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January 2012 COTM: Essential Pepin: Poultry and Game

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

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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. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8259...

                                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.

                                    2. Chicken Diable, Pg. 259

                                      This is a zesty and slightly pungent chicken that we liked very much. It calls for a 3 1/2 - 4 pound chicken cut into parts and skinned or the same amount of either breasts and/or thighs. I used 6 boneless, skinless thighs. No deviations or adjustments were made.

                                      To begin sprinkle the chicken all over with S & P. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet, add chicken, cover and cook for a few minutes. Turn chicken over, cover and cook for several minutes more. (He has each of the chicken parts go into the skillet at different intervals to insure the quick cooking parts are added last.) When all the chicken parts are browned remove from pan and set in a warm place.

                                      To the drippings in the pan add a Tbsp crushed garlic and cook a few seconds - don't let it brown. Using red wine vinegar deglaze the pan stirring up all the fond. Cook this till most of the vinegar has evaporated. Add some water and tomato puree, bring to boil, cover and boil a minute. Add S & P and Tabasco. Ladle this sauce over the chicken and garnish with either minced tarragon or parsley.

                                      I served this with blackeyed peas and rice. Very nice combination. Certainly worth a remake, and I'll probably just increase the amount of Tabasco used at the end. Although there seems to be quite a number of ingredients in JP's recipes, the flow of cooking moves right along quickly and easily. At least for those recipes I've made so far.

                                      1. Spicy Chicken Breasts, Pg. 256

                                        Another of JP's quick, easy and tasty chicken recipes. The spicy is caused by a combination of toasted then ground juniper berries, coriander seeds, and mustard seeds (black for me) This mixture is rubbed all over 4 chicken breasts then the breasts are brushed on both sides with olive oil. Pre-heat oven to 180F. Yes, That low...!

                                        Into a preheated very large non-stick skillet place the chicken and cook over med.-high heat 3 minutes. Turn the breasts over and cook another 3 minutes. Put the chicken on an oven proof platter and cook in the oven for "at least" 10 minutes to finish. That part had me wondering... and indeed the chicken was not cooked through so G raised the heat to 350F. It took an additional 10-ish minutes for the chicken to finish cooking.

                                        I was surprised to see that the chicken was juicy, tender, and full of flavor in spite of my qualms. We both liked it well enough to put into rotation. Piquant Steamed Broccoli with Lemon sauce on page 416 was the side dish.

                                        13 Replies
                                        1. re: Gio

                                          Gio, are these bone-in breasts or boneless? Definitely intrigued by the spice combination here, but the 180F, wow. I don't know if my oven will even hold a temp below 200 very well.

                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                            Was this book originally done in celsius and they forgot to convert that number?

                                            1. re: debbiel

                                              I really don't know debbiel but it was probably not. I wondered if that temperature was an editorial error.

                                              1. re: debbiel

                                                I just googled 180 C and it comes out to 356 F, so I bet this was an editorial error.

                                                1. re: Goblin

                                                  Great, thanks Goblin. So our correction was a good one and will go right into the book. I hope others see this discussion.

                                                  I didn't even think to Google that. Guess I'm just one of the sheeple after all.

                                              2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                Caitlin they were boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Many of his recipes call for removing the skin but saving it to use for cracklings. The 180F is very strange, I think.

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  Thanks, Gio. The timing of the recipe makes perfect sense with the 350F change, based on past experience.

                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                    I just stumbled across this temperature discussion and, for what it’s worth, I’m not convinced that 180 F is a typo. I think he’s just putting what he considers an almost fully cooked breast in a warm oven to rest—a technique he seems to use fairly often. With the flank steak I made last week, the steak is cooked over high heat for 1 ½ minutes per side then put into a 160F oven to “relax and continue cooking in it’s own heat for at least 10 minutes.” (And, no, Caitlin. My oven couldn’t hold 160; I doubt it would hold 180 either.)

                                                    Chicken breasts these days vary so much in size. I would think that a normal-sized, organic, free-range breast would be nearly cooked after three minutes a side over medium-high heat.

