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Thanksgiv(ukkah) in Paris (part 1)

chefMolnar Nov 2, 2013 08:19 AM

I'm in Paris for a few months--I'll be here till the end of November. (I have been lurking on this board, so thanks to all the Parisian regulars for the great tips!).
So Thanksgiving is coming and for the first time in 77,000 years it will fall on Hanukkah. So I can't ignore it this year. We are inviting a few (French and American) friends to our place. Before I start a thread on the peculiarities of this occasion, I had a couple of general turkey questions.
First of all, unlike some people, I actually like turkey. I especially like turkey that tastes like something--I've been getting some decent free-range birds in the States lately. So the prospect of trying French turkeys could be good. So here is my question: Thanksgiving (the store) advertises "American-style" turkeys (more white meat). Would a regular French Dinde Fermier be a better bet? If so, any advice on how to prepare it vs. a decent American bird? Any affordable butchers you would recommend? I live in the 11th.

  1. l
    lagatta Dec 9, 2013 07:31 AM

    What specifically Hanukkah dishes did you make? Latkes? Soufganiot?

    It is Hanoucca or Hanouka, in French. The large Sephardic community eats Bunuelos. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bu%C3%B1...

    1 Reply
    1. re: lagatta
      chefMolnar Jan 6, 2014 01:17 PM

      Hi. I just came back to this thread. In case you're wondering, you can check out Part 2:
      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/925255
      I did get soufganiot and topped them with pumpkin butter. I also made potato and Brussels sprouts latkes.

    2. Busk Nov 5, 2013 01:08 PM

      I ordered a turkey once from the butcher in Ferney Voltaire when I lived in Geneva. It was for Canadian Thanksgiving in October. He said the farmers get them ready for the US Thanksgiving through New Years period, and he'd have to check his sources. I came back a week later, and all he could find that was ready was a 10 KG white turkey. Just massive, but we had 20 people, so it worked out. He gave me a good price (7euro/KG) and a roasting pan, so I took it. It was highly tasty. I cooked it real slow at about 150-160 with tin foil over it until the last hour or so. I shoved garlic and unpasturized butter under the skin.

      I might have a photo of it somewhere. I'll post it. Keep in mind that Geneva is not far from some serious poultry country (Bresse), but where in France isn't?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Busk
        p
        Ptipois Nov 5, 2013 02:52 PM

        Actually, dinde de Bresse enjoys quite a reputation.

      2. u
        UPDoc Nov 5, 2013 07:06 AM

        I strongly recommend Mark Bittman's method of braising a deconstructed turkey.
        http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/12/dining/12mini.html
        Since the leg/thighs and breasts cook at different rates, Mr Bittman advises, "But if the white meat is handled like a chicken breast and just barely cooked through, it remains moist and tender. And if the dark meat is cooked for a long time, with moisture, it becomes so tender it gains the consistency of pulled pork.

        The way to achieve both of these states simultaneously is to braise, and the best starting place is not with a whole turkey but with turkey parts — specifically, thighs and breasts."
        http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/12/din...

        This also solves the conundrum of cooking a large bird in a small oven.

        9 Replies
        1. re: UPDoc
          PhilD Nov 5, 2013 02:37 PM

          A good tip and a very classic technique that works with all poultry including chicken. Equally, stuffing, barding, and slow cooking a bird is a good way to retain moisture - a good chestnut stuffing in one end and sage and onion in the other.

          1. re: UPDoc
            chefMolnar Nov 6, 2013 01:07 AM

            I just had good results with a chicken done on the thighs first (thigh, thigh, back, breast), as recommended by Souphie on this board and others. I'm going to try it again for my turkey.

            1. re: UPDoc
              ChefJune Nov 6, 2013 09:40 AM

              imho Bittman makes a big deal out of what shouldn't be. Been roasting turkeys for close to 50 years, never had a dry one, and always brought them to the table whole and glorious!

              1. re: ChefJune
                sunshine842 Nov 6, 2013 04:57 PM

                I'd consider following his recipe any other day of the year, but just once a year, I need a WHOLE bird sitting on the table.

                1. re: sunshine842
                  Parigi Nov 7, 2013 01:31 AM

                  Totally agree. None of this deconstruct alternative crap. And no tofu turkey for me.

