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Jan 1, 2012 02:28 AM

January 2012 COTM: Essential Pepin: Poultry and Game

Please use this thread to discuss and review recipes from the chapter about poultry and game.

The Chowhound Team has asked me to remind you that verbatim copying of recipes to the boards is a violation of the copyright of the original author. Posts with copied recipes will be removed.

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  1. In the accompanying DVD in the back, Jacques presents cutting up of chicken about 3 different ways for cooking. The last demonstration which is a deboned chicken stuffed with spinach, bread cubes, and cheese, and rolled up, has got to be a masterpiece.

    I am wondering if anyone has ever eaten this. Moreover, if anyone here will attempt it. Stunning.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Rella

      I am planning to try this, but can't give you a date yet! Mr. Nightshade has deboned a chicken like this before, and I am terrible at any type of butchery, so I will be enlisting his help. I'll certainly be reporting back here.

      1. re: L.Nightshade

        I watched with fascination Jacques' strength in his hands. As well as his control of what I imagine to be slippery fingers. He did use an aid of a dish towel a couple of times, but that was to tug a bone out that was hard to do.

        Just an aside, after watching all of Jacques' demonstrations, and deciding to cut up a whole chicken for a tagine for dinner tonight, we went to Bridgett's (at ATK/CI) demonstration. Of course, this is for basic cut-up chicken.

        But the demonstration for the spinach-wrapped cut up chicken is something to behold!

        Good luck to you and your mister and applauding your decision to give it a try.

        1. re: Rella

          I agree his skill is inspiring and he's a great teacher. I found the video you are referring to on YouTube when I was ploying to convince my husband to debone a chicken for one of the Italian Easy recipes. And even though he had to look at it a couple times, he was able to do so successfully. Maybe I can convince him to do it again. :)
          @L.Nightshade- I look forward to your report.
          @Rella- I hope you write up your experience with the tagine in the Roden COTM.

      2. re: Rella

        OK, tonight is the night for the Chicken Ballottine! I'm excited! I will report back later this evening, unless it is an embarrassing failure.

          1. re: L.Nightshade

            I have little doubt you'll make it a success, LN. Can't wait to read the results!

            1. re: L.Nightshade

              I have every faith that you'll master this technique, LN. We need to know the difficulties too, though. "Don't be bashful. You're among friends."

            2. re: Rella

              |In the accompanying DVD in the back,,|

              Aha! I missed that but when I picked up the book at the library yesterday, I had reserved it in December, had to go to the main desk as it was 'special handling". Now I know why... thanks.

            3. Chicken in tarragon sauce P. 262

              Looking for something interesting to do with boneless, skinless chicken breasts, I happened upon this wonderful recipe. The chicken breast is poached in chicken broth and aromatics, the chicken is removed when it is done, kept warm, and then the poaching liquid is reduced. After the reduction, cream is added to the reduced liquid, and then the chicken breast and tarragon are added in. I served it with rice.

              This dish was a real surprise: it was moist and extremely flavorful with a sauce that added enough richness to make it interesting without making it too rich. Although it had cream in it, it was just enough. It is the perfect way to cook chicken breasts that sometimes can become dry, These were not. My son and guest loved it, and I will definitely make this again.

              14 Replies
              1. re: roxlet

                I don't have dry white vermouth, or any vermouth. I do have prosecco, would you try it or wait?

                1. re: Rella

                  Any other white wine in the house?

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    Since I didn't have vermouth, I wasn't too excited about making it, so Mr. Rella made the recipe. He did the reducing as called for. I was, though, interested in the technique. Maybe it was a little overcooked to175F (his decision and I was OK with it); but the breasts were thick and it took a bit of time to get them to temperature. In hindsight, one of the breasts perhaps should have been butterflied.

                    He liked the recipe more than I did. Served with Tilda white rice, one of my favorite brands of white rice these days.

                    Served with Sauteed Snow Peas, Page 208, Jacques Cooking at Home. I will post re the snow peas.

                    1. re: Rella

                      I should have added that we did use the Prosecco. After seeing Breadcrumb's pics, I'm encouraged to try again. This time after a trip to the ABC store here in VA.

                      Do you think vermouth is the factor in this dish (nonwithstanding the tarragon)? Would a 'dry white wine' of decent quality make the difference?

                      Or as I keep mentioning, vermouth is sooo French, so is it a staple of the French kitchen; IOW, is vermouth more favorable an ingredient in French cooking than white wine?