                                                    Anyway, just my two cents. Unfortunately, I have a freezer full of thighs to use up so I’m not going out to buy breasts to test my theory. Especially since my oven doesn’t hold the temp anyway.

                                              3. re: Gio

                                                Gio, would you (or someone else with the book) tell me the relative proportions JP uses for the juniper berries, coriander seeds, and mustard seeds? Might as well try it his way, since it worked so well for you!

                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                  Here's the recipe (serves 4)

                                                  1/2 t juniper berries
                                                  1/2 t coriander seeds
                                                  1/2 t mustard seeds
                                                  1/2 t salt
                                                  4 boneless, skinless breasts (6 oz each)
                                                  1 1/2 T olive oil

                                                  1. re: BigSal

                                                    Thanks! I was thinking of winging it with equal amounts, and I guess my instincts would have been correct.

                                                2. re: Gio

                                                  Spicy Chicken Breasts

                                                  I made these today, using the full amount of seasoning mixture on two breasts each about half a pound (really, these were the smallest two organic breasts the market had; even those are supersized these days). I cooked them around three and a half minutes per side, then put them into a 200-degree oven. At that temperature, they took around 16 minutes to become just cooked through, but they were pretty thick. I did find upon turning them that some of the spice rub had been left behind, stuck to the pan. Perhaps I was too chintzy with the olive oil (I didn't add a lot). So after I removed them, I deglazed the pan with a splash of white wine and tossed in some baby spinach leaves to wilt.

                                                  The chicken was, indeed, juicy and tender. I wouldn't call it spicy, but the spice combination is very good, and certainly nothing that would have occurred to me. Most of the chicken is parked in the fridge now for eating later in the week.

                                                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                    Spicy Chicken Breasts p. 256.
                                                    In answer to all who made this recipe.
                                                    I used 2 decent sized organic skinless boneless chicken breasts. I followed precisely all of the spice mixture instructions but used all of it for 2 chicken breasts instead of the 4 breasts that it called for. It was not too spicy, just barely spicy IMO. Quite subtle, but flavorable.

                                                    Since I don't use nonstick, I did add some oil to the skillet, which was medium hot enough to not stick (my experience re sticking). But it did stick, not bad though. Perhaps just enough to lesson the spices, I don't know. But I did let this chicken marinate in the spices longer than "up to 12 hours."

                                                    I decided to go with the 350F degrees vs. 180F degrees. (180C=356F, right?) The recipe in the book states "Preheat the oven to 180 degrees." I think JoanN's post about 180 could very well be correct - reason: take a look at these chicken breasts!

                                                    They were certainly edible and tasty, but not succulent by any means, leaning towards dry. Definitely way tooo crispy on the outside. Perhaps the crispy-ness was caused by the amount of spices, but I really don't think so.

                                                    Served with green beans -- yes, it is the last of them this month. I think 4x for EP's recipe.
                                                    Served with a lettuce sald w/meyer lemon and salt.
                                                    Served with green rice, thawed and heated in the oven along with chicken.

                                                3. Chicken Supremes Kiev-Style, p. 256.

                                                  Made this last night for guests. Everyone enjoyed the crispy bread crumb exterior, which surrounded a lightly pounded chicken breast folded around a stuffing of chopped onions, white mushrooms, chopped garlic and fresh cilantro. The recipe suggests using 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts of about 7 oz. apiece. I could only find slightly larger ones so I used three larger supremes (about 8 oz. apiece,) and sliced them crosswise to serve. I ended up with six servings that were very adequate for six, along with two sides. This presentation was attractive enough that I will do this again.