                  1. re: Parigi
                    p
                    Ptipois Nov 7, 2013 12:48 PM

                    Fowl bits and parts baked at different times are not "roasted chicken" as I know it. They're oven-roasted chicken parts.

                    Roasted whole, a fowl is a different dish from roasted parts, for reasons related to physics and the repartition of heat. It has a taste of its own, a smell of its own, a juiciness of its own, a mouthfeel of its own, and you serve it and deal with the leftovers in a completely different way.

                    1. re: Ptipois
                      mangeur Dec 3, 2013 06:19 AM

                      Pot notes on Thanksgiving past: Because I needed to prepare TD dinner with the help of a 2 year old, then haul portions to her mom (and dad) in hospital, I took an extraordinarily easy route. I spatchcocked it. it roasted in 80 minutes, all parts tender and juicy. No, no big bird to present at table, but this year there really wasn't a formal table. Just turkey and all the fixins and a sigh of relief that all were well. Really worked in a pinch.

                      1. re: mangeur
                        sunshine842 Dec 3, 2013 05:16 PM

                        for a situation like that, you gotta do what you gotta do.

                        Since you were going to have to cut it up to transport it anyway, the "whole bird" argument sort of dissipates!

                        1. re: mangeur
                          p
                          Ptipois Dec 4, 2013 07:20 AM

                          Spatchcocking is different than cutting up. It is a way of keeping the bird whole and insuring a closed-circuit cooking, keeping the juices and flavors inside. And if you play your cards right (I'm sure you do), you get very tasty, juicy results.

              2. John Talbott Nov 3, 2013 05:58 AM

                I've lost track of where we are/were but (despite your caution) goose is not a bad choice, nor capon nor pintade from a good guy (and at least all my buchers are guys, so no accusations of sexism please.)
                But since I often confess to sins here I wouldn't to even P. Francis, the best Thankgiving meal I've had in France (well, Geneva) was marcassin, cooked with a poivrade-type sauce of about 12 bottles of red wine reduced down to an intense thick heavenly end-point that left us all swooning.

                12 Replies
                1. re: John Talbott
                  chefMolnar Nov 3, 2013 08:12 AM

                  Sounds pretty intense, but I don't think marcassin will quite work for Hanukkah ;^).

                  OK, here's where we are at this point: First choice, dinde fermière if I can find one I can afford. Second choice, a couple of pintades. I'm thinking along the lines of something with apples, chestnuts, and a cidre normande gravy.
                  I will check out Parigi's boucherie recommendations.
                  Any other insights welcome.

                  1. re: chefMolnar
                    p
                    Ptipois Nov 3, 2013 08:29 AM

                    >>> Second choice, a couple of pintades. I'm thinking along the lines of something with apples, chestnuts, and a cidre normande gravy.

                    Yeah!!!
                    You don't have to do like me but this is what I do (Norman-style):

                    Roast pintades
                    When halfway done, add peeled, cored and quartered apples (and chestnuts if you wish) and a couple of halved shallots. No garlic.
                    Finish roasting, basting often.
                    When done, just hot from the oven, pour calvados over everything and flambé.
                    Then add some crème fraîche.
                    It is possible to baste with cider while roasting but do flambé with calvados. Works with pintade, chicken and pheasant.

                    1. re: Ptipois
                      chefMolnar Nov 3, 2013 08:52 AM

                      Wow, sounds great. Do you put anything in the birds?

                      1. re: chefMolnar
                        b
                        bcc Nov 3, 2013 10:20 AM

                        I have to disagree with Ptipois about the stuffing. Call it "dressing" if you like, but do cook it outside the bird. If it's cooked inside, you have to keep the whole thing in the oven an hour longer, which more or less guarantees an over-cooked bird, Outside, and not in a bag, it gets crisp, and can be moistened with drippings, which will give it a taste of whatever bird you choose to roast.

                        1. re: bcc
                          sunshine842 Nov 3, 2013 12:21 PM

                          I made dressing in the crockpot in Paris because I didn't have room in my oven...it came out so good, I'll do it that way forever!

                          Nice and crispy crust all around the outside -- and I make it with homemade stock -- but I'll miss the fat Normandy oysters this year.

