic dish, “Chicken Under a Brick”. Go figure, huh? It is muy exellente when done right, but a lot of people fuck it up. This is actually one of those dishes where I would recommend following a proven recipe, from Cooks Illustrated or Serious Eats or some place like that, because the wrong combination of temperature and pressure could leave you with a real mess. But yeah, a good dish.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. hey, don’t let me scare you away from making this. It IS a walk in the park if you just get one or two particulars down. It’s really a very tasty dish, so fuck me and my asinine scary admonishments. DO IT!

              Liked by 1 person

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