                                                  The complete recipe appears almost word for word under this same title on Food.com (without noticeable attribution to M. Pepin) except for two changes--presumably made to reduce the fat/calories. Instead of using 1 large beaten egg to coat the rolled-up chicken, the Food.com recipe substitutes 1/4 skim milk; and 1 1/2 TBS EVOO is substituted for the 2 TBS of butter in the stuffing that Pepin uses. I made the recipe as Pepin wrote it and felt that using the egg was worth it for the crispness of the crumbs. And the butter was a lovely compliment to the chopped onions and mushrooms. Ah; it's a slippery slope! ;-)

                                                  We really enjoyed this dish. It has a company feel, without being fussy or complicated. You can set it up ahead and hold it in the refrigerator before baking. The mushroom-onion-garlic farci is suave and tasty, and the Vidalia onion I used gave a slight touch of sweetness. I recommend seasoning well with s & p if you think necessary. Do watch the breaded chicken in the oven and drape foil loosely over it if the bread crumbs start to brown too soon. (Mine did after 15 minutes of the 25 mins. of baking at 400 F). Also, I used toothpicks to keep the well-stuffed chicken breasts together while baking--worked fine. Finally, the dish does not produce much in the way of sauce--so a side with a bit of "liquidity" is nice. I served the pureed broccoli on p. 417 and liked this with it.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: Goblin

                                                    Thanks for all the detail - I plan on trying this next.

                                                  2. Chicken Ballottine, beginning on page 253, with
                                                    Spinach, Cheese, and Bread Stuffing, beginning on page 254.

                                                    Of all the times to get a teeny tiny chicken in our meat basket, this was not a good one. Our little chicklet weighed 2.4 pounds (as opposed to the 3 3/4 pounder suggested in the recipe. I think this made the boning a bit more challenging, and distorted the cooking results a bit. That being said, we enjoyed this dish quite a bit, and plan to do it again to improve technique.

                                                    We watched the method on the DVD, and I read the instructions to Mr. NS while he undertook the deboning. (This was a joint project, so to speak.) We've noted before that the free range chickens we get have extremely sturdy bones, which added a bit of difficulty to parts of the process, but he did a beautiful job.

                                                    I opted to use the spinach, bread, and cheese stuffing, and chose a lovely cave-aged gruyere. The spinach was sauteed briefly with garlic, then it is all piled into the floppy chicken. I also stuffed the mixture down into the boneless legs. I rolled it up and trussed it as directed. The chicken cooks at 400 for an hour. I kept checking ours early because it was small, but it just wouldn't brown. It did turn color a bit at the end, but we found it very slightly overcooked. I don't know what the problem with the browning was, but the overcooked surely had to do with the size of the chicken.

                                                    The sauce is made from the chicken drippings, red wine, and water. Chopped onion, celery, and carrot are added to the sauce, and it is thickened with potato starch. The recipe does not say to strain out the chopped vegetables, so we tried it both ways. Definitely preferred the sauce with the chopped bits strained out.

                                                    The only real problems we had probably had to do with our small, strong-boned chicken. Near where the ankle bones are broken and later removed, there were a few shards of bone left in the meat. These bones were difficult to break without severing the skin. Also, we need to play with time and temperature when the weight of the bird is so far from the weight specified. We want it to brown on the outside, not overcook on the inside.

                                                    But we enjoyed the taste, and the final product looks great on the plate. The stuffing was like a cheesy bread pudding, just delicious! And the sauce is rich and flavorful. We are going to try this again sometime in the next week or so! Practice makes perfect.

                                                    I served this with Jacques' red onion, tomato, and navel orange salad, a bright contrast to the main course.

                                                    27 Replies
                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                      Great job to the two of you! The method on the DVD is so impressive. I referred to this when I asked my husband to debone a chicken for Italian Easy. JP is the master. Based on your results, I may ask the Mr. to debone another chicken.

                                                      1. re: BigSal

                                                        It's nice to have a deboning Mr, isn't it? I'm not sure I could have done it, but it was fun for us to work on the dinner together!

                                                      2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                        Brava! It certainly looks incredible, and the combo of the stuffing ingredients and the sauce sounds like a winner.

                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                          Thanks Caitlin! I consider it a winner. The sauce was rich and delicious. And the stuffing? I could easily enjoy an entire plate of it!

                                                        2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                          Elle est belle; c'est formidable!

                                                          Just a thought about the browning. Even though an organic/free range whole 3-1/2# chicken I made a few days ago seemed to have a lot of fat on the skin, it must've not have had. All the juice was poured into a pyrex measuring 2-cupper, put into the refrigerator to collect and spoon off the top fat; there must've not been more than 1-1/2 to 2 Tablespoons of fat. So maybe there wasn't enough fat to brown your chicken as a 'normal' chicken.