                          1. re: bcc
                            p
                            Ptipois Nov 3, 2013 12:57 PM

                            It is not a problem of cooking but of terminology. That's just what I meant. Not that it's good or bad. If it is cooked outside, it is no longer stuffing.

                            1. re: Ptipois
                              John Talbott Nov 3, 2013 01:10 PM

                              "stuffing"
                              Good point.
                              Aren't most of our family's "stuffings" or most encornets' or veal/etc's. "stuffings" prepared aside?
                              Just asking.

                              1. re: Ptipois
                                sunshine842 Nov 3, 2013 01:10 PM

                                heehee -- I'm with you -- if it's in the bird, it's stuffing. If it's in a dish, it's dressing.

                              2. re: bcc
                                l
                                lagatta Dec 9, 2013 07:22 AM

                                In English, I've always heard "dressing", but that is in Canada. "Farce" in French, of course.

                                1. re: lagatta
                                  John Talbott Dec 9, 2013 07:28 AM

                                  My two daugthers almost came to (verbal) blows over the difference 2 weeks ago.

                              3. re: chefMolnar
                                p
                                Ptipois Nov 3, 2013 10:44 AM

                                Generally, I don't. I can put a few shallots, onions or apples inside to provide some volume inside so that the birds do not get too dry, but if your fowl is good quality you shouldn't need that.

                              4. re: Ptipois
                                sunshine842 Nov 3, 2013 10:02 AM

                                My best friend (a Georgia girl by birth) made pintade like this for her Thanksgivings for years -- she was actually a little peeved that I appeared on the scene and found a whole turkey within a few weeks. (she doesn't hold a grudge, though...)

                          2. Parigi Nov 3, 2013 05:16 AM

                            Another good way to source a transcendental farm turkey is to haunt the marchés de producteurs in Paris (one today in Vincennes, Parc Floral). Case out a good-looking poultry dude (I mean the poultry, although a good-looking dude always helps), and ask him if and when he is coming back to Paris. There is another marché de producteurs scheduled around Thanksgiving week. If all things work out, book a turkey for him to bring next time. (Get his farm's number, price, etc.)

                            1. Parigi Nov 3, 2013 04:31 AM

                              We are Thanksgiving non-banishers. We don't go out of our way to any butcher.
                              We simply go to our favorite 'hood butcher and ask him to order a turkey.
                              Our fave stuffing has been :
                              1. Cantones fried rice
                              2. oysters, celery and bread.
                              3. rosemary, garlic, anchovies.
                              Pti the banisher was one of the guests and saved our turkey from the new oven's caprices and helped us make one of the best turkeys. -- Even she liked it. C'est dire.

                              Our last turkey cost around 50 euro, from the incandescent Marcel of the St Quentin market, the same price as the aristocratic chicken (Barbezieux) that Julot once hand-delivered to us.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: Parigi
                                p
                                Ptipois Nov 3, 2013 04:48 AM

                                Naturally, I don't dislike a good farm turkey when it is roasted properly. And I will happily save any of my human brothers/sisters who are facing a culinary riddle of any kind. But I find turkey in general the least interesting of all poultry items. Especially the big fat industrial type, "monstrum horrendum, informe".

                                1. re: Ptipois
                                  Parigi Nov 3, 2013 04:49 AM

                                  I forgot to mention: that was indeed a dinde fermière. Of course. Need I specify.

                                  1. re: Parigi
                                    p
                                    Ptipois Nov 3, 2013 04:52 AM

                                    I remembered and I thought it useless to specify, for had it not been a dinde fermière I would have pelted you with chestnuts all evening.

                                    1. re: Ptipois
                                      Parigi Nov 3, 2013 05:38 AM

                                      Here's a non-banishable concept: Thanxgiving food fight !

                                      1. re: Parigi
                                        chefMolnar Nov 3, 2013 05:50 AM

                                        Yeah, that pretty much describes Thanksgiving for a lot of families.

                              2. m
                                mbcraw4d Nov 3, 2013 03:30 AM

                                I like turkey, too. Especially French turkey. So sue me. Just go to your favorite butcher and order a bird about a week ahead, and prepare for sticker shock. The expat-filled suburb I live in ensures that I'll just get an eye roll and something muttered about "American Christmas". The first year I ordered one, the butcher pleaded with me to cook it low and slow, because "this is a good French turkey". And he was right. No brining or anything: just season, rub with butter, stuff if you like, and cook at about 170 for a couple of hours--mine's usually done before I think it should be...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: mbcraw4d
                                  sunshine842 Nov 3, 2013 06:23 AM

                                  yes -- better flavor, more moist...I use olive oil instead of butter, but low and slow wins.