                      1. re: Rella

                        I keep a bottle of white vermouth next to the stove, with the olive oil. It is slightly herbal, but probably not so as you'd notice (it depends a lot on the brand - a favorite brand went more herbal a year or two ago). Julia Child says you can sub it for white wine in recipes, so that is what I usually do, since I have it right there next to me and it is easier than opening a bottle of wine (which I will then proceed to drink ... erp). I really doubt it would have made a big difference to have used the prosecco or any dry white (at least anything you'd be willing to drink).

                        I'm guessing in VA you can get it in the grocery store wine aisle, next to things like port and sherry. I lived in C-ville for a year, and remember it being sold in groceries then.

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          "I keep a bottle of white vermouth next to the stove, with the olive oil."

                          That is an impressive visual.
                          So much so, that white vermouth is on my shopping list.
                          Thanks both.

                        2. re: Rella

                          I think that the vermouth did add a delicious flavor to the dish, but it's hard to know if that was the factor that made us like it so much without trying the prosecco version. I think the vermouth might have a more pronounced flavor...

                          1. re: roxlet

                            I'd trust roxlet over me, since she's the one who has made it!

                  2. re: roxlet

                    Chicken in Tarragon Sauce – p. 262

                    Our turn to give this a try tonight. I picked up some lovely, albeit giant chicken breasts at an Italian market yesterday and, had some tarragon lingering in the fridge so it was fortuitous to find this dish w my EYB search this afternoon.

                    I added about ¾ cup of chicken stock in addition to JP’s suggested poaching ingredients to ensure my plump (chicken) breasts cooked properly. This also meant I needed to spend a little more time reducing the cooking liquid to 1 cup however the flavours of the broth concentrated nicely and the splash of cream was just enough to take the somewhat bitter edge off the vermouth-infused stock and, soften all the flavours.

                    Though I served this over some rotini, I photographed it on its own. We really enjoyed this dish and it was the gentle tarragon infused cream sauce over the tender chicken that really impressed us. A very nice dish indeed.

                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                        Added thanks for the pictures. Years ago we had lunch in a hole in the wall bistro in Nice in the student quarter and had the best chicken in tarragon sauce I've ever had.
                        I've tried and tried to replicate it always with dried tarragon. Thanks to your picture, I now know that I need to grow tarragon, because that is probably the difference and gives it the 'right' color.

                        1. re: shallots

                          My pleasure shallots and let us know how you make out w the fresh tarragon. I suspect you're quite right and you'll have found the secret to replicating this dish!! Enjoy!!

                      2. re: roxlet

                        My turn on the Chicken in Tarragon Sauce. This was a hit. It isn't earth shattering, but it is really nice and homey, and as roxlet points out, surprisingly moist for breasts. And as she also says, the sauce is extremely flavorful. Lulu said "Mom, this is awesome." (probably happy that for one night at least, I am not burning her little tongue.) Thought about buying a baguette to go with, but in the end had such a busy day that it was just roasted sweet potatoes and onions, and it was still plenty, as this is a rich dish. Only one breast each and we were all happily satisfied (and that is saying something in this house).

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          Glad you liked it as much as we did, LLM!

                      3. DUCK LIVER PATE, p. 290

                        I had duck livers in the freezer and duck fat on hand, so I made this w/the intention of taking it to a NYE party, but when I discovered someone else was making chicken liver pate, DH and I snacked on it for NYE lunch and finished it late last night as we'd had an very early dinner. It is delicious.

                        You saute a coarsely chopped large shallot in 3 oz. duck fat, which has been melted over med.-high heat, for 30 seconds, then add about 3 oz. duck liver, 1/4 tsp herbes de Provence, and chopped crushed garlic (1 clove) and cook for a couple of minutes. Add 1/4 tsp ea of salt and pepper and transfer mixture to blender (says JP; I used a small FP). Add a teaspoon of cognac and process. (I would test for seasoning at this point; I wanted a tad more salt.) Transfer to ramekin and refrigerate to set. (I like to top the pate w/ a sprig of thyme and then a thin film of melted duck fat or butter to cover.) You can then freeze it if you're not going to use it immediately.
                        We ate this spread on toasted baguette slices, w/chopped scallions on top.

                        [I realized as I was making this that it is almost exactly, if not exactly, the same recipe to which someone on CH had steered me a year or two ago, with a link to a JP recipe though for some reason I had in my head that it was someone else's recipe, which is why I couldn't find it in my files.)

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                          Duck Liver Pâté, page 290.

                          I had a couple duck livers left from roasting two ducks, so made this pâté. It's very similar to my regular chicken liver pâté, but, oh what a difference those ducks make!
                          The recipe calls for the use of duck fat, which I hadn't reserved. I had, however, reserved and frozen the fat rendered when I had seared some foie gras. So that is what I used. nomadchowwoman clearly describes the technique above. I served this on an inappropriate bun, sliced and toasted, with slivers of apple. Easy and delicious!