                                                          Now, isn't that gravy luscious looking? Mon Dieu!

                                                          1. re: Rella

                                                            Good point Rella. We had almost zero fat in the small amount of juice the chicken produced. Perhaps I need to put a little oil or butter on the skin before roasting, what do you think?

                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                              You're such a great cook that I would be too bold to make that suggestion. However, EYE would try it for myself :-))

                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                You flatterer you! I think I will take your suggestion, as we are going to try this again. Thanks!

                                                          2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                            Very, very impressive. And looks delicious. You've encouraged me to at least look at the video, although I seriously doubt I'll be doing something like this in the near future.

                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                              Lovely! I'll have to get Mr. roxlet to debone one. He's the meat man in our house.

                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                Magnifico. E 'la stella del mese. Bravi tutti e due.

                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                  Grazie mille, Gio, e' molto gentile da parte tua!

                                                                2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                  What everyone else said! Wow, LN--what a feat.
                                                                  And how lucky y'all are to have men in your kitchens who will debone.

                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                    Thanks JoanN, roxlet, and ncw! I appreciate all of your kind words.
                                                                    I doubt if I could have done this without Mr. NS, but once the bones were out I had fun with the rest of the process!

                                                                  2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                    LN that is art on a plate!! Simply spectacular. . . I tip my spatula to you!!

                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                      Thank you Breadcrumbs, so kind of you to say! And, nice to see you again around these parts!

                                                                    2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                      From Pepin's "The Art of Cooking", we've made the Chicken Ballottine many times. There are 3 stuffings, red bell pepper, mushrooms and spinach. Mushrooms are a favorite with my family, but I also like the spinach (which does not have bread crumbs). I would try the red pepper again, but it's just harder to deal with. I think the recipe I have has a step for steaming the chicken, which we skip. We have had the problem with not browning though I'm not sure we had that problem recently. However, we have browned the chicken on top of the stove.

                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                          I'm just dropping in to share our repeat of the Chicken Ballotine, with a new little twist. We made two chickens for our supper club's French dinner. Mr. NS is getting faster at the deboning, and I'm getting faster at the stuffing and trussing, so this pair went quite smoothly. This time, after deboning the chicken, I lined it with gently cooked bacon, then proceeded with the spinach, bread, and gruyere. We thought this added a nice flavor to the dish. It's pictured below (before saucing), plated alongside a petatou that one of our guests made.

                                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                            That's quite a neat wrap. Jacques would be proud of you!

                                                                              1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                Thanks Rella and ncw! Ballotine is becoming a regular, fun project around here!

                                                                              2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                What artistry! Impressive effort and results. Have you looked at the chicken "sausage recipe?" After mastering the Ballotine, I bet it would be a cinch.

                                                                                1. re: BigSal

                                                                                  Fantastic variation, you two make a great team, that is a very professional-looking job!

                                                                                  1. re: BigSal

                                                                                    BigSal - I think you are talking about the recipe where chicken legs are deboned and stuffed with mushrooms? Thanks for alerting me to that one. This book is so big, I need guidance. It looks great, I'm working on getting Mr. NS on board for the deboning!

                                                                                2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                  My wonderful co-worker made the Chicken Ballotine for his wife and me last night. It was absolute heaven, so moist and tender and delicious! I had told him about this thread and he brushed the chicken with olive oil before putting it in the oven, with the result that it browned beautifully. He also added sliced cremini to the spinach stuffing, which was just fantastic. One note for anyone contemplating this project, he said that his chicken's skin was torn when he unwrapped it and the tear got larger during deboning but he just went ahead and tied it as directed, although worried the skin might shrink around the tear and be unsightly. However, when it came out we could not even find the torn skin, it looked ready for a photo-shoot (no camera available, however).

                                                                                3. Sweet and Spicy Curried Chicken – p. 265

                                                                                  We have a hit on our hands with this one ladies and gentlemen!! We love curries and this one has particular appeal since it’s very quick to pull together yet, it still manages to deliver big, bold flavours. We especially enjoyed the apples and bananas that actually cook in the curry vs just being added as a garnish, which is typically the case. This dish was reminiscent of curries we’ve eaten in the Caribbean and very lovely indeed.