                                2. sunshine842 Nov 2, 2013 05:55 PM

                                  The problem is that the producers plan to have their turkeys at a good roasting size by Christmas, since Thanksgiving doesn't exist outside of the expat community in Paris, so MOST of the turkeys are the size of large chickens by the end of November.

                                  DON'T order an overpriced bird from Thanksgiving -- they're badly overpriced, and I've yet to talk to someone who speaks highly of them. (they're close to highway robbery on all the fixin's, too -- head to G. Detout for pecans -- larger supermarkets and marches around Gare du Nord/Est will have things like sweet potatoes.

                                  Head out and start talking to volaillers and boucheries -- ask them if they can order a whole bird for you. Expect them to look at you like you have suddenly sprouted a horn. Explain that you're American and it's for Thanksgiving -- then they'll at least not think you're loopy.

                                  Brace yourself -- you'll spend €10 or more per kilo -- yes, you'll part with US$100 or more for your bird -- and it will have to be small, as anything over about 10-12 pounds just won't fit into a French oven.

                                  ETA: advise if you have a car -- I know a farm out (way, way out) in the 77 where you can order a bird, but there's no way to get there via public transport.

                                  15 Replies
                                  1. re: sunshine842
                                    John Talbott Nov 3, 2013 01:04 AM

                                    "Brace yourself -- you'll spend €10 or more per kilo "
                                    The last turkey I bought here was over 70 E if memory serves me.

                                    1. re: John Talbott
                                      sunshine842 Nov 3, 2013 06:22 AM

                                      we spent at least that every year when we were out in the wilds of the Seine-et-Marne....I'm sure it's quite a lot higher in the city.

                                    2. re: sunshine842
                                      t
                                      tmso Nov 4, 2013 03:11 AM

                                      ETA: advise if you have a car -- I know a farm out (way, way out) in the 77 where you can order a bird, but there's no way to get there via public transport.

                                      They'd have birds that are big enough to roast, by late November? I have a car and an américanophile wife, and would appreciate the coordinates very much!

                                      1. re: tmso
                                        sunshine842 Nov 4, 2013 03:59 AM

                                        they're not very big -- 5 kilos or so, but they're here:

                                        http://www.fermedestuiles.com/

                                        You could combine it with a day trip to Nemours and/or Milly-la-Foret.

                                        1. re: sunshine842
                                          t
                                          tmso Nov 4, 2013 07:19 AM

                                          We head down to the Fontainebleau area from time to time anyway, so that's about the most convenient location for an out in the country poultry farm. Merci énormément!

                                          1. re: tmso
                                            sunshine842 Nov 4, 2013 05:28 PM

                                            Enjoy -- they have a small shop with locally-made products (including Gatinois saffron) and Madame's home-made terrines (which are knock-your-socks-off) -- dit bonjour from the other Americans!

                                            You'll need to reserve this week or next, as they butcher on Wednesdays, Works out okay, since you'll likely end up with the celebration on Thursday!

                                            I'll miss seeing them this year -- they're a wonderfully kind family (but I get to spend Thanksgiving with MY family this year!)

                                            1. re: tmso
                                              chefMolnar Nov 6, 2013 01:08 AM

                                              For the first time, I am sorry I don't drive in Europe. It sounds like a great deal.

                                              1. re: chefMolnar
                                                sunshine842 Nov 6, 2013 03:52 AM

                                                and it's a really beautiful corner of the Ile de France -- Milly-la-Foret is worth a visit all by itself.

                                                1. re: sunshine842
                                                  Parigi Nov 6, 2013 04:14 AM

                                                  Love the Halle there. Love the market under the Halle where we have shopped for dozens of picnics.
                                                  And the little jewel of a chapel decorated by Jean Cocteau !

                                                  1. re: Parigi
                                                    sunshine842 Nov 6, 2013 04:56 PM

                                                    picking up the turkey became a Girls' Calm Before The Swarm -- several of us would pile into the car, have a lovely lunch in Milly, then go collect the turkeys before we went home to start cleaning and cooking. Fun.