                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                            Looks scrumptious as always LN and your "inappropriate bun" gave me a good chuckle! Quacked me up!!! (sorry!)

                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                              Thanks Breadcrumbs! You gave me a much-needed giggle.

                        2. Chicken with Saffron Rice (half recipe) p. 266


                          This is a one pot meal made with pantry staples. Brown skinless, bone-in chicken thighs and set aside. Saute thinly sliced onions and minced garlic in drippings for a couple minutes, then mix in Arborio rice, and add diced jalapeno, alcaparrado (I made this with roasted red peppers, capers and green olives), diced tomato (canned), saffron (this recipe calls for a rather large amount), water add chicken thighs, cover and cook 30 minutes.

                          This was not a hit for us, although the chicken thighs were moist and delicious (and the best part of this dish), the rice left us longing for more. I’m not sure if Arborio was the best choice for this dish, perhaps a long grain rice would be a better choice. The rice itself was lackluster. One could taste the alcaparrado, but it did not shine.

                          What I have enjoyed about the book so far is that Pepin doesn’t use excessive amounts of oil or butter and the recipes seem to be relatively healthy. In previous COTMs, I’ve had to decrease the amount of oil in the recipes.

                          6 Replies
                          1. re: BigSal

                            Thanks for the review. This was one of the poultry recipes I tagged last night for cooking next week. Perhaps I'll try one of the others instead.

                            1. re: BigSal

                              Oh gosh, this was on my list for next week. Will rethink, based on your review, Sal. Sorry it wasn't a hit.

                              1. re: LulusMom

                                I always hestitate to put a less than positive review and hate to discourage others. My husband said it was missing umami (all this food talk is rubbing off on him) Chicken stock instead of water, tomato paste, long grain rice and a pre-purchased alcaparrado might make a difference?

                                1. re: BigSal

                                  I'll keep it tagged to try at some point (and will include your comments on the post-it note I use to tag), but I think I'll try something else during its month as our COTM.

                                  1. re: BigSal

                                    No, Sal, I think it is just as important to tell the bad as it is the good. And I've noticed over the past year that we have very similar tastes. I think the probability is that you've saved our family from a less than stellar meal, and trust me, I appreciate that.

                              2. Chicken African-Style with Couscous (half recipe) p. 262


                                Success at last! I wasn’t expecting much from this recipe, but was pleasantly surprised. I made the marinade last night (ginger, lime, sliced onions, hot pepper flakes (a little extra), salt, garlic and black pepper). This morning I added the chicken (3 bone-in, skin-on thighs) to marinate until we came home from work.

                                Brown the thighs in fat from the chicken (I really didn’t have much extra fat) and set aside. Deglaze the pan with the marinade, add the chicken, bring to a boil (there really wasn’t a lot of liquid for me- much like Dorie Greenspan’s Mediterranean Swordfish with Frilly Herb Salad), cover and simmer 25 minutes. Because I only made half a recipe, I did not need to boil to reduce the sauce after the chicken was done. The sauce was already reduced and the onions caramelized.

                                The crispy chicken was succulent and enhanced by the caramelized onions and the flavors of marinade (some acidity, sweetness and a little heat from the red pepper flakes). The next time I might make the whole marinade so we have more of the sauce and onions. The couscous (made with a touch of melted butter) made this a complete meal. We served this with Glazed Carrots with Olives – not sure if it was the perfect pairing, but delicious nonetheless.

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: BigSal

                                  That sounds really good; I'll mark this one.

                                  1. re: BigSal

                                    Chicken African-Style [withQuinoa], p. 262

                                    Thanks to Big Sal for steering me toward this one; we loved it. I also made a half-recipe, using four thighs. Since I had some chicken fat in the freezer, I added about 2 teaspoons to do the initial browning. I also added a splash of chicken stock for the braise/simmer step since the marinade is not very wet.

                                    This is a nice, easy weeknight-friendly dish if you make the marinade in the morning or night beforen and marinate the chicken during the day. The flavors--ginger, garlic, lime, with the caramelized onion--were just wonderful. (The only change to the marinade I made was that I minced a Thai bird pepper and subbed it for the dried red peper flakes.) I served this on a bed of quinoa, with steamed carrots and grilled kale.

                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                      So glad you liked it! Your plated dish looks gorgeous. I have to make this again. Soon!

                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                        Sounds like this would work in a Targine, as well.