                                                                                  I found this recipe on the NY Times website so I won’t get into the nitty gritty but I will say that I did adapt by using boneless skinless thighs. I used a high quality curry powder I picked up at the Spice House on a recent trip to Chicago. It is a Maharajah Style Curry and really delivers a sweet well-balanced curry flavour. I should also note that I made this dish on the weekend and took it right up to the point that you incorporate the fruit then tonight I picked it up again by adding the fruit and doing the final simmer. We served this atop steamed basmati rice. This is definitely a keeper and, a perfect weeknight meal.

                                                                                  Here's the recipe: http://events.nytimes.com/recipes/853...

                                                                                  1. Chicken Chasseur, p. 264.

                                                                                    it does't appear on the Essentail Pepin blog, but here's the recipe on another website I found:

                                                                                    Anyhow, this is a very tasty braised chicken dish that really filled the bill on a blustery cold night. My family scarfed it up and asked for more, even the children. You probably already know the basic ingredients: cut up browned chicken pieces (Pepin specifies skinned thighs; my family preferences were for breast meat); mixed with chopped onion and garlic, tomatoes (canned OK) , mushrooms, and various herbs. All braised in white wine--in this case, I used dry vermouth. Nothing really unusual except Pepin also specified one small leek, chopped, and a TBS of soy sauce. Herbs included chopped fresh rosemary, thyme, and at the end to sprinkle on top, either chopped fresh chervil or tarragon. I used the latter and I really liked the quiet hint of licorice that fresh tarragon gives.

                                                                                    It was just so delicious, and the savory sauce demanded to be sopped up with good bread. Certainly not difficult and not particularly time-consuming to make, though my chicken took about 15 minutes longer for some reason to become tender than the 20 minutes mentioned in the recipe. Pretty much a classic French recipe. What I appreciated was the attention to detail in these recipes--Pepin is a great teacher--plus a few subtle surprises like the addition of soy sauce.

                                                                                    Oh yes: I added my own "subtle surprises": had four strips of bacon to use up, so I chopped them and sautéed them with the olive oil at the beginning of the recipe. Then removed them and added the pieces at the end as a garnish. (Figured "Chasseur" meant "hunter" and that included bacon--right?) And whenever I use canned tomatoes, I always taste at the end for excess acidity and add a tablespoon of honey or so if it seems to be needed.

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Goblin

                                                                                      Wanted to add to my report up above on Chicken Chasseur that the flavors in the (few) leftovers were absolutely delicious for lunch the net day. I can easily see this resting overnight in the fridge as a make-ahead dish.

                                                                                      1. re: Goblin

                                                                                        Chicken Chasseur, Pg. 264

                                                                                        This was last night's dinner and when I read the recipe the first time I thought, "Hmmm... chicken cacciatore. The French Way." So when we were cooking the boneless/skinless chicken thighs went into the sauce whole instead of chopped up. Thank you, Pavlov.

                                                                                        Goblin describes the recipe very well and I followed the directions as written using chervil instead of tarragon only because I hardly ever do. Wish I hadn't because I don't think it added anything to the finished dish. I used dry vermouth as well. The soy sauce was an interesting inclusion. G gobbled it up then went for seconds. I was wishing it was cacciatore. There's the lovely sauce left over so I'll use it for something tonight. The side dish was roasted cauliflower. Yummm.

                                                                                        1. re: Goblin

                                                                                          Chicken Chasseur - p. 264

                                                                                          My turn to report on this dish. With some boneless, skinless chicken thighs defrosting in the fridge and some fresh pasta to use up, an EYB search of Pepin's recipes didn't really produce a pasta dish that inspired me. I remembered Goblin's post here and thought I'd adapt this dish and use it as a pasta sauce vs a stew-like meal.

                                                                                          To make this dish pasta friendly, I chopped my chicken thighs and, substituted chopped canned tomatoes for whole ones. Other ingredients worth noting...I used Vidalia onions which imparted a lovely sweetness to the sauce that balance the acidity of the tomatoes and wine. My mushrooms were cremini so the sauce also had an earthy flavour. I opted to garnish with fresh tarragon since we love all things anise flavoured!