                                                2. re: chefMolnar
                                                  ChefJune Nov 6, 2013 09:31 AM

                                                  Where is Souphie when you need him? Perchance you could cajole him into making the trek with you...

                                                3. re: tmso
                                                  t
                                                  tmso Dec 3, 2013 02:18 AM

                                                  Hélas, I should have just taken what my local butcher could find. Although they said they would have a 4-5 kg bird, the reality was just over 3 kg, and very badly butchered. Skin torn in several places, many bits of feathers stuck in the skin. Even though it was only 15 minutes out of the way, I regret the trip.

                                                  Lesson learned: I should just trust my trusted butcher!

                                                  1. re: tmso
                                                    Parigi Dec 3, 2013 03:22 AM

                                                    Or pre-order with my Dordogne farmer-butcher. In fact he is at the Vanves market this weekend, and will be back at Enfants Roughes on the 14/15 December weekend.

                                                    Our turkey totally delivered, and we did not even leave Paris. It was a 3.5 kilo one, and it was the size we wanted.
                                                    The butcher told us he had just delivered a huge one last Thursday to some Americans in Paris. On Thursdays it also delivers to restos like - you better sit down - Le Châteaubriant, Spring, Bistro Paul Bert…

                                                    Here is its calendar for the year-end.
                                                    13 au 15 Décembre Pari Fermier Vanves
                                                    14 et 15 Décembre Enfants Rouges
                                                    21 et 22 Décembre Enfants Rouges

                                                    These are their prices:
                                                    Tarif marchés et salons Paris
                                                    OU et QUAND: voir à la rubrique « planning ».
                                                    GRATUIT: 1 volaille gratuite pour 10 achetées (1 volaille = 1 poulet, pintade, lapin, canette, 1/2 chapon, 1/ dinde, 1/2 pintadon, 2 pigeons, 5dz extras frais, 1k de découpe, 1k autruche).
                                                    LIVRAISON: le jeudi matin. Paris intras muros (+ 10ct/km au delà) 20€ de 5 à 15 volailles ou équivalent. 1€/volaille à partir de 16 volailles.
                                                    TARIFS
                                                    Découpe poulet Cuisse: 14,70/k, carcasse: 0,80/pièce, aileron: 5,60/k, blanc, foie et gésier: 17,60/k
                                                    Poulet 9,00/k (rôti 13,50/k)
                                                    Pintade 10,30/k (rôti 13,50/k)
                                                    Lapin 11,00/k
                                                    Canette ou canard 11,70/k
                                                    Oie (déc) 16,90/k
                                                    Pigeonneau 17,90/k
                                                    Pigeon de réforme 5,80/k
                                                    Chapon au lait 15,40/k
                                                    Chapon loupé au lait 11,80/k
                                                    Pintadon au lait (nov/déc) 30,00/pièce
                                                    Dindon-chapon au lait (nov/déc) 8,20/k
                                                    Dinde (nov/déc) 10,40/k
                                                    Poule (mi déc) 5,70/k
                                                    Oeufs 1jour 3,70/boite de 6, 13,00/plateau de 30
                                                    Oeufs extras frais 2,60/boite, 10,00/plateau, 90,00/carton de 360
                                                    Oeufs frais 1,80/boite, 6,50/plateau, 60,00/carton
                                                    oeufs 3 semaines 1,20/boite, 3,50/plateau, 30,00/carton
                                                    Autruche (déc) 30,00/k
                                                    Pineau (d’une voisine) 16,00/litre
                                                    Divers: 1 litre sang, 1k pattes, mise ss vide: 1,00

                                                    Their number: 05 5391 3026
                                                    Enfants Rouges: 2 producteurs
                                                    Mer & Vigne 10-20% de Producteurs
                                                    MPP: Marchés de Producteurs de Pays 90% de producteurs
                                                    Pari Fermier: 99% de producteurs

                                                    1. re: Parigi
                                                      t
                                                      tmso Dec 3, 2013 06:01 AM

                                                      Thanks for the tip; I'll take a look and give them a try if it looks good.

                                                      1. re: Parigi
                                                        b
                                                        bcc Dec 3, 2013 06:44 AM

                                                        Wow!

