This month’s Charcutepalooza Challenge is stretching. That means we are taking a duck or chicken and making it feed as many people as we can, using all the bits and scraps, letting nothing go to waste.
I made a Chicken Gallantine – a precious rolled-meat concoction that requires you to flay the skin off the chicken – Spanish inquisition style – in one single piece, debone the whole chicken, make pate out of the forcemeat, fold the forcemeat over the partially-grilled breasts so they are a snug surprise in the middle of the roll, and force all of it back inside the skin – that you just took off the chicken – and poach it in broth.
It sounds epic, like a kid who takes a radio apart and then reassembles it in a totally different way, and it’s a little like that. Making a Gallantine is part mischievous kid and part mad-scientist-with-a-boning-knife, but the exercise helps you really get to know the chicken. It forces you to see and feel everything. And it does take a smallish chicken that might feed four people and turns it into a lovely, flavorful dish that feeds eight easily.
Also, this was much easier than any of our casing challenges. Once you’ve stuffed your own sausages, made your own hot dogs, the Gallantine is child’s play. Cathy got us in tip-top shape over the summer.
I used Ruhlman’s recipe out of Charcuterie. I did a few things differently – I added sauteed spinach to boost the flavor, used more chicken liver, added some extra chicken fat I had in the freezer instead of the pork fat, and poached it in broth made from a smoked chicken – thanks Peter! – to give it a little kick. You can really play with this dish.
Here’s one of the side dishes that worked well with the Gallantine. It is, I think, the very last hurrah of summer: Yellow Beans Braised in Cream & Thyme. It’s rich and fatty along-side the dainty, elegant slices of Gallantine. Serve it with roasted root vegetables and a salad, and the meal blends together all the best of late summer and early Fall.
Yellow Beans Braised in Cream & Thyme
This recipe was one my mother made for me as a child when dad’s garden beans came in. Actually she made the dish much differently, but this is how I eat it now. It is a marriage of an old food memory made better by reading Jennifer Perillo’s Milk-Braised Zucchini recipe, something she made after we ate (and swooned over) the same dish at Prune. I used her technique for coating the beans in a roux, something my mother wouldn’t have done, but makes a simple dish all the more decadent. That and the copious amounts of cream and butter – that was my touch.
4 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon or so flour
1 lb. yellow beans, trimmed and cut into spoon size lengths
1 1/2 cups cream
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt 1/2 the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat. Add the flour and stir into the butter. Let it cook for about a minute. Add the beans, making sure they are well-coated by the four/butter mixture. Stir in the cream, milk, the remaining knob of butter, thyme, and salt and pepper. Turn heat to a simmer and let braise for 10-12 minutes. The cream will occasionally froth up, just give it a stir or bring your temperature down a little. Just make sure you don’t over-cook your beans or they’ll get soggy. You want them to have just a little bite.
Serve in a bowl with flecks of thyme.