                                                                                          As others have noted, this is quite a "saucy" dish so it really did lend itself well to pasta. Everyone really enjoyed the dish and there were no leftovers at all.

                                                                                          Happy to recommend this quick and tasty recipe.

                                                                                        2. Grilled Quail on Quinoa with [Pumpkin] Seeds, p. 300

                                                                                          I had a package of four semi-boneless quail in the freezer waiting for a purpose so when I saw this as I flipped through EP today, I said "aha," especially as the recipe looked pretty simple, and I had everything I needed, even (miraculously) currants.

                                                                                          I used my mini FP to make a marinade, whizzing together a shallot, a garlic clove, 1 T fish sauce, 1/2 tsp sugar, 1/4 (I used half) of a jalapeno pepper, and 1 T water. I then poured the mixture over the quail, turning to coat, and let the birds marinate in the fridge for a couple hours.

                                                                                          For the quinoa: I sauteed 1/2 c. chopped onion and 2 T. pumpkin seeds for a few minutes until the onion began to soften. I added 2 T. dried currants, 1 c (rinsed) quinoa, 1 3/4 c chicken stock, salt, and pepper, brought everything to a boil, lowered the heat, covered it, and simmered for 18 minutes, which wasn't enough time for the quinoa to absorb the liquid and become fluffy. (I let it cook another 5 minutes, but next time I think I'd reduce the stock amount to 1 1/2 c.)

                                                                                          Meanwhile, we lit the grill and let it get very hot. A few minutes before the quinoa was done, we put the quail and grilled them for about three minutes and then flipped them and grilled another two minutes. These were served over the quinoa, and we had another side, a stir-fry of asparagus and oyster mushrooms

                                                                                          The quail were delicious, reminiscent of quail we like at a nearby Vietnamese restaurant. The quinoa was also quite tasty. But I'm not sure the two components went together all that well. I'd do the quail again this way in a heartbeat but probably serve it with something else.

                                                                                          1. Chicken with Wine & Yams pg. 267

                                                                                            Easy, tasty and just right for a Monday night in winter.

                                                                                            Brown skinless bone in thighs and drumsticks in oil (I was making half a recipe, and so had two of each), add chopped onion to the skillet for a quick 1 minute, then add shallots, garlic (in truth I added these two with the onions), mushrooms, split yams, wine s&p, bring to a boil, reduce heat and boil gently for twenty minutes, sprinkle with parsley, serve.

                                                                                            My yams were a bit larger than called for and took about 30 minutes to cook through, or maybe I just had the heat too low, anyway, the chicken didn't seem to suffer from the additional cooking, we loved the meal. Two minor points, we both would have liked a few more mushrooms, and next time I would up the mushrooms by at least half, and even with only a half recipe my second largest skillet with a cover (10.5") was full, for a full recipe one would need a whopper of a pan.

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                                                              Thanks for the review; I love yams and overlooked this recipe initially. I just bought the ingredients to make this tomorrow - and I love mushrooms too, so bought a few extra.

                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                Ok. Made this tonight. I loved it. Very 'homey' but very repeatable. Flavors were terrific. I used dry white vermouth ( My stand-by for 'dry white wine' and I loved it.)

                                                                                                1. re: Blythe spirit

                                                                                                  "Homey", exactly the right word. Glad it worked for you too.

                                                                                              2. From page 250--I am going to make this dish ("Peking Chicken") but also found an older article/recipe he wrote in the NY Times from 1994 for the same dish however: he advises blanching the chicken and cooling it overnight in the refrigerator before roasting. In the book, there is no delay. I am going to follow the book's recipe and hope for the best.

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: penthouse pup

                                                                                                  I'll be awaiting your report as I've been eyeing that recipe. Good luck!