                                            2. John Talbott Nov 2, 2013 10:34 AM

                                              There is definately a difference between turkeys from a local butcher and "Butterballs." The French folk who know the States like Ptipois and Julot and Parnassien can better answer than I; I've only assisted at cooking one whole one but have bought legs from my rotisseur. To me that turkey was more lean, free range and tasty rather than plump and full of water.

                                              18 Replies
                                              1. re: John Talbott
                                                Parnassien Nov 2, 2013 02:44 PM

                                                "The French folk who know the States like Ptipois and Julot and Parnassien can better answer than I"

                                                I've banished turkey from my universe... maybe only Ptipois or Parigi can help on this one

                                                1. re: Parnassien
                                                  p
                                                  Ptipois Nov 2, 2013 04:34 PM

                                                  I've banished it just like you.

                                                  1. re: Ptipois
                                                    mangeur Nov 2, 2013 04:46 PM

                                                    If I could get away with it, I'd simply banish Thanksgiving, the most time consuming to produce and least gustatorially satisfying meal in either my cooking or dining experiences.

                                                    I find myself the alpha female in our family this year, so I guess I have to just suck it up, maybe throw some garlic at it and smile.

                                                    1. re: mangeur
                                                      p
                                                      Ptipois Nov 3, 2013 02:49 AM

                                                      "Throw some garlic at it" is a solution to many problems and misfortunes in this world.

                                                    2. re: Ptipois
                                                      John Talbott Nov 3, 2013 01:03 AM

                                                      Come on all you banishers, chefMolnar says "I actually like turkey."

                                                      1. re: John Talbott
                                                        chefMolnar Nov 3, 2013 02:09 AM

                                                        Thanks, John, for the support and thanks to Sunshine for the advice. As much as I like Spaghetti Carbonara, I can't resist this multicultural opportunity. We will have about 8 guests, so fortunately, I won't need a 22-lb. (10-kilo) bird. Right now I am getting prices between €15-17 a kilo from local butchers. No car, unfortunately.
                                                        If it's just prohibitive, I guess I could try another bird. If so, what? It should be fairly large, taste like something, and look cool before carving. Goose is traditional for Hanukkah in Europe, but I'm not going to experiment with it for that many people. My experience with American capons has been underwhelming.

                                                        1. re: chefMolnar
                                                          PhilD Nov 3, 2013 02:46 AM

                                                          Pintade (Guinea Fowl) could be an alternative, although you will need a couple of birds. The flavour is different to chicken so interesting for those that have not tried it. Of course Chicken can be superb in France and there are many many different varieties, from good value to luxury in terms of price.

                                                          Find a shop that specialises in poultry rather than a general butcher for the best selection - there was a great one on rue Marche St Honore, or if that fails the poultry counter at Bon Marche used to have a very good selection. They will eviscerate, behead and take off the feet to order and you should be asked if you want to giblets - and say yes as they are essential for good gravy.

                                                          An of course its games season so you may get pheasant - but for eight people thats going to be four birds.

                                                          1. re: chefMolnar
                                                            p
                                                            Ptipois Nov 3, 2013 02:50 AM

                                                            You could find a good, not too large French capon.

                                                            But please, whatever you do, cook the stuffing inside the bird and not outside. Anything baked outside can't be called stuffing. I was traumatized for life by the sight of "stuffing" coming out of a bag and being baked one level below the oversized monster in my in-laws' oven in New England.

                                                            I'm a zero concerning turkeys but I am really good at stuffings.

                                                            1. re: Ptipois
                                                              chefMolnar Nov 3, 2013 02:57 AM

                                                              I have been having very good experiences with the French Poulet Fermier, but I did want to try something different.
                                                              How would you describe the taste of French capons, say, compared to regular French roasting chickens? I find American capons quite bland.

                                                              1. re: chefMolnar
                                                                p
                                                                Ptipois Nov 3, 2013 04:44 AM

                                                                American chickens are bland too. French capons are like French chickens. Just choose a good origin/brand and you're fine.

                                                                Poulet des Landes, Saint-Sever, poulet jaune du Gers, poulet du Périgord and Poulet de Challans = all good.

                                                                One tip: if you buy the bird from a Monoprix or other supermarket (not necessarily the worst option), remove the lumps of fat that hide behind the cavity opening. If you buy it from a butcher, ungutted, and the butcher guts it for you, please do ask him to be careful with the skin before it is too late, since all poultry butchers now tear the abdominal skin up to the ribs, so that it is then impossible to stuff the bird. Bear that in mind, I have that problem all the time.

                                                                1. re: Ptipois
                                                                  chefMolnar Nov 3, 2013 05:48 AM

                                                                  I know well how bland American chickens are. It's just that the last time I tried a capon it seemed, somehow, ...emasculated.

                                                                  Our Monoprix near Nation is supposed to be pretty good so I will check it out. But I have been wondering about what a butcher will do here when you ask it to prepare your bird. The first time I asked for a chicken cut up (I wanted it jointed) the guy took out the thigh bone and hacked the breast in half vertically. At least I got him to give me the feet and the liver.

                                                                  1. re: chefMolnar
                                                                    Parigi Nov 3, 2013 06:06 AM

                                                                    I don't know your hood. I swear by Marcel at Marché St Quentin. The Harvard butcher (daughter lectures there) on rue 86 rue Faubourg St Denis is also ace. No way would they massacre your bird. Your butcher sounds like an assassin.
                                                                    http://www.yelp.com/biz/boucherie-gou...

                                                                    If you live near Nation, bear in mind that a marché de producteurs will be held on the weekend of November 16/17. That's when we get our stock of farm foie gras plus aiguillettes de canard, our fave cut which you can get from any butcher in Paris.

                                                                    Kurtis, dude, are you reading this ? Maybe we can visit the market together barring any El Nino type blizzard ?

                                                                    1. re: chefMolnar
                                                                      p
                                                                      Ptipois Nov 3, 2013 06:48 AM

                                                                      I have never seen a butcher massacre a chicken in the way you describe. What is the difference between jointed and cut up?

                                                                      If you are near Nation, you've got what is (in my opinion) the best and largest open market in Paris, on Cours de Vincennes.

                                                                      1. re: Ptipois
                                                                        chefMolnar Nov 3, 2013 06:59 AM

                                                                        It may be the way I asked for it (I must confess my French is rudimentary at best--my wife is the real Francophone in the family). He said "morceaux?" and I said oui. What I got were breasts and back sliced lengthwise (so that each half of the backbone had some breast meat), drumsticks attached to thigh meat without the thigh bone, and the wings. It seemed strange to me, but what do I know?
                                                                        I've been going to the Charonne market, but I'll check out Cours de Vicennes.

                                                                        1. re: chefMolnar
                                                                          p
                                                                          Ptipois Nov 3, 2013 08:24 AM

                                                                          The French way to cut up a chicken (by volaillers) is: thigh + drumstick (volailler asks you if you want them separate), wings with one part of the breast meat, breast in 2 pieces (sliced lengthwise, bone-in) or 4 pieces (each half halved), and back cut in 2 parts (parson's nose with the 2 sot-l'y-laisse attached, and front part on which there is nothing to eat).

                                                                          So, depending on your preference, you may get 8, 10, or 12 pieces, but generally the volailler asks you how exactly you want it cut up.

                                                                          I've NEVER seen the thigh bone removed by any butcher. This one was from a strange planet.

                                                                          1. re: Ptipois
                                                                            John Talbott Nov 3, 2013 12:15 PM

                                                                            "So, depending on your preference, you may get 8, 10, or 12 pieces,"
                                                                            Or 2 or 4 or 6.
                                                                            My guy will acommodate me and cut fowl up in any number of cuts I wish - I do it depending on the crowd.
                                                                            And I've never had an obliterated animal.

                                                                2. re: Ptipois
                                                                  ChefJune Nov 6, 2013 09:28 AM

                                                                  In our house it's not stuffing, it's dressing. and it doesn't go in the bird. :) I also love turkey, but I think if I were celebrating Thanksgiving oops, Thanksgivukkah in Paris, I'd go with roasting a couple of chickens and preparing all the other trimmings that are traditional to you. (since every family is different.)

                                                                3. re: chefMolnar
                                                                  m
                                                                  MRS Nov 3, 2013 12:23 PM

                                                                  That's interesting to know about the goose. Hmm...I never knew that.

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