                                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                    Peking Chicken p.250

                                                                                                    Not as easy as it reads: dunking the chicken into a pot of boiling water requires the right size pot (that's an easy one since a pasta pot will do) but also some kind of platform to ease the lowering of the chicken (I have an insert that fits the pot so that worked well.) Still, there's likely to be an overflow of water and the time it takes for the water to reboil is much longer than 3 minutes. As a result, the chicken sort of parboils--which simply means it's fast-tracked for the roaster.

                                                                                                    Thus, the recipe's timing was off for my oven, which tends to be hot...I roasted it for 30 minutes at 375 F and then 30 minutes at 350 F (brushing the sauce at the 30 minute intervals) and it was done in one hour. The skin was a lovely color, but because it was finished quicker than anticipated, I did not place the mushrooms and water beneath the rack for the last 15 minutes (not sure this is worth doing anyway.)

                                                                                                    The chicken retained its heat while I scurried to finish side dishes early. The result was a very moist chicken that had nothing to do with Peking Duck: the varnish colored skin quickly softened and added nothing to steamed buns I prepared...But it was tasty chicken.

                                                                                                    Worth the preamble of boiling water? Not really. Most every chicken I roast these days is excellent so I don't think I will do this again. Even when one has to move a chicken to the side and baste (JP method) or just insert a lemon and tie the cavity (Marcella Hazan), a good quality chicken will do just fine...

                                                                                                    1. re: penthouse pup

                                                                                                      Thanks for your report; I'll skip this one and look for another recipe.

                                                                                                2. Braised Rabbit with Morels and Pearl Onions - p. 307

                                                                                                  Finally, just under the wire, I have cooked something from this book. I was having a hard time getting inspired, but decided I couldn't let the month go by without doing something. I started by getting out the DVD and looking through some of the technique videos. This had the intended effect of making me want to cook something. I happen to have a few rabbits in my freezer, so I decided I'd try a rabbit recipe.

                                                                                                  I'll start out by saying that I don't think I would have ever made this recipe if this book weren't COTM. I had looked through the rabbit recipes when I first go the book from the library, and they just didn't call out to me. But having determined that I WAS going to cook rabbit from this book, this one seemed the most appealing.

                                                                                                  Pepin has you cut the rabbit into 9 pieces - 8 pieces for the stew, plus the saddle, which is roasted separately. The pieces are all seasoned with a mix of salt, black pepper, and herbes de Provence. You start off by browning the saddle in some oil and butter. Then after the saddle is removed, you brown the pearl onions in the same pot. Those are removed, and now the stew pieces of the rabbit are browned. You then add some shallots, and sprinkle with flour. Mix this together, then add garlic, white wine, and the liquid that your dried morels soaked in. Plus a little more salt. This braises for 45 minutes.

                                                                                                  While the rabbit is stewing, you coat the saddle with mustard, make a mixture of breadcrumbs, horseradish and olive oil, and pile that on top of the saddle. The saddle roasts at 425 for 20 minutes (I used my convection toaster oven for this). To finish, you add the reconstituted morels and the pearl onions to the stew. Cut the saddle into four pieces and serve the stew with a piece of the saddle on top.

                                                                                                  I'm glad I forced myself to make this, because it really was quite good. Using the mushroom liquid in the stew meant that the stew really picked up a lot of mushroom flavor. So while I thought the dish sounded bland, it wasn't at all. Both the stew and the roasted saddle where nicely seasoned and perfectly cooked. I won't say this was the best rabbit preparation I've had, but it certainly made a very satisfying dinner.

                                                                                                  1. Spicy Ginger and Lemon Chicken page 267. Doubled the recipe so it would serve 2 but otherwise followed it to a 't' - including having the butcher cut the tip of the drumstick off ( not a common request).
                                                                                                    This was a lovely, inexpensive dinner. A nice change from the usual. Had it with a simple rice pilaf and salad. Loved the flavors but might add a few drops of soy sauce next time.

                                                                                                    1. Chicken with Cognac Sauce, p. 249

                                                                                                      Every time I've flipped past this recipe, I've been reminded of the first time I went to a "fancy" French restaurant and someone ordered a chicken dish that came accompanied by a tiny tureen of caramel-colored sauce--and it was a revelation as prior to that chicken, to me, was nothing special: my mom baked it; my dad grilled it outside; occasionally we had it fried. Well this wasn't exactly it, but it was tasty and my husband loved it, which was really the point anyway as I wanted to do something a little special for him last night.

                                                                                                      The recipe is a little fussy, and I made a few tweaks. First, instead of roasting a whole chicken, I roasted four thighs (salted, peppered, and lightly buttered), as we prefer dark meat, and they were beautifully golden and crisp after about 35 minutes in a 425 oven (started skin side down and turned once at the half-way mark). They then were transferred to a platter that went into a barely warm oven until I finished the rest of the meal. For the sauce, 2 c chicken stock, 3/4 c dry white wine, 1/2 c chopped onion, and 1/2 tsp. black peppercorns go into a saucepan, are boiled and reduced by half. A beurre manie (1 T ea. flour and butter, worked together) is added to the reduced stock mixture and whisked about three minutes, and then a half cup of cream is whisked into that and cooked another minute or so. At this point, I really didn't like the whiteness of the sauce.

                                                                                                      Meanwhile I had added a cup of water to the chicken roasting pan and deglazed it, loosening up all the stuck bits. I then strained that liquid into a small saucepan and set about reducing it to a syrupy glaze. JP says to let that reduce to about 1 T, then keep it warm in a double boiler (and then "sprinkle" the glaze over the plated and sauced chicken just before serving). That seemed like a lot of trouble so when it was reduced to about 2 T and looking nice and syrupy, I decided instead to add it to the aforementioned cream sauce. It did add some color, not a lot, but a good bit of flavor, so the sauce required just a sprinkle of salt and a few grinds of pepper (JP calls for white; I used black). At this point I strained the sauce, as directed, and stirred in 2 T cognac. I served this w/ egg noodles, salad, and brussels sprouts.

                                                                                                      Would I make this again? Probably not. The chicken was delicious, but not, for me, worth the fuss (and multiple pans if you follow instructions to a tee). But I really didn't care for what I thought was a too pronounced cognac flavor in the sauce and wish I had cooked it off a bit in the sauce before finishing it.

                                                                                                      QUESTION: I have a duck in the freezer and am considering making JP's Duck in Vinegar Sauce (p. 293), but I don't have A1 sauce (yikes) and am not going to buy it, so if anyone with the book doesn't mind taking a look at the recipe, I'd really appreciate any suggestion for a substitute.

                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                        So interesting. I was reading your account and thinking to myself, "what? no direction to flame the cognac?" and then got to the part where you said it had too pronounced a cognac flavor. I agree with you, that's why. It actually sounds very tasty to me. :)

                                                                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                          Well, it certainly Looks lovely, Nomad.. Also, I think your "tweaks" were well devised. As for the A-1, I don't keep it in my pantry either so if I were cooking this recipe I'd use Worcestershire... Not the same but almost.

                                                                                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                            A1 ingredients (from the Kraft website): TOMATO PUREE (WATER, TOMATO PASTE), DISTILLED VINEGAR, CORN SYRUP, SALT, RAISIN PASTE, CRUSHED ORANGE PUREE, SPICES AND HERBS, DRIED GARLIC AND ONION, CARAMEL COLOR, POTASSIUM SORBATE (TO PRESERVE FRESHNESS), XANTHAN GUM.

                                                                                                            So perhaps a tad each of tomato paste, vinegar, brown sugar, and Gio's suggestion of Worcestershire sauce would hit the right notes?

                                                                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                                              TY all; I will take your suggestions. The A1 in the recipe seems odd, esp. since it already
                                                                                                              calls for both vinegar and ketchup.

                                                                                                              Raisin past in the A1; who knew?

                                                                                                          2. Chicken in Vinegar p. 261

                                                                                                            Really good flavor !! for very little effort. Just a few ingredients, likely you have them at home right now. Brown S&P'd chicken pieces in butter, then cover and cook 'til done.
                                                                                                            Take chicken from pan and keep warm while you cook crushed garlic, diluted red wine vinegar, and chopped tomatoes to make a quick sauce. Pepin says the sauce should be peppery, so add more S&P, and pour over the chicken. I'd happily spend twice the time for the same results!